Ciao Bella – dolce MODA @ MOCAD

I’m finally catching up with my life after the little Detroit adventure for the Ciao Bella dolce MODA MOCAD fashion show. I drove up on Thursday, pretty much stayed up all night and drove back early the next morning. It was an incredible time.

My amazing friend and fab hairstylist Jessica James invited me up to photograph the event and we had a blast. It’s been about 12 years since I’ve been to downtown Detroit, and I have to say I was impressed. It’s such a great American city… an international city really on the border with Canada, and I was always sad to see it struggling with crime and hopelessness. But they are trying. And despite some corruption in local government, the people are really making a difference.

Downtown is beginning to look like a great artist community. The loft spaces are filling up with artists and MOCAD (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit) is in a giant space that probably had been abandoned for years before they moved in.

The Ciao Bella MOCAD show was a full on velvet rope event. Beautiful people, celebrating art and fashion on a beautiful night. I always love it when those events spill outside of the space as people cluster around the building with their drinks and smokes.

Jessica had me come backstage to photograph the hair and makeup mayhem beforehand and all the models were really great and friendly. Of course I ran out of business cards (I really have to remember to bring more of those to events like that) so we just kept entering my information in everyone’s phones. Probably better than business cards anyway!

Jessica introduced me to another great photographer called Rush Zimmerman. Remember the name, she’s just getting started and she’s amazing already. I let her borrow my camera for a little while during the event and she came back with some incredible images.

I grabbed a spot right up front in front of the runway. I decided to shoot the whole runway show from my knees (painful, but nice angles). But of course some of the other photographers there, probably amateurs, weren’t quite up on fellow photographer etiquette, and at one point I had to tell a woman to put her camera strap over her head so it wasn’t dangling down in front of my lens!

Photogs were leaning over the runway to the point that some of the models were nearly bumping into them as they walked. Fairly selfish to the others like me who bothered to stake their spot early on, but I still managed to get some good images.

After the runway show I got to hang out with the organizers, models and makeup and hair artists and we had a great time having champagne and unwinding. Then Jessica, Rush and her sister Hillary took off for a downtown bar called Delux Lounge (where you can still smoke!!) and had a few more cocktails and did our best Mick Jagger impersonations for each other. Hilarious!

Jessica and I headed back to my hotel and I got maybe an hour of sleep before I had to be on the road again back to Chicago. What a great night.

Here’s a link to some video from the event. Imagine me crouched down on my knees in front of the runway and you’ll get an idea of the mayhem!
CIAO BELLA – MOCAD – July 10th Detroiter Video

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