Couture Shock

Exhibit Ambush fashion show
WHEN: October 22, 7-11 p.m.
WHERE: Horton Plaza Event Center, downtown
TICKETS: $25 general; $75 VIP
INFO: ambushevents.com

By Rebekah Sager

Here in the land of surf, sun and Sea World, high fashion often takes a back seat to board shorts and flip-flops (or skinny jeans and plaid shirts, depending on where you hang out). But a one-time craps dealer and is betting that that's about to change.

On October 22, Antoinette Love Ransom will assault San Diego's senses with her multi-sensory fashion show, Exhibit Ambush, at the Horton Plaza Event Center.

Exhibit Ambush will surround the audience in a space designed to look like an underground subway station. The event will feature the work of 10 emerging designers, including former Project Runway contestant, Jesus Estrada. Adding to the sensory ambush will be Ransom's own clothing line, LoveNote, more than a dozen visual artists, two DJs, body painters and celebrity host Yara Sofia, a contestant from the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race.

"Before Gaga wore meat, I created a swimsuit out of fruits and veggies," Ransom says. "Tyra Bank's mom heard about it and got me an internship on Tyra Bank's (then) new experimental show, Project Runway."

Ransom, a self-described "'hood rat" from Kansas City who worked as a craps dealer at local casinos, made her escape by going on tour as a hip-hop free-style dancer and with Brian McKnight, then later Diddy and Missy Elliot.

She eventually landed in LA, only to have her dancing career end.

"Music video dancers were replaced by sexy, booty shaking non-dancers," Ransom says. "That was not for me. I decided to follow my passion to be a fashion designer. I didn't know how to sew, make patterns, or sketch, so I went to the Art Institutes in Hollywood and worked on getting my BFA in costume design."

To supplement her income, Hef put her to work at the Playboy Mansion as a fire-blowing, bottle-flipping "Flair" bartender.

Ransom eventually moved across town to work for IMG Entertainment, handling public relations  for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Los Angeles.

Two years ago she moved to San Diego, taking a job at Valley View Casino where she is currently the first and only female African-American Pit manager in their history.

"I'm pushing these designers to challenge themselves; I'm liberating them," Ransom says of her vision. "I beat ovarian cancer.  I feel like there's nothing I can't do.  I'm determined to change the way people see art and fashion in San Diego. I want to help this city be an international fashion capital.

"Today Exhibit Ambush, tomorrow San Diego Fashion Week."

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