For more than 20 years, Macy's Glamorama fundraiser has been the undisputed champ of Twin Cities fashion shows. It's a production unparalleled locally, with 10 fashion segments, three musical acts and two dance segments all packed into an hourlong show.
Just how big is it? The visually spectacular show incorporates 42 computers, 350 lighting fixtures, 12 projectors, 60,000 watts of sound power and a 500-square-foot LED screen. A team of more than 80, including model dressers, wardrobe stylists, alteration specialists and hair and makeup artists, styles the show's 43 models. And that's just the show itself -- the decadent after-party on Macy's eighth floor is a beast all its own.
"It takes a village to put on this show," said Mike Gansmoe, producer and VP of special productions for Macy's. He said planning the show spans an entire year, beginning with the decision on a theme (this year: "The British Invasion: the Music Then. The Fashion Now!"). After that, Gansmoe said, the key players meet in smaller groups to bounce ideas off one another. "We'll still be making tweaks after dress rehearsal on Thursday," he added.
Things kick into high gear come February, when fall collections debut at New York Fashion Week and selection of the show's fashions begins. Fashion director Laura Schara works with Macy's corporate office in New York to come up with a wish list, and lines are selected based on what the company wants to promote (such as its in-house Impulse line) and availability of samples. Collections such as Marc Jacobs and Jean Paul Gaultier, two lines regularly featured in Glamorama, create only one sample line, Schara explained.
"The jacket that went down in Fashion Week in the tent is the same one I'll be showing. Vogue magazine and other publications want to shoot their samples, too. It can get tricky."
But it's a challenge the tight-knit Glamorama team is more than up for. Many of its core planners, including Gansmoe and choreographer Myron Johnson, have been with the show since the beginning, when it debuted as "A Cause for Applause" in 1992.
"We have a special language that has evolved over that period," Johnson said. "Over that many years, you learn what to expect. The egos go out the window, and in fashion that's rare."
When: 8 p.m. Fri. Where: Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Av. S. Tickets: $60-$1,000. 1-888-746-1799 or www.macys.com/glamorama.