Charleston Fashion Week – Day 3 (or Sloth)

Many Thanks to guest writer Elizabeth Bowers for her coverage and candid copy.  Images by Karson Photgraphy.   Enjoy! -SH

See that guy with pink hair? That's designer Chris Benz, and we can't wait for his show tonight!

Wednesday’s locals would have been hard to top here in Charleston, so Thursday is going to have to be Sloth.  Not that I was put to sleep, but the runway shows were just slow and underwhelming in comparison.  JLINSNIDER and Michael Wiernicki maybe should have been saved for WOW later in the week.

The third night of Charleston Fashion Week 2012 was devoted to the new hit show FASHION STAR on NBC.  CFW alum Sarah Parrott was featured on FASHION STAR Wednesday night, and her open-back, cocktail dress design, which was picked up by H&M, sold out in stores within 15 minutes. Ayoka Lucas wore the bright blue number well last night.

Three dancers dubbed Sweet Dreams by DanceFX and a chair mid-runway started the show. Very talented and very “halftime at the Lakers game.” They were a great way to get energy up under the tents.

This led straight to the retail showings of the evening, Copper Penny and V2V. The boutiques this year seem to be sending lots of brightly colored jeans and wedges down the runway, and these two were no exceptions. There were a couple dresses—a bright yellow, strapless one in particular—that screamed, “Wear me to the Spring Bridal Show, please!”

Emerging Designers

Nancy Faw Crowell

After a refreshingly short first half—the norm now, it seems—the third night of the Emerging Designer competition began, again, with kids. And squeals. And gasps. And lots of happy clapping from the crowd.

Nancy Faw Crowell

As one of the oldest competitors I can remember, Nancy Faw Crowell channeled Sweden in both design and music choice. Of the Emerging Designer competition, she said, “It’s been challenging, but a big joy for me to participate.” Primary colors and red buttons made in France accented her classic designs. She, of course, won People’s Choice for the night.

Vartika Vikram

Vartika Vikram

Vikram’s show started with a white dress, its buttons slightly off-center and certainly interesting. She continued with a cold color palette of white and green, and then went on to become a semi-finalist for her pretty, sheer, simple designs.

Jordan Lee Brooks

Jordan Lee Brooks

Think bubble hems and bumble bee color blocking. His golden flowered print made sense with his color palette, but on the runway alone was rather reminiscent of curtains in a piano parlor.

Amy Cochran Quinn & Kelly Elizabeth Ruehlman

This show was very conceptual. In their opening video Quinn and Ruehlman described a character named Dalia who liked to “go to museums,” and who was “quiet and pensive.” Dalia also seemed to like nude make up, leather gloves, and vintage belting. With two designers’ visions coming together, there was a lot of juxtaposition of textures, patterns, and colors in this show.

Hazel Bae

Bae’s knit accenting was reminiscent of last year’s Emerging Designer Competition winner Charlotte Hess. Her best use of knits was as a ruffle on the skirt of a cocktail dress. She also made dress sleeves out of white yarn. She stuck mainly to white and black—her white looks were her most dramatic—but she also threw in some neon colors for fun.

Gratuitous picture of beautiful girls Erin Perkins, Caroline Millard and Jess James

Featured Designer

Fashion Star

The featured designers of the night were three of FASHION STAR’s designers: Sarah Parrott, Luciana Scarabello, and Nikki Poulos. Showed quickly, in order, without breaks, all lines were cohesive and wearable. This makes sense, because the point of the television show is to have buyers outbid one another to sell a line or design the next day. A pair of leather trimmed trousers were a stand-out, and I wish I hadn’t been covering CFW the night before, so I knew which store picked them.

images : Karson Photography

words: Elizabeth Bowers 

Many thanks to Ms. Bowers for covering.  Follow her on Twitter @bowerse and check out her new publication, You, Yes You, a collaboration with writer and poet Marcus Amaker.

