The Art of Modern Staging: Combined Music and Fashion Performance at Rouse 18 Exhibit

From Madonna to David Bowie…Lady Gaga to Elton John, musicians have long made fashion as much a part of their acts as the music itself. There’s now an exhibit inside Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center that showcases just how fashion and music go hand-in-hand. 630’s Angela Hager takes to the runway.

For Naperville stylist Jenn Dotson fashion is her passion. “I like it best, when it involves art and when I know that people are choosing certain things just to express themselves.”

Dodson is the brains behind the Rouse 18 Music and Fashion exhibit inside Wentz Concert Hall. “Last year a friend and I decided we want to do something different from a fashion perspective in Naperville. Something that was really provocative and memorable. Something to be proud of by adding to your portfolio and event manager resume, sample yourself in completely different field to prove yourself what you really are worth.”

Dodson spent the past year collecting photos of and clothing from 14 different bands.

One of the frontmen of the present bands shares his impression of the event. “We played a live gig downtown Naperville at the Empire Room. You know,  it’s not hard. When we’re doing our band thing I’m not trying to pose or do anything like the kid. The photographer was there, did a great job,  just captured us how we wanted to be captured, just like we are, we did a lot of different angles. You know, that’s what it’s all about.”

Dodson then called upon her friends at North Central College to help her come up with a creative way to put the finished photographs on display.

Jen thankfully has brought her team in and has allowed them to help with the creativity of how they shoot things, what they ‘re putting in the gallery, going back and forth with how they ‘re going to develop the whole exhibit. The idea was to showcase how music and fashion go hand in hand. The presentation is so important especially with a show like this one, they ‘re doing a lot of retro music. That’s really something magical, you should testify it by your own.  – see this musician samples, which are undoubtedly masterpieces . So it’s important to have the sharkskin suits, the fringe, the details. That sell the genre.

From Madonna, David Bowie it goes on and on. Fashion, music is paramount and that’s where a lot of people get inspiration. There are great fashion ideas is from music.

“Nobody’s taking the stage without clothing. So, if you’re saying “Well, I always just wear a flannel,” you’re choosing to wear that flannel. There’s intention behind it and it says something about who you are, who you are as a musician and what you’re producing on stage during a kickoff event.”

Many of those musicians join the community at Wentz concert hall and the Schöner Gallery inside to see the finished work firsthand. Some even giving an impromptu performance.

“I was very impressed, I wasn’t expecting this and I’m very proud of everybody that worked on this. We don’t actually get to see a lot of our peers actually play, so it’s kind of neat to see their pictures and actually get to be here and meet them too.”

It was a packed house just outside the gallery, we’re in the lobby models showed off some of the band styles in a runway show.

“Being backstage I don’t get to see what’s happening, so I walk out after all the chaos, then I get to see all of this community. That’s loving and excited and that makes me happy.”

Proceeds from the kickoff event went to support the Performing Arts at North Central College 463 on Naperville. What an awesome exhibit! You’ll have to go see for yourself. It’s open through May 27th.

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