Victoria Rossi feels great that she is able to spread awareness "about inclusion and diversity" through this.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 26, 2020. It has since been updated.
Many high school students dream about their senior prom since freshman year and most of them are able to attend it with their best friends and dates. But, there are some students, whose problems are a lot more basic than finding a date for the dance. One of the basic steps of going to the prom is about finding the right dress. If you are an able-bodied person with the means, that might just mean hopping to different stores until you find just the one. However, that doesn't happen for people with special needs.
It would be great if it was easy to find dresses for all kinds of people in stores, but since that doesn't happen, there are people who show up in our lives as miracle workers. Senior Victoria Rossi of Hanover Park High School, who has muscular dystrophy and requires a wheelchair, had been excited about the prom. But, when it came to finding the right dress, she couldn't find any that would comfortably fit her chest harness, according to Jerseysbest.
But, her mom, Anabelle, and a high school student from New York came to her rescue. Victoria's mother contacted Mindy Scheier, a fashion designer and founder of the nonprofit Runway of Dreams Foundation. Through the foundation, they were introduced to Kylie McRobie, a senior at Scarsdale High School in New York. Kylie was meant to design a prom dress for people with disabilities as her senior project, and the two girls just clicked.
"I was really excited when I found out I was getting my prom dress custom made because being in a wheelchair, it can be really difficult to find a dress that is comfortable yet stylish," an excited Victoria said. "It was nice because I could do the fabric, what type of glitter I wanted, things like that. We started the process sometime in April."
She wanted to dress up in the iconic red dress Julia Roberts had worn in Pretty Woman and the two girls got the opportunity to FaceTime with Marilyn Vance, the Hollywood costume designer who designed the original dress, according to NorthJersey.
The two girls initially met through Skype and started discussing the dress, which was made in red silk and fit Victoria seamlessly. "It really was a collaboration between me and Victoria, because I didn’t know anything about what would be most comfortable for her, but also what style she wanted and stuff like that," Kylie said.
"We Skyped a lot before we met in person, we talked about design and just normal things that you would talk about when designing a dress. But, we also talked a lot about things that she would need to be made adaptive from a regular prom dress, like different closures such as Velcro."
Victoria loved the dress, she told her school. "I had never really sewn anything more complicated than a pillowcase before," Kylie said. It took her a month to create the dress and then deliver for final adjustments. "I wore a red dress to a wedding over the summer, and really liked how I looked in red," Victoria said.
Finally, the finished product was a dress made in silk charmuse satin fabric with an off-the-shoulder, sweetheart neckline, and a slit and glitter. Victoria looked elegant and classy in the outfit, which she matched with red lipstick and nude sandals. Victoria said she's spreading "awareness about inclusion and diversity."
"It’s really cool that I can inspire others like me in wheelchairs and people with disabilities," she added.
The high school senior graduated in June 2019 and is studying journalism at Seton Hall University in New Jersey while Kylie joined Cornell University to study civil engineering.
Source: Victoria Rossi