Children’s fashions flood the Country Club of Birmingham on a spring day each year, with around 100 models sporting styles from heirlooms to whimsical as part of the Children’s Art Guild tradition. Here are some of the styles spotted on the runway at the 2019 show.
Blast from the Past
The collar Elizabeth Butler, age 7, wears here was made for its debut at the 1987 Children’s Arts Guild Fashion Show by her great grandmother for her aunt to wear. The dress was made by Diane McNeill and features a square lace yoke complemented with a gathered lace ruffle. Her cousin Claire Bolen, age 4, is wearing an heirloom French hand sewn pink batiste dress made by a family friend. Elizabeth’s little sister Frances, age 3, not pictured, wore heirloom French hand sewn white Batiste dress that belonged to their mother, Claire. Elizabeth, who attends Brookwood Forest, loves soccer, art, and going to the lake, while Frances and enjoys playing with dolls and swimming at the lake and Claire prefers ballet, soccer, and choir.
Pretty in Peach
Kathleen Eubanks, age 3, wears a peach colored dotted Swiss dress. The yoke and butterfly sleeves are trimmed in lace, and the bottom of the dress is banded in beading with peach ribbon and finished off with lace. Kathleen loves ballet, swimming and drawing.
Hand Smocked with Love
Cooper and Mae Mobley’s outfits were made with love by their grandmother, Cecelia “Celie” Mobley, with help from the Smocking Bird. Mae’s, age 5, dress combines hand smocking and lace yoke and sleeves, with hand embroidery featured at the scallop hem. Little brother Cooper, age 2, is wearing an apron set made of white Swiss batiste with rows of imported Maline lace sewn together in a horizontal pattern down the front insert. Mae loves ballet, tumble, tennis and art, and Cooper enjoys golf and firetrucks.
Set for the Sea
These cousins are ready to set sail. Holt Sullivan, age 2, is wearing a blue gingham sailor-inspired bloomer set with white pique accents. Big cousin Harrison Walker, 3, sports a classic sailor-inspired blue gingham shorts set with white pique accents. Holt loves trucks, building with blocks and chasing his dog Oscar around the house, while Harrison prefers scootering and biking.
Florals ‘n Lace
The lace on all three of these girls’ dresses comes from the collections of their great grandmothers. Mary Martha Athanas’ mom sewed her pink Swiss Batiste heirloom yoked dress with angel sleeves, with vintage lace details from the lace collection of her great grandmother, Martha Jeffcoat, plus bands of Swiss eyelet, French lace beading with pink satin ribbon and Lily of the Valley. Meme and Welden Johnsey’s dresses are made of ivory Swiss batiste and Maline laces, with the yokes made with laces that belonged to their great-grandmother. Each dress is finished at the hemline with Maline lace edging and pintucks and was made by Jackie Young of Three Sisters Heirlooms. Mary Martha, age 6 and a student at Crestline, likes to dance, play piano and do crafts, while Meme, also age 6 and a student at Crestline, enjoys gymnastics and tennis and little sister Welden, age 3, loves ballet.
The Ray girls are both ready for a spring or summer party in their white Swiss Dot dresses made by Busy Bees. Leary’s dress is waisted with box pleats and sash, and Price’s is a yoke style dress with flutter sleeve and empire seam. Leary, age 6, and Price, age 5, both attend Cherokee Bend Elementary. Leary enjoys cartwheels, rock climbing and making up plays for her mom and dad, while Price loves tennis, dress up and playing with her sister and cousins.
All in the Family
The embroidery on Hollaway Craft’s shirt, worn here with creamy linen shorts, was handmade by his grandmother “Honey.” His sister Vivy’s pink Swiss batiste French dress was hand sewn with antique lace made for her mom, Patricia, by her grandmother Vivian Jones, as well as a flower crown by Susu’s Petals. Hollaway who is 6 and attends Cherokee Bend, loves to hunt, fish and do anything with daddy, while Vivy, who is 4, loves ballet and princesses.
Retro ‘n Red
Fairy godmother Aunt Frannie (Ragan Cain) closed out this year’s fashion show by styling a set of retro dresses from Poppy & Hen, a Charleston-based children’s clothing company that uses vintage patterns and retro fabrics. McKay Smith’s “Leggo my Eggo!” dress is styled with a red neck scarf and red Mary Jane style shoes, while Annie Gilchrist’s sweet blueberry sun suit with a halter style top packs in a punch of red in her rain boots. Macon Epps’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise” blue and white gingham pattern is paired with red Converse sneakers, and Maggie Holt’s banana look is completed with her red hair scarf and rain boots.
Macon, age 4, likes painting, learning to ride her bike and cooking with her dad. Annie, 2, loves napping with her dog, coloring on the walls with a Sharpie and going to the beach. McKay, age 5, loves ballet, gymnastics, singing and dancing, and playing with her friends. Lastly, Maggie, age 5 and a student at Cherokee Bend Elementary, loves dance, gymnastics, arts and crafts, and all things glitter.
The Reason Why
Each year the Children’s Arts Guild organizes a spring children’s fashion show to benefit The Dance Foundation’s work, and since it started in 1979 it has contributed more than $1 million to the nonprofit. Since 1975 the organization has taught the art of dance to all, inspiring creativity and confidence. Along the way it inspires imaginative learning in young dancers and cultivates technique and artistry as they mature.
Almost 900 students, age 1 to adult, participate in their studio classes and summer camps. They also teach more than 1,000 additional children who are young, have special needs or are living in poverty each week at dozens of social service agencies, child care centers and schools throughout Birmingham. In addition, The Dance Foundation’s studio space and 100-seat theatre also used for classes, workshops, rehearsals and performances for artists and dancers.