Designing for the stars

STAFF WRITERMay 18, 2009 

If you watched the "Dancing With the Stars" results show May 12, you saw the work of Raleigh native Becky Farmer.

Farmer was the winner of the Macy's Design a Dance contest, which asked the viewers to choose the song, type of dance, costume design and male and female lead dancers for a special segment.

Farmer, a former Millbrook High School student, submitted the winning costume designs and sat in the audience at the live show to see Julianne and Derek Hough, Mark Ballas and Lacey Schwimmer wear her designs. "It looked exactly like I hoped it would," says Farmer, who lives in New York.

During the show, she was in the front row, right behind host Tom Bergeron. They introduced her, too, putting the camera, she says "awkwardly close."

The best part, besides seeing her dress on the dancers? Meeting the show's costume design crew. "They told me they didn't have to change a thing on my dress," she said.

Farmer works as a merchandiser for women's sportswear at Tommy Hilfiger and a freelance costume designer for stage and television -- she designed her first Off-Broadway play in November. She also has a styling business, Rebecca Raleigh (, with which, she says, she tries to make her everyday clients "feel as special as celebrities."

Jennings' Julie Skirt

Uniquities owner Julie Jennings had a great denim skirt she loved wearing. Problem was, it was a maternity skirt, and she'd had her son.

She searched for a post-baby replacement, asking denim vendors whether they made a denim skirt for women -- basic, knee-length, straight. They didn't.

So Jennings turned to premium denim company James Jeans, and the Julie Skirt was born.

"It's a staple for a Southern store, so I wanted to offer it," says Jennings of the pencil skirt. "Plus when it's 98 degrees outside, it's better than jeans."

Working on the skirt made sense to the folks at James Jeans too. Randi Klein, the company's East Coast sales director, says nobody is really making a great longer skirt, a style that's done well for the company in the past. "It's not a booty short little mini," she says. "It's not for 15-year-olds who are size 24 [waist measurement]. There's a little bit more coverage for women who don't want to show the top of their thighs."

The skirt features the brand's signature pocket dart. It sells at Uniquities for $159.

Flirty Skirtchaser

It's not too late to sign up for the SkirtChaser 5K. It's a flirty foot race in downtown Raleigh on Saturday presented by SkirtSports, the makers of running skirts. The women will start running first, and three minutes later, the men start and chase them down.

Every woman that enters gets a SkirtSports Race Skirt with her entry fee (men get shorts). The first person to cross the finish line also gets $500. The first couple across the finish line gets a pair of Native Eyewear shades. After the race, there's a block party.

Online registration closes 11:59 p.m Thursday. You can also register at Inside-Out Sport in Cary. Go to for details.

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