By Diana Cavagnaro
Ashley Eckstein hosted the sixth annual Her Universe fashion show at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel on July 18. This event was on the Thursday night agenda of Comic-Con. Eckstein is the founder of Her Universe, the voice of Ahsoka Tano in “Star Wars” and the author of “It’s Your Universe.”The theme for the evening was “The Power of Fashion.”Eckstein greeted the crowd wearing a She-Ra-inspired gown created by 2014 winner Andrew MacLaine. DreamWorks’ “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” currently airs on Netflix.Co-host for the evening was actress Tiffany Smith, who looks identical to Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, and plays her in the Lifetime film, “Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal.”
This geek couture fashion showwas like “Project Runway” for Comic-Con. There were 24 contestants who all made powerful statements on the runway with themes ranging from “Star Wars” to Disney to “Game of Thrones.”DJ Amanda Jones spun tunes for the contestants. Videos were played about each designer so the audience could hear about their inspiration for their creation. This year, the winners will be able to collaborate with Eckstein on the “Her Universe” collection for Hot Topic. The theme will be a Wonder Woman collection for release next year. The judge’swinner was San Diegan Adria Renee. Her entry was titled “Destination:Isla Nublar” which was inspired by “Jurassic Park.” Sarah Hambly was the audience winner for her “Bodak Green,”which was inspired by Marvel’s Loki character.
Eckstein changed her outfit to a custom pantsuit in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion Ride. The 2015 “Her Universe” winner Leetal Platt designed it. Harmony Leiker created jewelry for Eckstein that was handcrafted and vintage-inspired. Eckstein also revealed an On Our Sleeves-themed dress that was a design for mental health to raise awareness as part of her work with Nationwide Children’s Hospitals.
This year, Cartoon Network brought back the Junior Designer Showcase in partnership with Boxlunch. These contestants wereages 6 to 17 and created designs inspired by the hit show “Steven Universe.” The winner Kayla, from Grand Junction, Colorado, created the “Ultra Lapis” because each gem in “Steven Universe” has it’s own distinct power.The next winner was Emerson, from Columbus, Ohio, who createdan“Emerald Business Evil” look. Emily created “Pearl Gala”with a beautiful headpiece to coordinate with the gown.
Before the evening concluded, the audience was given the chance to walk the runway and show off their costume. If you have not attended this event before and love Comic-Con, then look forward to it next year or follow them during the year at heruniverse.com.
Aug. 10 – ‘Dreaming of Style’ – 42nd Haute with Heart Fashion Show and Luncheon to benefit St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. For tickets, visit stmsc.org/center-events/register-for-haute-with-heart-fashion-show/
Sept.15 – Fall Bridal Bazaar with fashion shows presented by Gretchen Productions at the San Diego Convention Center. Three shows presented throughout the day. For more info: 760-334-5500
Sept. 21 – 15th annual “Strut for Sobriety!” boutique, luncheon, awards ceremony and fashion show to be held by A New PATH at the Sheraton Harbor Island Marina Tower. The event celebrates recovery from drug addiction. Fashion show produced by Gretchen Productions. For info: 619-670-1184
— Diana Cavagnaro is an internationally renowned couture milliner based in the historic Gaslamp Quarter. Learn more about our hat designer, teacher and blogger at www.DianaCavagnaro.com