Charleston Fashion Week – Day 2 (or Pride)

So we’ve survived another day of Charleston Fashion Week, and while mentally reviewing the evening in all its glory, what came up was Pride.  Why that particular Cardinal Vice?  It was pride for the locals.

Local Designers JLINSNIDER and Michael Wiernicki came to the CFW runway with their A game last night, and you could feel the love for them both.  Emerging Designers Bob and Kris Galmarini, also of the home team, were the People’s Choice winner and I’m super proud to say that we’ve featured all these bad a** designers in the pages of Art Mag in the last year.  (I may or may not have had a distinct ‘proud mama’ kind of moment as they came on stage last night!)

SHOUT OUT to the folks making this all happen, on stage and behind the scenes: Ayoka Lucas, Shari Knight, Joe Quinn, Misty Lister, Vail Duggan, all the volunteers, models, makeup and hair stylists, EVERYONE.  Bless you all.

Will Willis and Josef Myers of Visualive, Jess James and the King Sing guy

King Sing opened up the evening with a sweet song and dance (moves provided by Visualive‘s own Josef Myers!!) backed up with the instrument of love, the saxophone, and a pretty girl strutting down the catwalk.  Josef was easily my favorite part, just between us.

Retailer Runway Shows

Tommy Bahama


Jamie Lin Snider is a Charleston Fashion Week success story.  She’s been an Emerging Designer, a Featured Designer and now with her own shop at 539 King Street, she’s back as a retailer.  Her designs have evolved into a more wearable, yet still stunning presentation.

Kudos to the team behind the video that welcomed everyone back to the tents, featuring perennial CFW model and local thespian Peter Galle…a super seductive scene involving a phone booth and a cigarette and some really red lips.

Emerging Designers

Bob and Kris Galmarini got the first standing ovation for their adorable kids line Neve + Hawk.  Seriously, I have never seen people go so crazy.  I thought the Beatles or Elvis Presley entered the room… (can you guess who was People’s Choice??)

Jessica Krupa makes sexy swimwear with an ode to vamp…as in vampire…you know, True Blood, Twilight, people go batty for the winged seducers of the night, and she’s capitalizing on it.  Smart woman.  Good suits.  Very ‘I’m classy and I know it,’ more composed than cutesy as some want to go.

Angela Sum sent elegant, structured, detailed dresses, tops and bottoms down the runway.  The White Witch of Narnia gets an upgrade–she would totally kidnap this lovely, diminutive lady and make her design clothes for all of Narnia.  (SPOILER ALERT: Angela Sum was the winner!  well deserved)

Ra Jang had some interesting looks, I particularly liked the layered tulle skirt in the second look down the runway, but hated the skirt that went over it.  The ladies looked slightly stymied by their Geisha-like shoes.  One lass was swathed in a gold lame skirt and some sort of animal choking the model.  It was great.

Nina Awasum, a Cameroon native, had a limited palette of navy, white/cream with pops of peach, lots of pants, tribal prints, smooth, sleek fabrics that served as a base for knitwear with depth.

Trends I’m noticing:

Giant, Frankenstein-like platform heels.  I’m just waiting for a model to go flying.  Already seen several gals stumble, due to too-large shoes.

Long in the back and show it all up front.  Dresses and skirts with a mini-length in front and dramatic train in back are showing up everywhere from runway to local boutiques like House of Sage.

Featured Designer

drama, drama, drama with Michael Wiernicki

Michael Wiernicki made a dramatic entrance with a slow, methodical beat and model in a burqa…could easily have been the opening scene to a really great doomsday film.  The new line stays true to Wiernicki’s aesthetic and his vision, and his construction has improved greatly.  High fabric quality, lots of tribal prints and images, snakes, lizards, sarcophagi, ankhs, sphinx…a restrained palette and a challenging collection.  I say challenging because most of the audience needed more time to absorb it.  However, Wiernicki fans were all abuzz on Twitter, and your truly among them.  AMAZING.

