Best Night Ever! Going Prom Dress Shopping With the Too-Cool Girls from the Garden of Dreams Prom
This prom is all about making an amazing night for underprivileged, sick and disabled children
Most teens would say prom night is about making dreams come true. And for 100 teens converging on Madison Square Garden May 10, that sentiment certainly was felt in the room. The organization’s Garden of Dreams Foundation held its annual prom, inviting kids who have “faced obstacles” (from severe illness to poverty) to hit the dance floor in prom finery with some help from Macy’s — as well Knicks alumni on hand at Men’s Wearhouse to help with the tux selections for the guys.
We popped by the dress fittings, where girls from the Police Athletic League were giggling in a dressing room and cheering each other on as they picked out their perfect prom dress.
For many of the girls, they knew the dress was “the one” the moment they saw it. That the case for Ashley, 17, who was already in her red halter with sparkling trim when we arrived. “The color, the style, I liked the back,” she said. “It’s the first time I’ve worn a color like this, so I was surprised how much [my friends] liked it.”
Others, like Rachel, 17, were deciding between a few. “I was surprised by the sparkle, I’m not typically into glitter or bling, and this one has it all over,” Rachel says of her top two choices, one a romantic deep green and one a pale ivory, both of which her friends approved. “My smile was there, so they knew I felt comfortable in it.”
Model Alejandra Cata was on hand for the fittings to help match accessories (from a huge pile of clutches and jewelry) to the looks. Said Ashley, “I wanted a color that matched this, so they found amazing silver shoes. These just fit.” Rachel, for her part, requested “something simple, not too tall. I cannot walk in heels!”
PAL students, including Rachel and Ashley, had already met up at a bowling alley to get to know one another before sending out invitations to the Garden of Dreams invitees and preparing for the big night. So the two were chatty and confident walking around the Macy’s — even going down the store’s famous wooden escalators in their socks (a test run in the heels proved to require a little more practice before descending the four flights to the makeup floors).
Each girl had a general idea of what they hoped their makeup might look like, and the artists at MAC were happy to give them a test run. Ashley’s pick? “Dark eyeshadow, with a matte lipstick,” while Rachel hoped to “go all out with a smoky eye just for the fun of it, and a natural lip — I watch too many YouTube videos online!”
MAC regional media artist Ashley Di Sarro consulted with both girls to get their take on the dresses, then assigned Ashley a smoky eye and Rachel a bolder lip, then let her team get to work.
“Every spring, everyone’s super-excited for that one magical night,” Di Sarro said. “We’re trying to make sure they’re giving them the most beautiful version of themselves.” She recommends most girls start with lashes, a great lipstick and a powder to touch up with — bronzer or highlighter.
The final looks were polished, pretty perfection, and both girls couldn’t stop beaming (or taking selfies). So what were they most looking forward to?
“I know there’s disabled people that will be there, it’s going to be an amazing event since they’ll get to experience prom like we are,” said Ashley of the promgoers from local children’s hospitals and Make-a-Wish foundations. “They’ll be very happy, I know that. I’ll go with everybody, have fun. I just want them to be happy, to enjoy prom. And wearing these shoes!”
Geneefer, 17, joined Rachel and Ashley downstairs in the MAC area after landing on her perfect dress, a sparkling black number (“I don’t want to be too dull or bland”). “When [the girls] saw my dress, with the shoes that are like, pops of color, they were like, This is it,” she said.
“I’m just excited to get to the prom,” she said. “The first outing with the kids was amazing. They were so excited for the prom — we had so much fun with them. I’m getting psyched.”
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Model Demaris Lewis, the prom chairwoman (pictured above with her favorite dance partner from the night, Maria) echoed many of the sentiments shared by the students. “I think that every single one of the girls who goes in is so unique and special in their own way. And to really see them kind of get what they want and just go crazy in Macy’s is really special,” she said. “Same thing with the guys at Men’s Wearhouse. I do remember last year at Men’s Wearhouse, a couple of the guys were there and they were getting their fittings and we broke out into a rap battle for 20 minutes. The energy was high and they were all so happy and I’ll remember that moment forever and ever.”
Rachel got the VIP treatment with pals, being interviewed on the red carpet by MSG Networks’ (and >Today Show contributor) Jill Martin and Lewis. “I’m most looking forward to getting to know everyone,” she told PeopleStyle of her hopes for the big night. “They’re just like us, when you put a stigma on someone it doesn’t make sense — you get to know someone and you’re talking about XBox or stuff like that — and I’m ready to experience the night.” (Top of her list? Any Rihanna song.)
The kids hit the dance floor for performances by DLOW and Darren McDaniels from Run-DMC, and judging from the video from the night, many of the girls’ dreams came true — the groups came together and had a blast.
Says Lewis, “The biggest challenge this year? There are no challenges! I think we don’t say no. And if these kids want something, we make it happen! And everybody at Garden of Dreams, it’s a true testament to what to what they do and the magic that they make.”
What was your favorite moment of prom? Do you love their dresses? Share below!