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6:09 PM
I arrive at Shine Restaurant for the official CFW kick-off party, Fashion is Art, and the soon-to-open, chic venue is already filled with a crowd that is dressed to impress. I wave to a few friends, but if I’m going to really get to check out the pieces in the Modified Dress Project, I need to do it now before even more people arrive.

6:20 PM
I’m still fixated on the fabulous Modified Dress Project, and I’m wondering if anyone will notice if I sneak in the bathroom and trade my dress out for Sharon Lacey’s beautiful “Hummingbird Dress” or maybe Ishmael’s sassy “Tramp” dress. Jeffery Rhodes from the Margo Kaufman Gallery must sense my deviant intentions, and he lures me away to meet participating artists Kevin Harrison and Helen Rele. Distraction tactic? I think so.

6:33 PM
I completely forget what I’m saying because Fuschia Kawasaki has just arrived on the scene. The Stiletto Stampede costume contest winner has just redefined the term “grand entrance.” I make my way over to get a picture of that incredible python print tube dress, vintage girdle, tights, and fur ensemble, and Fuschia declares, “Honey, THIS is the future of fashion!”

7:19 PM
I take a break from mingling and snapping pictures of Charleston’s most fashionable to catch up with constantly on the move CFW creative director Ayoka Lucas. We sneak outside to catch up and grab a photo, and I’m astounded: the line for Shine stretches around the corner!

7:42 PM
Shine is packed! Everyone is buzzing about CFW, the upcoming shows, and the Finale Gala. Fuschia has staked out a spot on top of the bar and is surrounded by adoring fans... but I’m off to find some food and enjoy the moment.

8:20 PM
I sneak off to a corner couch with a napkin filled with delicious little nibbles and ditch the camera for a bit. The people watching is absolutely amazing: an impromptu dance party has started to my left, drinks and animated conversation flow at the bar, and DJ CMNDer keeps the party going with his awesome mix.

8:57 PM
The lights come up, but no one wants to leave. As the crowd begins to filter out into the night, it’s clear this year’s CFW has gotten off to a fantastic, glamorous start. Let the shows begin!