Fashion show features styles from the past

The fashion show featured pieces from Adolfo, Chanel, Armani, Valentino and more, but the look was distinctly vintage.

Model Katie Rohwer wears a 1940s wedding dress with lily of the valley in lace on the runway during the Vintage Dress Show at Lake Sammamish Foursquare Church on Friday

Model Katie Rohwer wears a 1940s wedding dress with lily of the valley in lace on the runway during the Vintage Dress Show at Lake Sammamish Foursquare Church on Friday

The fashion show featured pieces from Adolfo, Chanel, Armani, Valentino and more, but the look was distinctly vintage.

Through the Decades, a vintage dress fashion show, recently was sponsored by Lake Sammamish Foursquare Church in Bellevue.

The benefit fashion led the audience through the fashions that defined each decade beginning with an 1890s turn-of-the-century wedding dress and leading up to current styles. The fashion show included a light lunch and dress sale following the runway portion of the event.

All proceeds from the show went directly to the production of “O My Soul,” a CD of original songs by worship pastor Troy Smith. The CD is a compilation of original work written and performed by Smith. The release date is set for May 16 and will be available at the church or online at myspace.com/troysmith. The fashion show event raised $2,500 to go towards production costs.

“The idea of the fashion show was born out of a desire to help fund Troy Smith’s first CD,” said Julie Brunk, a former wedding dress designer in Los Angeles and wife of Lake Sammamish Foursquare’s senior pastor.

The fashion event welcomed an audience of 250 people who attended one of the three showings that took place over the weekend of April 18-19.

The vintage and previously worn pieces shown on the runway were mostly derived from the lifelong collection of Darcy Morris and Brunk. The two friends met while living in Los Angeles and now share a combined collection of vintage pieces spanning the decades.

Several of the dresses from the 1930s displayed in the fashion show were worn by Julie Brunk’s great aunt Lorraine. Raised on a farm in Iowa, she grew up in a family that embraced farm life, but encouraged creativity and dreams.

“We were raised with a lot of culture. My mother, my great aunt, my grandmother – they all loved fashion and as a family living on a farm in the same place for generations I have everything that goes along with that,” Brunk explained, whose vintage collection includes an estimated 150 dresses.

Discovering new dresses is ongoing, in fact.

“In the barns and the sheds there are boxes that we still pull dresses out of,” Brunk said. Generally speaking we are really good at keeping up and passing down our family history and the stories that went along with the dresses. It’s a love for vintage and fashion that was instilled in me growing up and it’s stayed with me.”

The majority of Brunk’s vintage collection are in a wearable state and include pieces that were designed and sewn by her mother. Other pieces in the collection are from consignment shops that her father discovered in the 1970s including dresses from famous designer Oscar De La Renta.

Brunk took her upbringing and carried it over into a professional career when she moved to Los Angeles with her husband.

“My mother and grandmother were both great designers so it was just really natural. When we moved to Los Angeles I went to Beverly Hills and applied at a bridal salon there. Of course I had no background in bridal gowns, but I just loved them. The owner was Renée Strauss for the Bride and she had this big shop that had been there forever and I started designing and I discovered that I was actually really good at it. I really started designing some gowns there that were getting notoriety.”

Brunk played a part in designing the wedding dress worn in the Father of the Bride movie and the wedding dress worn in the 1992 film Wayne’s World. She then moved on to designer Risuleo Couture and worked on the wedding dress that was worn in the Guns N Roses music video for November Rain.

As part of the Foursquare denomination in California, the husband and wife team were invited to come pastor Lake Sammamish Foursquare Church in 1996 and relocated to this area. Brunk took on a new role as pastor’s wife, but continues to hold tight to her cherished family history and love of fashion.

The fashion show was a community-based event that included a handful of volunteers from the church, the community and surrounding schools. Participation in the runway show was left open to anyone who wanted to be involved and included a wide range of ages, from 11-years-old to 50 and older.

The models’ hair was styled according to the decade and music from each time period energized the room courtesy of volunteer and church member, Adam Carpenter. Teachers and students from the Bellevue Home School Center and members of both the Spanish and Russian church that meet at Lake Sammamish Foursquare all participated in the show.

“I was thrilled with how the show turned out. It was done in such a professional manner and the dresses really came alive on the runway,” Brunk said. “We (Darcy and I) have such an extensive vintage wear collection that we have more than enough to make this an annual event.”

Lindsay Larin can be reached at llarin@reporternewspapers.com or 425-453-4602.


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