High school prom was magical for some and less than spectacular for others, but the wonderful women of LUPEC -- Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails -- want to give everyone a second (or third) chance at the defining teenage moment. This Saturday, January 12, the group is inviting a 21-and-up crowd to the Oriental Theater for the re-working of the big dance at its Fifth Annual Prom Redux.
The cocktail-friendly party and fashion show serves as both a fun adulthood take on the big dance and a formal-wear drive benefiting the non-profit Prom Dress Exchange. The organization provides gently worn dresses and accessories to girls, and suits, tuxedos and all the fancy accoutrements to boys who may need help with the usually big-ticket purchases.
Starting with the Prom Dress Exchange in its earlier incarnation as the Prom Shop, LUPEC has been pairing its adult dance-and-drink night with the dress drive for the last five years. "I have a couple of friends who got asked to prom, but because they couldn't afford it, they didn't go," says LUPEC's Michelle Baldwin. "It's one of those things that some people think is frivolous, but to a kid in high school, it's important."
Prom Dress Exchange mastermind Laura Bauer had very similar thoughts that inspired the formal-wear drive -- which will host a day-long free/donation dress and suit offering in March. A single mom who had dealt with the hefty price tag of high school dance attire, she took the Prom Dress Exchange to the next level, serving just over a dozen kids in her first year to more than 200 last year. Bauer is also happy to report that the organization gained legal non-profit status in 2012.
LUPEC plays a big part in pumping up dress inventory through its Prom Redux party, but it also offers monetary support that helps with Prom Dress Exchange's operating and storage costs.
Saturday's big dance has an "Arabian Nights" theme, and will feature belly dancers and performances from the Vanity Dollz Doo-Wop singers. A traditional King and Queen crowning will be done by vote, and a photo booth will let you take new versions of the classic couple's shot.
Plus, the Perfect Petal will be creating corsages -- with proceeds from their sales going to Prom Dress Exchange. The dance and cocktail hour will feature a fashion show, too, with the work of local designers like Kimono Dragons, Sapphire Stars, Janie G. Couture and 50 Dresses.
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LUPEC's Fifth Annual Prom Redux goes down at 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 12, at the Oriental Theater. There is a $10 cover, and formal-wear donations are welcomed. The Prom Dress Exchange also takes in dresses, women's accessories and men's formal wear year-round; the non-profit has a strong need for plus-sizes and men's items in general. Visit the Prom Dress Exchange's website for more information on how and where to donate.