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*The story of "Strut for a Cause" to benefit Elly MayDay and Ovarian Cancer was originally posted on Jan 20, 2014. Since we've been sharing the history of our dresses, this addendum to the Elly dress is an important part of the story. Elly had a message for all of us women: to be aware of our #ladyballs, the Silent killer "Ovarian Cancer" and the symptoms to look for.
It was truly a surprise! In several short weeks, Katherine Dockrill (Helly Hepburn), Nadine Eberts (Rain Hair Salon) and Jen Kaboom (Jen Kaboom Designs) planned a spectacular event for their close friend Elly Mayday. #strutforacause was both a fashion show and fundraiser to benefit Elly and Ovarian Cancer. A unique event space, the Arthur Erickson designed "Waterfall Building" was chosen. Then the mad dash began to line up models, sponsors and volunteers. So many people helped put this event together, and everyone involved deserves a thank-you, but my purpose here is to tell you the story of this special surprise for Elly.
To get Elly 'party ready', what better than to plan a photo shoot? Gal pals Shimona Henry (Pin-up Perfection Photography) and Stela Licina (model and make-up ninja) whisked her out to a studio in White Rock, did her hair and make-up and spent the day shooting. Elly had graciously agreed to take a few photos for me on this last day of shooting before her scheduled surgery. So we quickly sewed up a new Cherry Velvet wingbust dress design with a full skirt, and named it the 'Elly', with the hope that she would wear it to the party. We kept our fingers crossed that we'd gotten the size right (as Elly has lost 45 pounds) but we did. From our size large at the start of her modeling career about a year ago, she's now a size XS in our dresses.
With a ruse to pick up Nadine at Rain Hair Salon (adjacent to the Waterfall building), they got Elly all the way to the door without her really suspecting what was planned. With a full house including family, friends, photographers and press, the look on her face was both touching and priceless.
Elly Mayday and Nadine Eberts (photo credit to Brian Perkins)There was a total of 5 segments of fashion shows, including ours, with a huge line up of models all donating their time to the show. I'd like to thank all the amazing models who enthusiastically strutted their stuff down the runway. We're in the process of producing a video of the show which we'll share asap! But I'd like to personally thank all the girls that represented Cherry Velvet:
Jihan Amir (Wilhelmina Models) in 'Brigitte Shutterbug" Patrick Rooney Photography
Charlotte Curve Model in Brigitte "Turquoise Orchard" Patrick Rooney Photography
Sarah Lexi Lafontaine (Lexi Whitewall) in Elizabeth "Floral Bouquet" photo by Zemekiss
Christine Barham (Chrissy Noir) in Trudy "Chatroom" photo by Zemekiss
Nadine Eberts (Rain Hair Salon) in Trudy "Cherry Blossom" photo by Zemekiss
Tracy Cake (Tracy Cake Make-up and More) in Brigitte "Anime Flowers" photo by Zemekiss
Leah (MissLuscious Ness) in Brigitte "Rosy Dots" photo by Zemekiss
and of course Elly Mayday in the Elly Dress in "Black Damask" photo by Zemekiss
Elly took her turn walking down the runway in her new "Elly" dress. Patrick Rooney Photography
Elly's story and legacy is meant to be shared. She brought awareness to Ovarian Cancer and through her advocacy; Elly helped many, many women who struggled with this silent killer.
XOX Cherry Velvet
This post is all about our beautiful dress designs that start with the letter "E". A word of advice, you may need a box of tissues handy. I have a heartfelt story to tell you about one of our models and the dress that was named for her.
In the Spring of 2023 we said 'Bonjour' To Emily. Diane was inspired to create dress dress after watchin the TV show Emily in Paris. This was also the first eve halter style we created, with a nice full skirt and pleated bodice. It was the perfect breezy sundress for those hot Summer days!
The Elizabeth dress was first released in the Fall of 2013 and then again in Fall 2018. It has a similar cut and fit to the popular Chrissy dress. These first prints; as modeled on lovely Bianca Bombshell and Ruby Roxx were made from a beautiful stretch cotton sateen.
In our later release of the Elizabeth dress we switched to our regular 100% cotton in these stunning prints:
Of all of the dresses I have written about so far, this one is the hardest to write. These photos bring back memories of a young 25 year old girl that was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, the same disease my own mother died of when I was 12 years old. I know most of you remember Elly Mayday (aka Ashley Luther) she was a Cherry Velvet model for a number of years. At the time of this photo shoot she was very ill and had lost all her hair from chemotherapy. She is actually wearing a wig that I bought for her in these photos. I imagined how I would feel as a 25 year that had lost all her hair and my heart went out to her.
The Elly dress was designed and made especially for her, for an event called Strut for a Cause. It happened the night before she was scheduled to go in for major surgery. Since the blog about this event was on our old blog (and no longer accessible), I will repost it for you to read about if you wish as next week's blog.
The eye-catching wingbust design of the Elly dress was a vintage design inspired by the dresses of a very influential 1950's (and beyond) designer; Alfred Shaheen. I am launching a much anticipated remake of the Elly dress that will be ready for release in summer 2021. The prints are inspired by the original Elly dress with some updated additions (the original fabrics are no longer available).
Released in 2015, the Emma dress was made only once for our Spring 2015 collection at the Hycroft Manor photo shoot. The most popular print was predictably "Cool Cats" as modelled on Ruby Roxx.
This was an extremely limited run of dresses. Only a few of these Eva Lace party dresses were ever made.
I hope you all understand why I wanted to share these memories about Elly Mayday with you. I feel it was important to honour her memory in this post; by sharing some of her images and story with you. She was certainly an important part of our history and I will never forget her and the lessons I learned while working with her.
XOX Love Diane