Tara Rieland and Brett James

~ Madcap Masters of Mystery and the Masked Ball


AM: Since I have known you, or about you, organizing platforms for couture fashion designers have been a passion of yours. Tell me about the first time you felt what couture meant and how it inspired you.

Tara: I was in my early teens when my Mother’s friend used to give me her back issues of Town & Country magazine, Vogue, and various other luxury/fashion magazines.  I remember seeing all of the ads and editorials featuring couture fashion spreads, and grew more and more interested in the “art” of fashion -  and how it tells a tell a “story”.  As I grew older I became more interested in the entire creative process around fashion and advertising, fashion shows, and creating fashion editorials. I wanted to learn about the designers and understand their influences, backgrounds and how they translate their art to the medium of fashion. I am really not interested in “shopping” or “trends” or designer labels. I am really only interested in the “art” of fashion.

AM: You have always felt very passionately about pairing your love for couture for your love for charity. You have a bigger heart than you realize… can you tell me when you truly felt that part of you awaken?

Tara: I feel that volunteerism is part of my contribution to the world around me, in this case – my community.  I feel that if one is capable of helping other people, he or she should.  Period.  Every person on this planet is capable of helping others , regardless of scale.  For me personally, I feel that one of my strengths is being a good networker and leader. At one point in my life I realized that I was good at pulling people together to volunteer for artistic events.  I wanted to find a way to make an impact for small organizations that are not always the focus of major funders. I found a way to help those organizations by creating fundraising events that incorporate my passion – creating fashions shows. Everybody wins. Pittsburgh experiences great art and fashion, the charity receives a sizable donation, and I get to work with amazing artists – bringing a shared vision to life.

AM: You have a history with masquerade balls what inspired you to bring it back in an intimate form?

Tara: For several years, we’ve (Brett and I) been told by so many people how much they miss the  Madcap Masquerade and Couture Fashion Show.  We decided to revive the “after 9pm” format of the Madcap, which consisted of a great party and the Couture Fashion Show in a setting that lends itself to a Masked Ball.  Instead of trying to “recreate” Madcap, we wanted to take the elements of the Madcap evening program and format and condense it in to a more intimate version. CAVO is the perfect place for us to create a similar event without the costs of creating the infrastructure that lends itself for such a mysterious mood. Loft and Eclectic…comfortable and inviting space..

AM: Who is your favorite “masked” character to play (or what do you like to wear) considering you are master of the Masquerade Balls?

Tara: That’s funny, I don’t dress in character. In the past I’ve either worked with a Pittsburgh designer or bought something from Emphatics.  I love Balenciaga and Azzedine Alaia.  Stephanie Keremes has made a few of my dresses and Richard Bryan created my amazing masks!  One year, Richard created a handheld mask for me. He placed a simple black mask in the middle of a tree branch and adorned the branch with pheasant feathers and beading.  It was a show stopper!  Emphatics has been my go-to boutique, as they carry the most amazing avant garde dresses from the true creators of fashion.

 AM: What is the meaning behind the mantra behind “Coming as your everyday self is not an option.” ?

Brett: We want to inspire (and challenge) our guests reach in to themselves and play along with us.  It is a chance for our guests to express themselves.   This is the night to step out of one’s comfort zone, to wear something they would not dare to wear on any ordinary night in Pittsburgh.

October 19, 2013 at Cavo Nightclub

7 pm to 10 am

Tickets: VIP $125 / General $75


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