It wasn’t enough to present 100 beautiful creations that Ali MacGraw designed for Ibu. Not enough to spread them like a feast on tables for eager shoppers to graze. Not enough to spill them down the marigold-strewn runway on the backs of friends and allies. I wanted something more. I wanted the women who wove, dyed, embroidered, and beaded these beauties, the artisans whose lives are invested in every stitch, sisters of the same global thread, to be there too.
A 40’ x 20’ scrim is mounted the day before, so that faces I know and love became beams of light filling the room with their determination, strength, joy. When it is completed, I pause in the empty room and fill with that light. I grow taller with the possibilities it promises - these faces, these Women Without Borders.
The next day, we are all there together. Friends bringing friends, men coming to honor women, mothers and daughters, seekers and shoppers, 420 guests, the whole combustive world of Ibu, on fire. I stand in front of this wall of faces: Cessie, Wafae, Amina, Bhairvin, Farzana, Rado, Mary Padar. . . present and accounted for. Beside me is Amazing Ali, who has given herself so wholeheartedly to this movement that no task was too small for her hands to attend. And in front of me another sea of faces, including KimMadelynMissyBuffyLesaGreggMonica and dozens more . . . who’ve given precious time to make things happen. And then, right through the midst of them - weaving a thread-like path - are 22 allies modeling Ibu . . . Marty and Carolyne and Kate and Janet and Annie and Betsy. . . radiating the wow of women’s imaginations come to life.
That’s a moment I”ll remember. Venita emerging in her tulle skirt bordered in African wax print which Ali and Sharon spent hours composing in Santa Fe - paper marigolds handmade in Mexico festooning her hair - a muse tossing bright orange blossoms on the runway and quietly launching the whole affair. Furry Jax peeking out of of bag as our first canine making a round on the runway. Hart’s bright earrings marking our volunteers. 6'4” Shavone emerging at the last with Ali in African custom suit that exploded with color and a wild, festive kind of hope. It’s with me always, this much fun.
I cannot begin to thank the many who gave of themselves, and gave in generous ways to launch not only a collection, but a new era for Ibu. Most especially, the Ibu Team, who worked to the bone, and with such full hearts: Jamie, Marisa, Leigh, Austin, Sarah, Molly, Octavia, Daniella, Jaimie. I love them so, and am daily moved by their commitment. From that day, we sprung forward into Trunk Shows in Greenwich and New York, TV coverage and photoshoots, and a whirlwind press day where we’ve been since that day. All along the way, these women of light attended us - knowing no borders - just joining one another, holding a massive dream.
All the Best,
Susan Hull Walker