Over cocktails at Pacci one recent Sunday afternoon, Jessica Mock and Melanie DeFilippis laugh as if they’re old friends. They actually just met a few months ago, when Melanie walked into Southern Sugaring for her first sugaring experience.
Jessica, the owner of Southern Sugaring, and Melanie, the owner of Word of Mouth PR, bonded over their mutual passion for women’s issues, and soon concocted a plan for Sugar Solstice, a swimwear and lingerie fashion show that takes place tonight at the Kimpton Brice Hotel. The event celebrates the second anniversary of Southern Sugaring, raising money for SAFE Shelter: Center for Domestic Violence Services and also encouraging gender acceptance in Savannah.
More on that below, but first, what exactly is sugaring? Sometimes coined “the new waxing,” it’s really not so new. According to Jessica, the technique, which uses a paste of water, sugar and lemon to remove hair in all the places wax can, has been around since the days of Cleopatra, gaining recent popularity due to less pain and irritation—and longer-lasting results.
“I’d never been sugared,” recalls Melanie. “But it was such a comfortable environment—very fun, friendly and fresh. And I got an awesome friend out of it!”
With that, the two women clink glasses. “From Brazilians to business partners,” says Jessica with a laugh. Indeed, it’s a pretty sweet deal.
Savannah magazine: Tell us about Sugar Solstice.
Jessica: It’s a fashion show, of course, but there’s also a bar, and some pre-show activities that we want to be a surprise. There’s going to be something for everyone—men and women. It can be a date night or a girls’ night out.
Melanie: The “Sweet” ticket is $50 and includes entry and access to that. The “Sweeter” ticket is $75 and adds access to the open bar where we’ll be selling signature drinks. The “Sweetest” ticket is $120 and includes a front-row seat at the fashion show and a swag bag. We have over 22 sponsors who have put a lot of awesome items into the bags.
SM: We hear you came up with some fun cocktails for the event?
Melanie: Jessica, myself and Audrey King from Flower General, one of the event’s sponsors, each came up with a signature drink that’s inspired by our roles. Mine is the “Mouth Off,” after my PR company Word of Mouth. It’s champagne and a scoop of sorbet. Audrey’s is made with vodka, soda, grenadine and edible flowers, and Jessica’s is the “Sugar Tea”—bourbon, tea and a lemon twist with a sugar rim.
SM: What did Audrey King plan for the show?
Melanie: It was Audrey’s idea to use the Garden of Eden theme. We knew we wanted to do a runway with lingerie and swimwear, but we didn’t really have a direction yet and Audrey came up with that. By working at Flower General, she can make it happen. She’s so talented—it was a no-brainer to work with her as a sponsor.
Photo by Izzy Hudgins
SM: What fashion can we look forward to?
Jessica: We’ll feature the same swimwear and lingerie brands Southern Sugaring carries at the shop—swimwear by Vitamin A and lingerie from Cosabella, Naked Princess and Hanky Panky. Representatives from each brand will be in attendance, so guests can buy whatever they like right off the runway.
SM: Why did you decide to donate a percentage of each ticket to SAFE Shelter, the Center for Domestic Violence Services?
Jessica: As a group, we’re really passionate about women’s issues and rights, and I’m part of a new group in Savannah called the Savannah Influencers. We’re women who run businesses, or blogs, or in some other way influence our city. We really felt that we needed to use our privilege to help give back to the community. We chose the SAFE shelter as our philanthropy focus for the year.
Melanie: I walked through the shelter last week and got to speak with some of the women. It’s normally a private place so it was such a powerful moment for me, and it made me realize these women need strong women mentors and strong women figures. They need to know that they’ve a shot to get out of there and that we’re here.
Jessica: Our goal is to raise $2,000 for the SAFE Shelter. If people can’t come, there is an option to donate online.
SM: And how will the event also commemorate the rise of gender acceptance in Savannah?
Melanie: I think one of the reasons we planned this fashion show is that we want to say that yes, Savannah is conservative, but we also want to open the door for every type of person.
Jessica: We have a surprise ending—something that sends the message that Savannah as a community needs to be a safe place where everyone can feel accepted.
Melanie: And we want to make sure this show celebrates women of all sizes. We have plus-size models walking in our show, as well as a lot of different ethnicities.
SM: What makes this event “so Savannah”?
Jessica: I think it’s the new Savannah that we’re representing. We aren’t really as conservative as we’re portrayed to be. We can still embrace the charm, tradition and Southern values while creating this city that includes everyone.
If You Go
Sugar Solstice Fashion Show
June 22, 2017, 7-10 p.m.
Kimpton Brice Hotel, 601 E Bay Street
Dress code: Pink