Last night launched the 5th year of Charleston Fashion Week under the tents at Marion Square, and it was nothing less than the stellar team behind CFW has taught us to expect. Eight designers debuted their collections in the Emerging Designer Competition: Southeast. There was a wide variety of Womens, Mens, and Childrenswear, and these talented up & comers left it all out on the runway.
There was a bevy of talent and Charleston’s movers & shakers in attendance, like former Emerging Designer winners Marysia Reeves and Carol Hannah Whitfield; Cynthia Rowley, womenswear extraordinaire, Mychael Knight celebrity designer, Ashley Reid designer & Art Institute Charleston instructor and many more. Suffice to say, we were impressed with the turn out: Standing Room Only.
First down the runway was Uriel Zamora, of Florida. Zamora paired bold primary colors with black, with sky high hemlines, dark eyes, gorgeous, sleek hair and fiercely high black heels. We loved seeing Eye Level Art’s Caroline Millard on the catwalk!
Barbara Beach had the uber-cute factor in the bag: she designs childrenswear so beautiful you want a child of your own. The details were abundant and immaculate. The colors weren’t your typical childrens choices, and could be difficult, but they somehow worked. Shiny flats with ribbons around the ankles brought you back to your ballerina dreams.
Julia Faye Davidson sent earth tones in flowing, natural fabrics paired with leather details down the runway. Fantastic hats, feathers tucked in some, great coats, distressed leather boots, sexy thigh high tights, beautiful suedes with a slightly Native American flavor all looked very wearable to yours truly.
Anna Lassiter, of King Street’s Eden Boheme, had boho-chic locked down. As she tells us in the opening video “I’m a little to girly to be completely Bohemian,” Anna’s designs were the grown up, sexier version of adorable. Her final look, a bridal gown with ruching and a laced up back was possibly the best runway bridal gown I’ve ever seen.
Hannalei Taylor’s models sported loose trapeze dresses in shades of bright yellow, chocolate brown, turquoise that reminded us of summertime and ice cream. These lucky girls were also in flat ballet slippers, which has to take the nervous, please-don’t-let-me-fall factor down a lot. The best look was a fitted plaid shirt tucked into high waisted pants that looked so chic, you wanted to buy the whole look.
Larika Page surprised us; her 50’s glam was a hit. Silks with tulle divinely draped over, Audrey Hepburn-esque cropped pants, a fun yellow dress with white draping…We loved it all.
If you’ve ever been to a good bar in Charleston, you probably already know Chelsie Ravenell by sight, and what a sight. His line, Kenneth Beatrice, was a lot to take in. The men were sporting paint covered shorts and pants, with lots of details all over. The seersucker vest was the perfect frat-boy-meets-the-city. Chelsie made some interesting pairings, like structured sweat shorts with a peach tuxedo shirt & bow tie. Our favorite was much simpler; the bright red shirt dress, dripping in pearls and a wide tan belt was to die for.
Jamie Lin Snider rocked pleats & navy. The details were flawless and we can’t wait to see more of this girl! The one downfall was a model who’s shoes were far too big for her, which was completely distracting…all of Twitterverse in attendance agreed.
While the judges tallied votes for the coveted three finalist spots, Gordana Gehlhausen of Goga & Project Runway fame, sent a stunning 24 looks down the catwalk. Black, grey, varying shades of purple & white, with fabulous accessories and details…the gowns that completed her show were fantastic, save for the poor girl who was tripping over her floor length knit sweater dress. Suffice to say, she did not make it back out for the final walk. There was enough fur and fab boots to make the biggest fashionista swoon. In short, it was great to have Gordana back, even if only for one night.
Ayoka Lucas, style editor of Charleston Magazine enchanted us with her stalling while waiting for the finalists to be chosen. Rick Jerue, President of the Art Institute of Charleston, did his best Price-Waterhouse-Cooper in handing over the three finalist results: Barbara Beach, Larika Page & Jamie Lin Snider will be competing for the coveted award. Make sure you stay tuned!
On an interesting back ground note, designers Anna Lassiter & Chelsie Ravenell actually grew up together, and if you were wondering where you can score your very own looks by either, Eden Boheme will soon be stocking Kenneth Beatrice in addition to Anna Boheme! Make your way down to the enchanting boutique ASAP. You won’t regret it.
So enough for now, we’ll see you under the tents at Marion Square.
Photos by Christopher Shane