“Why do Scots wear kilts? Because my wife can hear a zipper a mile away” goes the old Scottish joke. Despite the witticisms of why the Scottish people wear kilts, what is underneath those kilts and how you can find out what exactly is underneath those kilts, on April 2, 2012, kilts were precisely what was donned at New York City’s Liberty Theater on 42nd Street for the annual Dressed to Kilt Fashion Show, an evening promoting Scottish designs, textiles, manufacturing, businesses, stylists, models and music, all the while raising funds to benefit good causes in the United States and abroad.

“The goal of our efforts and our event has always been, and will remain, to promote Scotland as a country, its culture, its talent, creativity and innovation and the age old Scottish values of education, exploration and enlightenment,” says Peter Morris, the Los Angeles based Vice-Chairmen of the Dressed to Kilt events, according to the show’s Web site. “In these difficult economic times for so many people, we want to refocus our efforts so that the next generation of Scots get the opportunity to make their contributions to those areas and further Scotland’s reputation as the best little country in the world.”

Previous years have featured celebrities such as Chris Noth, Ed Westwick, and Andie MacDowell, with fashion pieces by well-known designers like Vivienne Westwood, who yet again impressed the audience at this year’s show with her archival designs that were amongst the 49 looks present on the runway.

Dubbed “From Scotland with Love,” in celebration of its 10th anniversary, the 2012 show was an evening of fashion, entertainment and fun, established to benefit two charities among which were the U.S. based Wounded Warrior Project, a charity that helps wounded soldiers returning home from war in Iraq and Afghanistan and provides assistance to their families, as well as the Scotland based Cash for Kids – an organization that assists sick and underprivileged children living in Scotland and encourages them to envision a better future. Having come a long way since its first Dressed to Kilt show on April 1, 2003 with actor Kiefer Sutherland and entrepreneur Donald Trump as some of the honorary chairmen, once again, the show kicked off Tartan Week in the U.S., setting the stage for all things Scottish. The co-hosts of the night were Dr. Geoffrey Scott Carroll, the New York City based Founder and Chairman of previous Dressed to Kilt events, and Peter Morris, hosting with irresistible humor even when things went awry, which can often translate to some of the most interesting moments of a show.

But the moments before a show can also be some of the more exciting ones, especially when there is a Red Carpet involved. This year’s pre-show Red Carpet gave attendees a glimpse of the celebrities, models, organizers, and judges participating in the show, among which were Kelly Brook, Matthew Rhys, and Louise Linton — a sort of pre-fashion, celebrity teasing where for the price of a ticket, one could mingle with Rugby players and television stars alike over a bottle of complimentary beer at the bar right beside the Red Carpet. The Red Carpet also allowed the celebrities in attendance to model their pre-show looks.

Miss Scotland, Jennifer Reoch, stunned those present and even inspired a few gasps from onlookers, when she took off her jacket and revealed the gorgeous black feather sleeves on her royal purple dress, reminiscent of the black ruffles on the skirt of the dress worn by Natalie Portman in the 2010 film, Black Swan. Following suit was model Kelly Brook as she radiated both sunshine and promises of spring with not only her infectious smile but the vibrant colors and depictions of red, green and yellow flowers and onions on her form-fitting dress. Yet not all the outfits screamed of extravagance — Amanda Drury, a journalist and anchor for CNBC, showed up in an elegant yet simple, little pink dress (a play on the little black dress), and TV host Tamsen Fadal modeled a bright, red in color, bubble dress. The men were not to be outdone by their female counterparts as they donned tuxedos and kilts; fashion photographer Nigel Barker wore a striped grey tuxedo with a white shirt and tie in tow; fashion stylist Derek Warburton left his unique artistic mark with a purple, black and blue hued coat straight from the ’80s that could only be described as a water colored abstract painting; and Paper magazine’s Mickey Boardman decided to take the simple route sporting a purple Lacoste shirt, beige pants, and a bulky, gold circle necklace — a little frosting for that added little charm to his already charismatic personality.

Above all, the red carpet gave everyone an opportunity to talk about why they were really there.

“All I’m doing is a fashion show and having a good time,” Jill Hennessy, leading actress on the TV show Crossing Jordan as well as of the recently canceled HBO series, Luck, and longtime activist on causes as varied as cancer, AIDS, and autism explained.

“These people are coming back, looking for jobs, dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, and learning how to live the rest of their lives perhaps, with prosthetic devices. This is just a great excuse to come out and do something in a public way, to be honest, to bring some attention. A lot of people I know have never even heard of the Wounded Warrior Project.”

Thankful to be able to use a fun evening like the show to shed light on an organization she has supported for years, Hennessy brought a warm light to the Red Carpet. On the runway, she was flirty and funny, modeling two long, colorful plaid Obscure Couture gowns.

The night of fashion and Scotland began with a musical number, “From Scotland with Love,” being echoed from a marble balcony above the audience, setting the stage for the performances still to come. The very first look was accompanied by a Scottish rendition of Blondie’s “Atomic,” adding a cultural aspect to the New Wave classic.

The show took on a more ethereal quality when designer Jeff Garner’s Prophetik Collection was showcased. The long flowing, stunning pink gown matched the music as “yeah, I’m going to make you wonder” was sung, while the audience looked on with admiration at a gown which might have been appropriate for Marie Antoinette circa the 18th century.

NYC ballet dancer, Tom Gold, impressed the audience by literally dancing the runway. With every pirouette, each step landed a new dimension to the kilt; at one point, it looked as though he were flying in it, lending a whole new appreciation to its costume value in dance performance.

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