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Montessori Runway

Students strike a pose, build confidence in recycled Napa Valley Register fashion

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Hopper Creek Montessori School summer fashion show

Ava Widaman, 4, walks the red carpet catwalk during Hopper Creek Montessori School's summer fashion show on Friday morning. The show, in its sixth year, helps students build confidence in addition to showing them what they can do with recycled materials, like old newspapers. 

Whether their hands were on their hips or in their mouths, students at Hopper Creek Montessori School strutted down the red carpet with confidence during the school’s annual summer fashion show on Friday.

The students, ranging in age from 2 to 6, donned dresses, bow ties, and even headwear made out of old newspapers – Napa Valley Register newspapers, to be exact – while their families cheered them on, taking photos and clapping.

“Oh my God, I thought it was amazing, creative and fun,” said Flora Torres. “Have you ever seen little people dressed so cute in newspaper?”

Torres’ 3-year-old daughter, Jordyn, wore a poufy skirt and giant flower headband.

Jordyn was so excited to participate in the fashion show that she practiced her walk at home the night before.

“She was moving her shoulders and dancing,” her mom said. Jordyn looked like she maybe had a little stage fright when she emerged from the glittering doorway at the front of the room. But, Torres said, it was her first fashion show.

“Jordyn’s never been to a fashion show before,” she said. Thinking for a moment, she added, “This was my first one too.”

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Hopper Creek Montessori School summer fashion show

Caleb Michalski, 5, is spun around by Hopper Creek Montessori School Director Elizabeth Foster during the school's annual summer fashion show on Friday. 

The fashion show, which is in its sixth year, included an upbeat soundtrack featuring songs like Madonna’s “Vogue” and “HandClap” by Fitz and the Tantrums. But the red carpet, décor, music and models weren’t the only things that made this fashion show a success. It was the work of “designer” Carmela Lara, who spent weeks making the individualized outfits.

Lara, a kindergarten teacher, Spanish teacher and toddler teacher at the school, has designed the outfits for the fashion show every year.

“It’s her vision,” said school director Elizabeth Foster.

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Hopper Creek Montessori School summer fashion show

Rosie Weiss, 3, models her flower cape during a fashion show at Hopper Creek Montessori School. 

Lara said that she has different designs each year and that she has been inspired by the television show “Project Runway” and “The Hunger Games” movies. The students help by giving her their measurements and by providing her with ideas.

“The kids have their own personalities,” Lara said. The outfits reflect those personalities. “We know these kids, we know what they like.”

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Hopper Creek Montessori School summer fashion show

Lillyana Kinmon, 2 (3 on Friday), models an outfit during the Hopper Creek Montessori School summer fashion show on Friday. 

Some students, for example, wanted to have more extreme looks while others wanted more low-key outfits. Lara did her best to accommodate while being detail oriented. Each outfit featured some sort of flower since this year’s theme was “las flores.” Some flowers were large, like the one Jordyn wore on her head, while others were small, like the one 2-year-old Roux Serveau’s teddy bear wore on his tie.

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Hopper Creek Montessori School summer fashion show

Roux Serveau, 2, walks the red carpet with his teddy bear during a summer fashion show at Hopper Creek Montessori School on Friday morning. 

“Teddy had to have something – he’s part of every day here,” Lara explained.

Roux’s mom, Kim Serveau, said she was impressed with the outfits and the fashion show. Since Roux just started school this summer, she didn’t know how he was going to react to it all, but he did great.

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Hopper Creek Montessori School summer fashion show

Meiya Forbes, 6, begins her walk down the red carpet during the Hopper Creek Montessori School summer fashion show on Friday. 

“It was so fun to see him walk down (the red carpet) and be happy,” Serveau said. “This is a new experience for us, but such a great idea.”

“I think it’s good development for them to be in front of a large group of people and have confidence,” she added. “I think it’s really important to start that young.”

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Maria Sestito is the former Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She now writes for the Register as a freelancer.