Thankfully the warmer weather and sunshine made day two of fashion week seem a little bit brighter. People mingled outside the tents, sipping on cocktails while checking out everyone's outfit. On the far side of the village — nestled between the Belk Tent and the VIP lounge — a trio stood on a stage wearing summery clothes being photographed. We couldn't tell if they were models or just some of Charleston's pretty residents, but it was slightly odd.
Grabbing a cocktail, we ventured into the Belk tent before the first set of runway shows. And it was just like going into the store. A group of MAC makeup artists worked on some ladies, while a display of Steve Madden shoes had been set up across the tent. We headed back into the Style Lounge, where vendors were still hawking goods but there was better fashion scouting to be had before the shows started.
Around 7:20 p.m., attendees started to settle in for the shows. Daniel D., the electronic violin player, took the stage to perform for the second night in a row — this time with a version of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." After his performance, Ayoka Lucas welcomed everyone. She also encouraged people to become mentors, like she has done with the Art Institute of Charleston. "Be somebody to somebody," she urged. She didn't stay on the mic long, and the shows began, starting with Cavortress.
Julie Wheat's show started with the bathing suits that helped put her on the map. The collection was out of an early '60s beach movie with a modern twist. As the outfits went down the runway, the years passed along with it and by the end the designs had an almost mod-style to them. Our fave of the evening was a leather (or pleather?) hot pant look with a swing top.
Ike Behar's menswear collection was next. He sent suit after suit down the runway — some with the pins still in them — showcasing what can be found in the store. The show also opened with what may have been a model mishap, as the first model walked onto the runway before quickly turning around only to reappear 30 seconds later. The biggest surprise of the show was the lady model they sent down the runway in a crisp, white men's shirt.
The third show of the night, the Art Institute's students' designs, all stemmed from sweetgrass baskets. Some took the inspiration literally, creating dresses that looked like the Market's big sellers. Others went a little more abstract, like the short look that had a woven corset top to mirror the weavings of the basket. Almost all of them incorporated sweetgrass into their looks, be it in their models' hair or their ensembles.
The night seemed to be progressing smoothly, with the first of the Emerging Designers up next. Rebecca Walker was inspired by topography, and we could really see her inspiration in her designs. They were textured and linear, but the poor finishing distracted from the beauty of the clothes. Loose hems and stray threads were visible from off the runway, which was unfortunate.
Maria-Teresa Pena's gothic designs were the next ones sent down the runway. The clothes were made well and looked nice, but what was most memorable was the styling choice she made: Hairnets were pulled over the models faces to slightly obscure their faces.
After Pena's show, we broke for intermission — a very long, drawn out intermission that took twice as long as it had been scheduled for. An hour later the shows went on, with Kaitlyn Machos leading us out of intermission. Her broken glass-inspired bridal designs were beautifully structured and more than adeptly finished, but sometimes her inspiration was too literal. That being said, the crop top shirt with jewels sewn onto a sheer back was gorgeous, and the audience confirmed it with nods and points as the model passed by. Machos was overcome with emotion as she took her turn on the runway with her collection, fighting back tears, visibly moved from the experience.
Cori Spade's re-envisioned quilting designs were next on the runways. Playing off the textural patterns of quoting, Spade wove different types of fabrics and textures together seamlessly. Her line really did reflect quilts, but it was done in a way was modern and could easily be worked into one's wardrobe. We were kind of smitten.
The final emerging designer was Stephanie J. Perry. Her swimsuit line was cool and strappy — really, it was primarily composed of elastic-like straps holding everything in. The designs were cool, but the models appeared hesitant and uncomfortable. And some had good reason to with the fit being a bit off on some of the designs. We saw quite a bit of butt cheek.
We had to run after the final emerging designer, but we our Twitter research told us that Kaitlyn Machos' bridal line will move forward to Saturday.