Porsches, paparazzi, and thumping music in Marion Square can only mean one thing: It's Charleston Fashion Week. The seventh annual event kicked off Tuesday night, filling the square with girls in wobbly stilettos and models swigging Red Bull.
After a quick welcome from Style Director Ayoka Lucas and Tommy Baker (of new presenting sponsor Baker Motor Company), we launched right into the retail portion of the night, a collaboration between Bits of Lace Fine Lingerie, Bob Ellis Shoes, and Croghan's Jewel Box. The crowd buzzed about CFW's first lingerie show, and though most of the skivvies were gorgeous, some of the swimwear and sleepwear was less inspired — and we were distracted by the weird shiny flesh-colored pasties some of the models were wearing.
From there, it was on to the Emerging Designer Competition, which was made up of a majority of Savannah College of Art and Design students and grads. (What is this, SCAD Fashion Week?) Sabrina Spanta, an adorable 20-year-old SCAD student, started things off with an experimental collection featuring various shades of leather, exposed zippers, rhinestones, and randomly placed pockets. Though interesting, the collection was unpolished. As soon as she left the stage, we were treated to two film clips from fashion-themed movies. With no introduction or transition, the clips felt awkwardly placed and overly long in the middle of the show.
Luckily, we moved right on to Charlotte-based Victoria Cid, who says she's inspired by the patterns and shapes found in nature. Once again, leather was a big player in Cid's collection, along with draped velour and a shiny metallic material. The best look was a swingy white dress with a khaki vest and big macrame necklace.
Raleigh's Jazsalyn McNeil, a former model, got our attention with her vibrant, ethereal collection of men's and women's ready-to-wear. Her blue-hued textiles — Thai silk, chiffon, lame, lace, and boucle — were the star of the show, giving everything a fun mermaid/butterfly feel. Our favorite piece was a gold gown accented with bright blue feathers.
SCAD grad Callie Nichol said her collection was inspired by women's Middle Eastern clothing. Though evidenced in a few piece's hoods and dark, flowing shapes, we probably wouldn't have recognized the connection otherwise. Nichol went on to be named the People's Choice Award winner.
The final Emerging Designer of the night was Katherine Barron, yet another SCAD grad. Her all-white collection featured black hand-painted and beaded detailing. Although we liked the idea of the hot pink Barbie heels each of the models were wearing, they distracted from the subtleties of her designs. The judges ultimately voted Barron their favorite that night, so she'll move on to the final round.
Hannah Goff, an Emerging Designer Competition alum from 2012 (and SCAD grad!), finished out the night with a bold, textural collection blending everything from pretty sheer polka dots to black-and-white stripes to neon florals. There were a lot of looks, and it was a lot to process, but overall the show was fun.