Score 3 points for the home team.  Kudos to JLINSNIDER, Bob and Kris Galmarini and Michael Wiernicki.  You’ve done us proud.

words: Stacy Huggins

Charleston Fashion Week – Day 1 (or Lust)

Lust?  Why Lust, you ask.  Well my darlings, Charleston Fashion Week, is something akin to the Cardinal Vices, better known as the Seven Deadly Sins, for any fashion-loving lass or lad.  Why?  Because we’ll experience nearly every vice this week, and by Saturday night, we all be nearly dead as well!

So what about the Lust?  Let me tell you.  Emerging Designer Samantha Hyman‘s first look down the catwalk literally made me say, “Yes, please, oh my God, NOW!”  I wanted to jump on stage and steal that jacket right off the model.  As she was only the size of an elongated pixie, I probably could have gotten away with it.

Daniel D

Remember Daniel D?  Crazy-awesome violin boy?  Yes, that talent was back.  It didn’t wow me quite as much as last year, seemed like there was more back up music than necessary, but whatevs.  He can fiddle anytime he wants.

Another musical note.  Holy Bass, Batman.  Turn it down please!  The whole place was vibrating, I thought we were at PURE Theatre for a second.

Style Lounge:  Was great to see Angie of rosita jones in the tent…snagged another bottle of nail polish–make sure you 1. read my profile on her and 2. go visit her in the back of the Style Lounge, conveniently near the bar!

It’s all about the kids this year.  There’s like, quadruple the amount of children’s clothing this year.  Barbara Beach clearly started something in 2011.  (check out this video from last year!)

Pint-sized model for Poe Studio

Retailers Runway Shows

Poe Studio‘s kiddies were cute enough to almost make you want to have children.  They used copious amounts of tulle to make “cotton candy” and “popcorn,” as the circus theme is getting some serious play in Charleston lately. (time for something new, whatdaya say, folks??)

Palm Avenue was decidedly less Lilly print and more color block, with hints of Lilly.  Very wearable clothes.  The bathing suits were killer.  I will be getting one soon.  Nice work ladies.

Emerging Designers

Mikasa LaCharles wants you to own who you are, and she sure does.  This sparky gal from Chesapeake Bay, Virginia won the crowd over with sheer enthusiasm and ownership.  Rock it, girl.

As  I mentioned already, Samantha Hyman was by far and away my favorite.  She had a Victorian look, with a slight Helena Bonham Carter flavor, which gave the clothes just enough sinister to walk the line between staid Victorian and sleek, chic modern.  Why she didn’t win is beyond us.  Truly.

Tsvetelina Gerasimova McAuliffe of Concord NC won the night, and while the images of her clothes look great, the details from the front row left me a little less wowed.  For instance, this fantastic blue gown was sullied with some silver chain that looked like an afterthought.  Sans that, we have a solid A+ Winner.  Congrats Tsvetelina.

Locals Gil Tisdale & Dominique Verona were the People’s Choice winner, with some obvious crowd support in the audience.  Nothing like cheering for the home team.

Check out Olivia’s favorite emerging designer, Adrienne Antonson:

I had to peace out before the Featured Designer show, for the Faces For Radio show at Voodoo, but The Digitel’s Katie Thompson has a good run down of the rest of the evening here.

Okay, loveys, I’m heading to Marion Square to pick up my media badge for tonight’s madness.  Stay tuned for videos, pics, interviews…what will the Cardinal Vice be tonight?????

Follow me on Twitter for up to the minute musings and more: @chasartmag (follow @shuggins1229 for more snark)

words: Stacy Huggins

Charleston Fashion Week: shop, prep, primp and strut

Okay my darlings, real talk time.

We love you, but its time for everyone to swap the cheeseburger for a turkey burger and get some cardio in by doing a mad dash down King Street.  Why?  Charleston Fashion Week is almost here!

The CFW madness, image: Karson Photography

We are particularly excited to:

1. Plan some crazy outfits.  Charleston Magazine Style Editor Ayoka Lucas promised me that this is THE week for ANYTHING in your closet that’s too crazy for Charleston…you can wear it for Charleston Fashion Week!

