The white dress with black polka dots drew the most response from three Skyline High seniors who dropped by the NW Prom Show yesterday...

The white dress with black polka dots drew the most response from three Skyline High seniors who dropped by the NW Prom Show yesterday, just in time for the fashion show.

The gown was sooo “My Fair Lady.” Definitely not the too-common Disney princess look, they said. It was slim from the strapless top to the waist, finished with a fuller skirt tied up in two places with bows.

“Oh, that’s cute,” exclaimed Kira Fickenscher, 18. “But oh, I would spill something on it within five seconds.”

Chalk up some points for the practical side of fashion.

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Fickenscher and her friends — Kristen Holland and Vanessa Vargas — were on a quest for the dress of their dreams for their June prom. But they know from experience that comfort is as important as fashion.

So, strapless dresses are out.

Many of the gowns in the fashion show were strapless, but Fickenscher wasn’t wavering. The last time she wore one, she said, she had to send her dad out for safety pins.

“See,” Vargas nudged her friends as one of the models — all of them area high-school students — gave her dress a tug as she started down the runway.

Prom season isn’t far off, and the show at the Radisson Hotel in SeaTac was designed to provide promgoers a place to shop and get ideas. It offered the fashion show, a makeup clinic, free hairstyling and nail painting.

Most of the girls modeling prom dresses were still deciding what to wear, but T’Yanna Timmons, a senior at Seattle’s Franklin High, said she’d already bought her dress — via the Internet.

For the rest, the show was a dress rehearsal of sorts and a chance to experiment.

Ted Harding of Proms and Promises, a formal shop in Kenmore, noted with dismay that for many young women of today, just wearing a dress is a whole new experience.


Jade Mahar of Maple Valley, Miss Washington for WANTSO, gets a complimentary update on her hair from Gene Juarez Academy stylists.

Rose Nakao, a senior at Snohomish High, agreed to have her hair done Paris Hilton style, the ends crimped in zigzags then tied at the top of her head. Nakao was one of the 12 students modeling at the show. Her ‘do was designed to match what was described as a “rock ‘n’ roll” dress, but more on that later.

The hairstylists, from Gene Juarez Academy, also created some faux-hawks (fake mohawks) and small pompadours on the guys. But some of the girls stuck with traditional curls, said Kim Corona, a Gene Juarez instructor.

In the dress category, slim and form-fitting definitely seemed to be in.

Valerie Olson, an Arlington senior, said last year she wore what she called a “real prom dress,” using her fingers to indicate quotation marks. It was pink, her favorite color, with rhinestones in the front and a long, full skirt. It was beautiful but hard to walk in, and even harder to manage when she needed to use the restroom. Yesterday, she eyed the dresses at the show but the prices, which ranged from the mid-$100s to over $300, put her off.

“It’s like a one-day thing,” she said of the prom.

Others weren’t thinking about costs just yet.

Nakao didn’t even want to know how much it might cost for the dress, the hairstyling, the dinner, the shoes …

Back on the show floor, Fickenscher and her friends admired many of the dresses being modeled: The pastel one with taffeta sewn together in concentric strips — which Fickenscher said was a nice modern take on a princess dress — and the peach dress that ended in a swirl of sheer, and a slit that revealed some leg. Two deep-violet dresses also drew an “oooooh.”

And then came Nakao’s rock ‘n’ roll dress, definitely on the wilder side. It was very MTV, almost a negligee — sheer with a flesh-toned lining that made it appear see-through. Before Nakao went on stage, the staff asked her mother for permission. The answer was yes. But when Nakao (before she saw it in the mirror) mentioned she might want to wear it to the prom, her mother’s answer was a very firm “no.”

Linda Shaw: 206-464-2359 or