Roll out the red carpet
Prom themes, fashions take cues from celebrity culture
By LaReeca Rucker
Today they are typical high school students dressed in jeans and T-shirts,
but come Saturday night, they'll be glittering royalty.
Ridgeland High School juniors and seniors will attend A Royal Affair at
Reservoir Pointe from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The prom will feature decorative
castles, thrones, crowns and a red carpet with its very own annoying, yet
The concept fits well with today's prom. Trends for 2008 revolve around
celebrity-inspired fashions that create a "red carpet" look, and teens will
be promenading in everything from sparkly, retro '60s cocktail dresses to
long, glamorous, old Hollywood-style gowns.
While Jackson Academy students will be attending prom "Under the Big Top"
April 4, Lanier High School students will promenade April 19. Their theme is "A Red Carpet Affair: Hollywood Style."
"We always try to instill in our children that they are all stars," said
Gwen Handy, teacher and prom coordinator. "So we put up stars with all the
juniors' and seniors' names, and we put out the red carpet for them. When
they come through, they will be announced like the stars on the red carpet.
That night it's just like the Academy Awards."
Pearl High School students will be livin' it up in East Coast style. Their
prom is April 12, and the theme is "A Night in New York."
"We'll have a Central Park area and New York skyline," said Gina Morgigno,
school counselor and student council adviser.
RHS senior Haley Thomason, 18, works at Expectations in Ridgeland, and she's
helped girls from all over the metro area pick out prom dresses.
"We've had some come in and ask to see someone else's dress," she said. "We
don't let them though."
Thomason, who plans to wear an orange dress with a cheetah print Saturday
night, said animal prints are big, as are dresses with low backs.
Cathy Fountain, owner of Fancy Formals in Clinton, rents and sells prom
dresses. She said the majority of her customers rent instead of buy,
spending about $250. Buying a prom dress typically ranges from $400 to $600.
"It's a very expensive night for a little girl," she said.
Cathy Jordan, of Glitz and Glamour Boutique in Byram, also rents and sells
prom dresses. She said designer dresses typically sell for around $300, and
the average rental is $175.
Jordan makes all her customers sit in their dresses before buying.
"They need to be able to sit and be comfortable," she said. "The prom is not
like a pageant. You are going to be sitting and eating in the dress."
Michelle Cole, owner of Crown to Heels in Vicksburg, is selling lots of
short prom dresses, and her customer typically spends about $200.
Her best-seller has been a Jovani accordion-style dress in a mix of spring
colors - green, pink and yellow. It features rhinestones in front and straps
that cross behind.
Cole said many girls are opting to wear pony-tails with their dresses to
show off large, dangling earrings.
And let's not forget the guys. The tuxedo has come a long way since the
tragic powder blue of the 1970s.
Carlton Smith, a formalwear consultant at Squires Formalwear in Jackson,
said nothing is traditional when it comes to the tux.
"Tuxes range from brown, gray, white, ivory, black and even tan," he said"People are looking for things that are different."
Smith said the most popular tux style is black-on-black with an accenting
"It's a celebrity trend," he said. "If you look at Will Smith and Bruce
Willis, they all wear black-on- black - a black jacket, black shirt and
Smith said chocolate is the second most popular color, and guys are matching
their tuxes to their date's dress. Fuchsia, turquoise and orange are popular
"As far as the conformity of tuxedos, pants are still tapered and tuxes are
still cut to fit," he said. "The going rate to rent them is anywhere from
$80 to $150."
Many promgoers are showing up in borrowed or rented sports cars instead of
limos, but for some, the limo is still the ride of choice.
Fred Cerami, owner of Act One Limousine in Jackson, said limos are
encouraged by some parents.
"Wouldn't you rather see your child in an automobile with a professional
driver if you know he's out on the road?" asked Cerami, who doesn't allow
While a traditional limo rental costs about $60 an hour for a minimum of
three, Cerami said some teens prefer nontraditional rentals, like Hummer
limos, but once they hear the price, they often go the traditional route.
"Those can cost you at least $175 an hour, or $1,000 a night," he said. "The
kids want the more extravagant vehicles, but it's up to the individuals to
spend what they can afford."
Anna Claire Freeman, 18, is the RHS student body president.
"This year, a lot of the seniors organized a big tour bus," she said, "and
we're each paying a certain amount of money. We are going to go to Nick's
restaurant afterward. We have reservations for 50 people."
The Soulja Boy dance, Cha Cha Slide and even the Electric Slide are popular
group dances at prom, Freeman said. The dance will probably start with '80s
music, (to which students said they find it easier to dance), followed by
hip-hop and rap, and end with the classics, like Van Morrison's Brown-Eyed
Freeman said some students rent hotel rooms, some have parties at their
homes, and some parents provide a breakfast at their homes the morning after
Tabora Cook, 18, said he looks forward to prom each year because he gets to
socialize with others from the 850-member student body that he might not see
"At prom, everyone meshes," he said.
Thomason said you can forget about film scenes like Carrie and even Never
Been Kissed in which the prom king and queen are chosen for all the wrong
"Our prom is not like it is in the movies," she said. "We always pick
someone to be prom king and queen who doesn't get recognized as much and
deserves it. We don't want it to go to the same people who get the same
things all the time."
IT ADDS UP
Prom dress rental, $175
Tuxedo rental, $80-$150
Limo rental, $180 for three hours
Food, $50 per couple
Accessories like earrings and purse, $50
Colors: Metallics, brilliant brights, animal prints, muted jewel tones and
black and white classics.
Styles: Accordion and Grecian cuts, halter dresses with neck collars,
babydoll dresses, bubble skirts.
Accessories: Dangling earrings (hair in ponytail), no necklaces.
Colors: Range from brown, gray, white, ivory and black to tan; fuchsia,
turquoise and orange are popular vest colors.
Tux style: Black-on-black with an accenting tie; pants are tapered and
tuxes cut to fit.