Adrienne Antonson

2. Emerging Designers.  Olivia is particularly stoked to see former Charleston resident Adrienne Antonson, now of Brooklyn, NY, and her sculptural designs.  She also spent some time raising llamas.  Yes, llamas.  We met Mikasa LaCharles at the meet and greet last night, looking impossibly fresh after a 6 1/2 hour car ride to get here.  She’s got some gumption, ladies and gents.  You know how we like gumption in the South.  Also looking forward to Bob and Kris Galmarini, of Neve Inspired, who will send their precious children’s looks down the runway on Wednesday.  Check out our profile on them!

Designer Chris Benz

3. Fashion Industry Stars.  CFW is calling them Special Guests, but when you are talking about Fern Mallis, Industry Star is more appropriate, me thinks.  Heard of New York Fashion Week?  You can thank Fern for that.  Chris Benz is another Special Guest, Parsons alum and winner of the 2004 CFDA Emerging Designer Award.  Check out his website.  Me like.

4. After Parties.  Camille Key and Lamar Bonaparte know how to throw a party.  The brains behind Charleston After Dark and 26 Industries team up to bring you RAIN, the grande finale of CFW after parties.  Get your tickets and head to the Aquarium.  It promises to be a swanky, sexy night, judging by the promos.

“Inga Binga” explores a Pre-Camelot JFK

Julian Wiles, the founder and artistic director of Charleston Stage and author of Inga Binga, brings the young Jack Kennedy to life before our very eyes, with the help of New York stage actor Phil Mills, but more on him later.

Anyone who has ever been remotely intrigued by the dashing, enchanting life and times of JFK will enjoy Inga Binga, playing at the Dock Street Theatre through March 25th.  An original play, based on actual events that happened right here in Charleston, Inga Binga is the story of a weekend tryst between Jack and Inga, a Danish beauty queen who caught the young ensign’s eye in Washington.

Jack has been transferred to Charleston, where fear of German u-boat attacks, spies and sabotage have prompted the locals to install air raid sirens and black out shelters all over the city.  Any one of foreign descent is suspect.  Jack’s amour, the beauty queen to the silver screen Inga Arvad, is just such a one.

We won’t tell you much more of the story, (go see it for yourself!) but it was wildly entertaining.


Phil Mills stars as Jack and Gardner Reed as Inga, both imported from Manhattan for this production.  They were engaging and a refreshing change up in the leads, supported by Charleston Stage vets.  Reed is as lovely as Mills is handsome, and they had excellent chemistry.  Reed’s accent wasn’t quite as consistent as Mills’, but it did not distract from her performance.  She has an amazing ability to showcase both Inga’s vulnerability and bravado, even in the same moments.  Mills swagger and smile seemed so natural, so part of him, that it was hard to believe you weren’t watching the man himself.

Brian J. Porter stars as Lem, Jack’s best friend since prep school.  What. A. Guy.  Porter has played everything from chorus (Chicago, the season opener for Charleston Stage) to star (anyone else remember What If? ProductionsHedwig last year?!), and he positively shins in Inga.  He has the ease of someone who feels so very at home on stage, and it makes his performance fantastic.

Beth Curley and her Hair.  The woman is spot on as Betty, a ballsy reporter after her story.  We loved her scheming, plotting, do-anything-to-get-the-scoop nature, but special mention should also go to the best head of hair on stage in Charleston!  She looks like she’s straight out of a salon commercial.

In summation, this is a worthy night at the theatre, whether you are a JFK enthusiast, want a comedy with a little love too, or a sucker for the inevitability of doomed romance, Inga Binga will satisfy audience members of any age, Yankee or Charlestonian.  Kudos to the entire cast and crew and particularly playwright and director Julian Wiles.

words: Stacy Huggins

Theatre Charleston to Host Fourth Annual Unified Auditions

The Footlight Players' production of "South Pacific"

On April 14th Theatre Charleston will host its fourth annual Unified Auditions.  Dozens of Charleston’s top theatre directors and producers to come together
to search for local talent.

