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HighBall Halloween: Fashion, Inspiration & the Design Process

Written by Dana Bernstein

On Saturday, October 22, HighBall Halloween will celebrate costumes and creativity for HB: High Fashion. Designer team Horst & Ms. Steamy are showing their collection for the Battelle Costume Couture Fashion Show, after local favorites DJ Charles Erickson, Nina West & the West Family, Mojoflo and Nick D & the Believers perform. HighBall starts on Friday, Oct. 21 for HB: On The Rocks, a tribute show to rock legend David Bowie. Horst & Ms. Steamy talk about steampunk, wool felting and preparing for competition.

Dana: You'll be presenting your costume collection on Saturday for the Battelle Costume Couture Fashion Show. What excites you the most about this competition?
Ms. Steamy: This seems like such a big deal. You've got great hair, great makeup, one model per piece. You really get to showcase your work as you want. Your model becomes a part of the artwork, and to me, that is fantastic.

Horst: I am excited for my wife, as this is her first official collection representing House of Horst, our business.

Dana: Where are you drawing your inspiration for your costume designs for your collection for HighBall Halloween?
Ms. Steamy: This collection is influenced from both my love of goth and steampunk. And while you may look at the pieces and not see it, I feel it within each seam. Tag that in with my love of nature and all things natural, and you have this collection that you will see on the runway.

Dana: What other artists inspire your work?
Ms. Steamy: About anyone and everyone steampunk and goth. There, in itself, is the inspiration. That dare-to-be-different aspect and ingenuity really inspires a gal.

Horst: When I design, both the Cruxshadows and Angelspit are my go-to bands I listen to.

Dana: How do you approach the creation of your designs?
Ms. Steamy: Plan. Plan. Plan. I spend a lot of time thinking of the HOW. Even as I am sketching out a design, I think of the factors: Where are the seams? How is this going to fit? How is this going to be put on? I don't even make my first cut from fabric until it is thoroughly planned out.

Dana: Although wool felting has been around for a long time, the designs you create using this medium are very unique. How did you get started with felting as high fashion and costuming?
Horst: I have always been drawn to felting with great visions and the vast possibilities it brings to the table for exploration that seems endless. I love its textural qualities and the primitive feel you get within each piece created. The ultimate high is using my mathematical skills to create the formulas when making the patterns. As there is no sewing or altering of the final pieces, it is a one-shot deal from the clutching onto the first tuft of raw wool to taking the piece out of the dryer. While making these large scale pieces, I have the natural sense and motivation to conquer any challenge or vision that comes to me. I think that my skills, knowledge experiences, visions, and drive all combined together has blessed me into what I am today.

Dana: What do you love about the creative community in Columbus?
Ms. Steamy: There is a lot of opportunity in Columbus. And I really feel like anything CAN go. So, you don't have to be afraid to really stretch and be yourself, creatively, in Columbus.

Dana: Without giving too much away, what can we expect when you and your models stomp the runway during the Battelle Costume Couture Fashion Show?
Ms. Steamy: The title of our collection is Woodland. It is all about combining my costuming abilities with the natural look and feel of wool as accents. It will be something you have never seen before.

See Damn the Witch Siren, Fabulous Johnson Brothers and electro-pop superstar Robert DeLong play at HB: On The Rocks, a tribute show to David Bowie, on Friday, Oct. 21. HighBall Halloween culminates on Saturday, Oct. 22 with HB: High Fashion, featuring the Battelle Costume Couture Fashion Show and performances by DJ Charles Erickson, Nina West & the West Family, Nick D & the Believers, and Mojoflo. Both nights feature over-the-top public costume contests and hosts Nina West and NBC4’s Monica Day. HighBall Halloween happens outside the Greater Columbus Convention Center on High Street in the Short North Arts District between Goodale and Nationwide. For more information, visit highballcolumbus.org.

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