This Best-Dressed Woman’s Got It All Under Control

With 70 events leading up to the Kentucky Derby’s Fashion Show including the country’s largest fireworks display, Chris Fulkerson won’t even flinch. If you want a top notch fashion show, she’s your expert. Put together as beautifully as the shows she produces, Chris has 6 Kentucky Derby fashion shows behind her.

Chris Fulkerson, AICI CIP, FFS is the reigning queen of USA’s most prestigious sports-related fashion shows, a niche that she dominates since 2004.  Her penchant for organization combined with showmanship-like creativity makes her the premiere go-to person for a stylish and memorable fashion show production. Based in Kentucky, Chris is currently the state’s only CIP (Certified Image Professional) and FFS (Fashion Feng Shui) Facilitator.

At AICI’S Saturday afternoon session, the Fashion Show Production session was full, causing the audience to begin to think about expanding into this lucrative field. Chris earns between $500 for small and upwards of $10,000 to produce local to national major shows. Her tips run the gamut from keeping at least 2 models on the runway at the same time (contrary to what we typically see) to having the MC talk about the psychology of color instead of 100% about the clothes- an especially important tip for image consultants who can impress the audience with their knowledge.  She recommends that the finale outfits WOW citing a time when she chose wedding dress attire that included pants!

One of the most key components of a successful show is model selection, and Chris shared her personal, critical tips:

  1. Create a sheet with all dates of rehearsals- ask the candidate “can you definitely make all 5?” If not don’t audition them
  2. Ask:”Do you smoke?” Don’t hire smokers because you don’t want to return clothes with a nicotine smell
  3. Arm tattoos are a no-no because it interferes with sleeveless clothes
  4. Make sure you have a variety of types to be politically-correct
  5. A NY “I’m angry- and hungry” look isn’t always necessary. Non-fashion industry audiences prefer models to smile and be friendly
  6. Any special talent- juggle? Sing? Dance? This can add to the “Gotchas” – little touches that add enjoyable and memorable surprises to a show
  7. Be in charge of all their movements

When a project requires the Production Manager to hire the models, she cautions about utilizing non-pro models as they tend to non-professional i.e. strange, impromptu things- such as the time she witnessed one male model throwing cash into the audience, and even accepting dollar tips! Just remember she advises, to be prepared for the unexpected.

Chris has been in the image business all her life. Voted by The Voice-Tribune (August 2006) in the top five Best Dressed in Louisville, Kentucky, she is an image and fashion icon in her community. For more than 27 years, Chris has inspired females of all ages, teaching modeling, image and fashion classes. Representing the Jana Kos Collection, Chris has worked with countless clients on closet audits, built complete wardrobes for high-profile individuals and produced and presented fashion shows for retail stores, associations, charitable organizations and the Kentucky Derby Festival fashion show. After becoming internationally trained as a certified image consultant through the London Image Institute, Chris founded VIP Studio in Louisville. Besides the AICI she is a member of FGI (Fashion Group International) and proudly serves on the Board of Directors for Dress for Success Louisville.

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