“Over 70 plays and musicals will have been produced by the end of the current season, and we’re expecting even more to take place next year.  The annual Unifieds provide a unique opportunity for Charleston’s large acting community and Theatre Charleston’s 12 Member Theatres to come together to see and be seen all in one afternoon,” says Executive Director, Emily Wilhoit.

Charleston’s talent pool has grown at a rapid pace over the last 5 years, and area directors have come to find the Unified Auditions vitally important.  Theatres are introduced to actors they don’t know and are reminded of the excellent work being done by actors with whom they have not yet had an opportunity to work, assuring the best cast possible for each and every production.

The auditions will take place April 14, 2012 beginning at 1:00pm at The Footlight Players, 20 Queen St.  Auditions will be run cattle-call style.  Each actor will be given 90 seconds to use as they wish (typically a monologue or a monologue and song).  An accompanist will be provided.

Audition slots are first-come/first serve and are open to Individual Members of Theatre Charleston only.  The membership is only $25 and comes with a ton of benefits including discounts to member shows, participation in the actor database, invitations to Theatre Charleston Night events and more!  Wilhoit points out that the Unified’s are general auditions and most theatres will not cast directly from the auditions, but will use them as a guide to set up their own call-backs.  She stresses, however, that a large majority of directors and producers will be using the Unified Auditions as their only open call and will pull from these actors for their entire season.  Actors of all types are encouraged to attend, from those just starting out in theatre to those highly experienced on the stage.

A special audition workshop/question & answer session will be held March
24th, 10:00am-11:00am at The Charleston Acting Studio on James Island.

Midtown/Sheri Grace Productions' Over the River and Through the Woods

Midtown/Sheri Grace Productions' "Over the River and Through the Woods"

Participating theatres include but are not limited to:

Actors’ Theatre of South Carolina, Art Forms and Theatre Concepts, Creative Spark Center for the Arts and SPROUTS Childrens Theatre, Deuce Theatre, The Flowertown Players, The Footlight Players, Midtown/Sheri Grace Productions, PURE Theatre, South of Broadway Theatre Company, Threshold Repertory Theatre, and The Village Playhouse!

Audition applications must be received by April 6th.  A limited number of audition slots are available so reserve your space soon!  For more information or to sign up visit or call (843) 813-8578.

Pure Theatre’s Vibrator Play Has the Audience All A-Buzzing

This evening’s opening night of Pure Theatre‘s “In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play” had everyone in the audience quite a-flutter to say the least. Based in the Victorian era when electricity had just been invented, the play recounts a time when women were diagnosed with “hysteria” and treated with a new electronic machine to, um, calm their nerves.

The entire performance was extremely well executed. The decor in the opening scene really set the stage (literally) with a dark red velvet vintage doctor’s chair taking center stage.  I also liked the imaginative and clever ways the doors were “cut” in half so the audience could see into “the next room.” Costume designer Janine McCabe’s costumes were to die for – lots of corsets and bustles. I tried to talk her into parting with one for my personal collection.  I’m not done trying.😉

The leading ladies – Pelham Spong, Andrea Studley, and Tara Denton – had me in stitches for 85% of the time. The other 15% I thought I might actually let some tears fall when they discussed Mrs. Givings, her baby, and the need for a wet nurse.  Nthenya Ndunda, who played the wet nurse, did an incredible job. Honestly, it really was the ladies who exhibited the more electrifying performances, as they should have with a play with such a subject matter as this.

Congrats, Pure Theatre and director Cristy Landis. I think this is one of the best plays I’ve ever seen you do. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with next. This one definitely had some pulses racing. You should go with someone you want to, um, hold hands with.

Be sure to catch a performance over the next couple weeks. 477 King Street, 843.723.4444,

words: Olivia Pool