By Summer Stanley | Photos by Focal Point Creative
Oak Spring Farm of Upperville, Virginia, can be found nestled among the green pastures that blend similarities between quintessential Virginia hunt country and a page from any Jane Austen classic set in the Cotswolds. Formerly a home to the garden design icon and heiress, Bunny Mellon, the historic estate, now owned by Alex and Jill Vogel, hosted the 15th Annual Fashion in the Country event Sunday, May 21. The fashion show and luncheon benefited the Windy Hill Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing affordable housing to lower income families in Loudoun County, Virginia, and surrounding areas.
With freshly cut pink peonies and roses perfuming the breezy afternoon, ticket holders arrived at the venue and enjoyed award-winning wines provided by Greenhill Winery & Vineyards. Catering by Bluewater Kitchen, which specializes in farm-to-table cuisine, included passed hors d’oeuvres and a cheese and charcuterie station. Once seated, guests were served a delectable meal consisting of a Chilly Hollow Farm mixed greens salad and a family-style selection of glazed king salmon and Liberty Hill Farm chicken breast.
Master of ceremonies, Tom Sweitzer, took the mic and delighted attendees with an original and jaunty musical number to open the show. When the music turned up, all eyes were on the runway as locals of the community proudly modeled fashions representing seven area businesses.
The always chic Tully Rector boutique showcased dresses suitable for any summertime affair: cocktails, weddings, resort destinations. But the real showstopper was none other than Ann MacLeod, Mayor of Upperville, wearing a black and white gingham dress enhanced with black cotton lace by Nanette Lepore and topped off with a Panama straw hat by Rag & Bone. While on the runway, MacLeod was even serenaded with “Happy birthday” as she is turning 95 this month!
Gum Tree Farm Designs organically raises merino sheep in Middleburg, and they work with local artisans to design and create unique luxury wool pieces handmade in America. From hand knitted sweaters to a featherweight wool poncho trimmed in wool fringe – Gum Tree Farm reminded us country girls about essentials for those chilly summer nights picnicking under the stars.
The Fun Shop lived up to their name, highlighting pieces for the whole family to summer in style. The little ones sported adorable printed raincoats with matching rain boots and umbrellas. Hats and bags for both beach and race days were the perfect accessories for Mom and Dad.
Casual, yet fashionable wear continued when Native Barre instructors took to the runway in activewear by their private label brand, as well as Koral and Alo. Black with pops of neon promised to get you energized for barre class every time, as jump boots were demonstrated in action to prove this theory!
Highcliffe Clothiers’ models were dressed to impress. Specializing in U.S. and European fine fabrics for both custom made and ready to wear collections, Highcliffe Clothiers put the spotlight on T.ba Spain silk and linen. Women’s blouses paired with jeans and trousers were elevated with tailored blazers, and the men wowed the crowd in sharp statement plaid sport coats and Hertling trousers. Honorable mention goes out to Dr. Andy Smith for those impressive and artistic moves!
Accessorizing was the final step in pulling together these styles for day or night. Models wore pieces from Lou Lou’s Theia and Foundry collections.
Speaking of jewelry, Mystique Jewelers, now with a newly opened Middleburg store branch, brought out all the glitz and glamour to wrap up the show. Their designs included diamond earrings, a gorgeous sunburst pendant, a Tahitian pearl wrapped leather bracelet and a double coral necklace.
Finally, Becky Butcher Coleman walked down the runway-turned-aisle, in full bridal attire, to show off a Princess Diana-inspired salon sapphire and diamond engagement ring of 7 carats. With a triple-stranded necklace of pearls and diamond clusters that caught the light as she turned, another Windy Hill Foundation Fashion Show was in the books! ML