Choreographed by Charleston Pierce, Hannah Rose Johnson and Carrie Davis, the 2018 Menlo-Atherton PTA Fashion Show "Dare to Dream Big" will be performed at 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. at 555 Middlefield Road in Atherton.
For weeks, students have been practicing their parts, including four dance numbers to music such as "Finesse" by Bruno Mars and "No Excuses" by Meghan Trainor. Dozens of runway models have been fitted in the latest styles at more than 20 locations, and are learning how to rock the runway.
Behind the scenes, additional students and many parent volunteers are involved in making this year's event a polished production.
The decades-old tradition has come a long way since former M-A parent Norma Baker of Atherton first chaired the event. She has grandchildren attending M-A now, and plans to be in the audience next year when the oldest is a senior.
She recalls putting on what was originally called "The Pumpkin Lunch," and adding the fashion portion. Her two sons taped some music and played it back on a tape recorder while students paraded around in outfits from Prestige and TopSpin Tennis, which have since closed. Tickets back then cost $8.
In 1985, ticket prices rose to $10, and the event moved on campus to the J Building.
These days the list of stores lending clothing for the fashion show is long: Athleta, Cassis, Brick Monkey Squared, 49ers Team Store, Giants Dugout Store, Gitane, Helm of Sun Valley, Jos. A. Bank, Leaf & Petal, lululemon, Macy's, Macy's Men's Store, Margaret O'Leary, Men's Wearhouse, Patrick James, Pickled, Rent the Runway, Romi Boutique, Savers, Sharks Store, Society, SoulCycle, and The North Face.
Tickets for the two early shows cost $15 for students, $30 for general admission, and $40 for reserved seats. The evening show tickets are priced at $20 for students, $40 for general admission and $75 for reserved.
Go to mabearspta.org to purchase tickets.
According to parent volunteer Valerie Ambwani of Menlo Park, the funds raised "go to a variety of PTA programs that the school budget cannot cover, including science department supplies and math contests; teacher mini-grants; student support services; scholarships; student publications (the yearbook and The Mark); professional development; classroom materials and many others."
Her older daughter Kailin was in the fashion show a few years back, and now the rest of the family is participating this time around. Ambwani is a liaison with Patrick James. Younger daughter Jace is modeling a long red dress from Macy's, which she describes as "off-the-shoulder, with a heart-shaped neckline, and mermaid style, it flares out."
"It's classy — I love it," said Jace, who is planning to wear it to the prom the week before.
Jace will be appearing in the father/daughter formal wear vignette with her dad, Kailash Ambwani.
By contrast, her twin brother Nikolai will be modeling clothes from Savers, the thrift store in Redwood City.
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