Floral fashion show helps conservatory
BY ALISA M. ALEXANDER March 13, 2012 8:48PM
LeeAnn Trotter, pictured at a past Fleurotica, will return as celebrity emcee of the runway show. | Brian Kinyon Photography
When: 6:30 p.m.
Where: Venue One,
1044 W. Randolph
Info: (773) 638-1766, Ext. 28; www.fleurotica.org
Updated: May 18, 2012 2:27PM
On March 23, fashion goes floral at Garfield Park Conservatory’s annual Fleurotica runway show featuring couture creations in the most natural “fabric” of them all: flowers.
The vibrant annual fund-raiser, usually held beneath the conservatory’s magnificent glass enclosure, was forced to move after 60 percent of the facility was destroyed in a devastating hailstorm last summer.
This year’s fete, which includes a fashion show, swag bags, live and silent auctions and a designer after-party, will benefit the One Pane at a Time rebuilding efforts.
The fabulous LeeAnn Trotter, WMAQ-Channel 5 entertainment reporter and the celebrity emcee of Fleurotica 2012, tells Cause & Event about this year’s show.
Q. The Garfield Park Conservatory is referred to as “landscape art under glass.” Sounds like much more than your average greenhouse.
A. Oh yes. I consider the conservatory one of Chicago’s hidden gems. Hidden, because many people know about it but have yet to see it for themselves, and once you go, you are hooked!
Q. You first visited the conservatory at a young age. What was that experience like?
A. I grew up in Chicago, and remember going to the conservatory on a school field trip and fell in love. I saw so many wonderful plants I had never seen before and discovered all kinds of cool information about plant life. I’m pretty sure that’s where my passion for gardening was born.
Q. Where did the concept for Fleurotica come from?
A. The conservatory team came up with the idea of hosting a floral fashion show because they really wanted to do a unique fund-raiser that was out of the box, not the traditional sit-down dinner that involved plants and flowers, but instead incorporated the essence of the conservatory, which is the plant collection itself.
Q. You’ve been involved for a few years now. What was your impression the first time you participated in Fleurotica?
A. During that first year, watching the designers dress the models backstage, I was literally walking around with my mouth open. I just couldn’t believe how beautiful and intricate these works of art could be, and made completely from plants!
Q. I understand there’s a twist this year?
A. Yes! We have an iron florist competition where a few of the designers make an arrangement in a timed competition with a mystery box of materials.
Q. What’s your favorite part of the night?
A. My favorite part is hearing the excitement from the audience when each new outfit hits the runway. It seems people have the same reaction I did at my first show.
Alisa M. Alexander directs the Sun-Times Foundation, the philanthropy arm of the Chicago Sun-Times.