Sold-out Symphony Spring Fashion Show dazzles and delights - Marchesa designs are a No. 1 hit in Music City

April 28, 2011

High-end fashion label Marchesa teamed with Naples, Florida-based boutique Marissa Collections to present the 2011 Symphony Spring Fashion Show on April 26, 2011. Hosted by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra League at Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the show brought a sold-out crowd of over 800 people to their feet.

The spectacular event was chaired by Johnna Watson and Janet Bentz. Both women were dressed in Marchesa, with Watson wearing a dramatic white chiffon with a train and Bentz in a one-shoulder, ruffled sapphire-blue dress. ABC anchor Deborah Roberts, a Marchesa devotee, emceed the evening’s activities dressed in a red Marchesa creation.

As the lights dimmed and the first model took a striking pose against the white background, the audience was entranced by the beautiful designs, with a variety short cocktail dresses, elegant gowns and accompanying custom bags being shown. Marchesa co-founders Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig created a sophisticated evening of fashion and flair, earning unanimous approval and a thunderous round of applause for their romantic creations. A performance by superstar vocalist Faith Hill concluded the evening. Backed by her band, Hill sounded as fabulous as she looked, dazzling the audience in her custom-designed Marchesa gown.

After the show, dinner was prepared under the direction of Symphony Executive Chef Roger Keenan, as over 600 guests enjoyed the meal and breathtaking views of downtown Nashville from the 22nd floor of the Pinnacle at Symphony Place. Guests began with a salad of arugula and mache lettuces with fire-roasted red and yellow peppers, red grape tomatoes and toasted walnuts, topped with a fig vinaigrette dressing. The main course featured Chairmen's Reserve® filet of beef with béarnaise sauce, buttermilk duchess potatoes, patty pan squash, whole baby carrots and roasted red pepper-tied haricot vert. Dessert consisted of flourless chocolate cake with fresh berries, framboise-infused whipped cream, raspberry coulis and fresh mint.

About the Designers: British-born Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig met at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. Chapman, a 2001 graduate of the Wimbledon School of Art, began her career as a costume designer. Craig graduated from Brighton Art College in 2000 and subsequently focused on print and embroidery design. Chapman's draping and design expertise paired with Craig's textile creations resulted in a business partnership and the establishment of Marchesa in 2004. Elegant eveningwear, inspired by vintage and Asian influences, defines the Marchesa Collection. The beautifully crafted designs fuse high fashion with an eclectic aesthetic. The company's namesake and muse, Marchesa Luisa Casati, is the noted eccentric European style icon.

About Faith Hill: Faith Hill is a five-time GRAMMY® Award winner; she has also won three Country Music Association Awards, 12 Academy of Country Music Awards, four American Music Awards and four People's Choice Awards. Her marketability knows no equal. Her ability to draw television audiences nationwide is evidenced by the success of her own network television specials: 2000’s CBS Network broadcast of Faith!, NBC Network's broadcast of 2002’s Faith Hill: When The Lights Go Down, 2005's Faith Hill: Fireflies, as well as 2008's and 2009's hosting of CBS’s Home for the Holidays and her PBS network Christmas special for Soundstage.

About the Emcee: Deborah Roberts joined the ABC newsmagazine 20/20 in June 1995. Since then, she has also served as a substitute anchor on Good Morning America and World News Weekend. Roberts's other reporting at 20/20 has included a profile of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks and an award-winning investigation into abuse within the Amish community. She has reported from Africa on the HIV/AIDS crisis and orphans, and the California wildfires, which earned her an Emmy award. She also was awarded an Emmy for her emotional, in-depth reporting on an Ethiopian American woman's journey back to Africa to find her mother and for her work with ABC’s millennium coverage.

About Marissa Collections: In 1975 Marissa and Burt Hartington became partners in life and in business. Marissa is the creative force behind this legendary store, and Burt anchors the business end of the operation. Marissa Collections began in 1975 in Naples, Florida, with a storefront boutique of hand-selected items — including clothing, jewelry, accessories and shoes — that Marissa personally styled for each individual. The instant success among the small community on the Gulf of Mexico has continued over the years, emerging into a 10,000-square-foot location in the Third Street South shopping district of Old Naples. Marissa Collections hosted two trunk shows in conjunction with the Symphony Spring Fashion Show, the first featuring the jewelry of Erikson Beamon in October and the second featuring the jewelry of Irene Neuwirth in April.

Nashville Arts Magazine created a short video of this event, please visit

Each year, the Nashville Symphony's Spring Fashion Show features a collection from one of the fashion industry's most respected and recognizable designers. All proceeds from the event, which includes a cocktail reception, runway show and lavish dinner, benefit the Nashville Symphony's commitment to education and community outreach, including the Thor Johnson Scholarship Fund.