• Watch a photo slideshow of Omaha Fashion Week, Night 1.
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The looks that Omaha boutiques sent down the runway at Kaneko on Tuesday night — the opener of the spring Omaha Fashion Week shows — were all about color.
Bright blue, and green, and coral — especially coral — were all over the runway, as were animal prints, floral designs, statement necklaces, flowing scarves and ombré shading.
Fifteen Omaha boutiques showcased their spring and summer fashions during the show, giving the audience a glimpse of what's to come, stylewise, when the weather warms up.
But the show wasn't about the clothes so much as who was wearing them.
The looks were modeled by 80 cancer survivors. Their friends and family cheered and applauded as they walked down the runway. Some models cried. Others danced or struck silly, celebratory poses.
“I was having a blast,” said Dorian Hill, 41, who did the robot at the end of the runway for the benefit of her friends watching in the audience.
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Hill was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010. She lost her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. The cancer treatments made her sick, and she worried she would never look or feel normal again.
Tuesday's show — in which she wore a fitted sheath dress with coral piping and a huge necklace from Bliss Boutique, her hair swept back — was symbolic of how far she had come since those days when she worried she'd never be back to her old self.
“It's a wonderful, wonderful feeling,” she said.
OFW founder Nick Hudson said Methodist Hospital approached Omaha Fashion Week's organizers last year about including a special survivors show.
Forty men and women modeled styles from local boutiques. The event was so well-received that they decided to do it again, this time doubling the model count.
Hudson, himself a cancer survivor, also modeled in Tuesday night's show, wearing jeans, a checked blazer and purple-and-orange sneakers from the Post and Nickel.
“This is slightly outside our main mission,” Hudson said. “But it's a reminder of how fashion can be such a positive reminder of life.”
Jeanette Eilers, 53, a breast cancer survivor who wore a long jersey dress from Mesh Boutique, said the night was also a chance to connect and reconnect with others in the sisterhood of cancer survivors. Eilers participated last year, too. She bonded with other models, and on Tuesday greeted her friends from last year with big hugs.
“You have a connection that surpasses even words,” she said.
During Tuesday night's intermission, hair salons, makeup artists and accessories designers teamed up for Omaha Fashion Week's first-ever hair, makeup and accessories show.
Earlier this year, Omaha Fashion Week organizers chose seven accessories designers to participate in the event. Those designers had a month to make a collection of accessories, said Omaha Fashion Week producer Brook Hudson.
On Tuesday, teams of hairstylists and makeup artists drew names out of a hat, which determined which accessories designers the hair and makeup teams would work with.
The accessories designers handed their collections over to their team members, who have 24 hours to create complementary hair and makeup looks.
The results will be unveiled during today's 8 p.m. show at Kaneko.
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