Home / Shopping / What they wore: Long trains, full skirts in fashion at Candlelight Ball
What they wore: Long trains, full skirts in fashion at Candlelight Ball

What they wore: Long trains, full skirts in fashion at Candlelight Ball

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Patrons enjoy Candlelight Ball, an annual fundraiser gala for Austin Peay State University, Saturday evening in Nashville.(Photo: JOSH VAUGHN/FOR THE LEAF-CHRONICLE)Buy Photo

April 3 is the official start date of Nashville’s fashion week. But this year, Clarksville got things started a little early.

On Saturday, sequins, heels, long trains and full skirts poured into the downtown Omni Nashville Hotel for the 34th annual Austin Peay State University Candlelight Ball.

APSU Alumni Director Nikki Loos Peterson wore a floor-length red gown with a sweeping cut-out back.

“I work with the Miss USA pageant system as a choreographer,” she said. “This is just from one of the websites that I’ve known through that.”

Clarksvillian Nicole Rye shopped all of Clarksville — “and all of Nashville,” Rye added — before deciding on her brilliant red ballgown with the full skirt and eye-popping bow.

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Nicole Rye wore a red ballgown with full skirt and eye-popping bow at Candlelight Ball, an annual fundraiser gala for Austin Peay State University, Saturday evening in Nashville. (Photo: JOSH VAUGHN/FOR THE LEAF-CHRONICLE)

“It’s from Wedding Bells” in Clarksville, Rye said. “It’s a Jovani … I’ve never worn puffy or red. I just took a chance and went with something completely different.”

Rye said she was eyeing one other dress, but ultimately there was only one choice for her. 

“I knew if I picked the other one,” Rye said, “I’d always regret that I didn’t get the red dress with the bow.” 

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Morgan Knight paired her black, one-shoulder mesh gown with red stacked Vince Camuto heels at Candlelight Ball, an annual fundraiser gala for Austin Peay State University, Saturday evening in Nashville. (Photo: JOSH VAUGHN/FOR THE LEAF-CHRONICLE)

Yada Yada Yada Deli owner Morgan Knight paired her stunning black, one-shoulder mesh gown with red stacked Vince Camuto heels. Her gown has covered a lot of ground in the last 10 years. 

“This is actually my high school prom dress,” Knight said. “It was an 18th birthday gift. It’s BCBG.”

And when it came to Knight’s up-do for the evening? She let the salon come to her, having GLAM Nashville, a hair and makeup service, do the work in her hotel room. 

“They come to your location. They’re amazing and affordable,” she said.

Candlelight Ball Committee Co-Chair Andrea Herrera stuck closer to home when getting ready for the big night: her own salon. Herrera owns Isabella Sophia, the Clarksville spa and salon.

“I didn’t tell her anything. I didn’t show her a picture,” Herrera said of Isabella Sophia stylist Nicole, who transformed Herrera’s hair in a beautiful up-do with soft-swept curls for the evening. “She’s amazing.”

The ladies of the Candlelight Ball weren’t the only ones bringing shine and glitz to the Omni halls. A number of Clarksville soldiers and veterans donned dress blues for the evening. Army aviation veteran Tom Denney wore a civilian suit with his combat medals. 

“I flew all three tours of Vietnam,” Denney said of the 32 years he served in the Army. “Shot down one time. But we all survived.”

Denney added that the dapper, crispy, straight-out-of-a-magazine bow tie he wore was nearly 15 years old. 

“I got three,” Denney said with a smile. “So I can rotate them around.”

At 6 p.m., guests at the ball enjoyed a cocktail hour munching on hors d’oeuvres and sipping Yazoo beer or Jack Daniel’s cocktails. 

At 6:45 p.m., guests were ushered into the Omni ballroom where tables were set with white tablecloths, small candles and flower arrangements of lilacs, roses and baby’s breath.

Following the posting of the colors by APSU’s ROTC and a brief prayer by Jimmy Terry, Jr. (son of the late Pastor Jimmy Terry Sr.), salads, dinner rolls and butter in the shape of music notes were served. The main course followed, consisting of prime rib, potatoes, crab cake and cauliflower. And dessert concluded the meal, complete with strawberries, chocolate and whipped cream. 

Guests were introduced to two of the evening’s APSU scholarship recipients, and APSU President Alisa White presented the Spirit of Austin Peay award to Terry Griffin and the Wendell H. Gilbert Award to Maggie Kulback.

A live auction followed, where five auction packages — ranging from a custom-piece diamond and ruby necklace to two tickets to the APSU at Georgia football game — were auctioned off to guests, bringing in a total of $16,250.

“All of the funds raised from the auction go straight to the scholarship endowment,” Peterson said.

In addition to the auction funds, funds raised by the Candlelight Ball Committee surpassed $100,000 this year, up nearly $40,000 from last year.

“That’s the sole purpose,” Candlelight Ball Committee Chair Christina Clark said. “We’re raising money for scholarships.”

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Here are photos from previous years’ Candlelight Ball galas:

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