Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fashion Week Day 4: Local Designers Rock It

Posted by Erica Jackson on Sat, Mar 29, 2008 at 5:34 PM

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Night four of CFW brought a huge, very-well-dressed crowd out to Marion Square for the Emerging Local Designers showcase. Though I almost expected kind of amateur-ish stuff, I was happy to find that the Lowcountry has designers to rival those in any fashion capital. It’s enough to make a girl proud. Each show was preceded by a short film intro about the designer, followed by the runway show. Pictures courtesy of Stella French.

First up was Ashley Reid of Sullivan’s Island. Sadly, I got in a bit late, but I managed to catch some of the show, and I liked what I saw. Her pieces were largely ballet- and tribal-inspired — she calls it “balletribe” (see pic at left). An interesting combo to be sure. Many of the pieces had unique but wearable shapes. My favorite was a big bright red jacket.

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Rachel Gordon, who looked like a model herself, was up next. This downtown girl used lots of vibrant colors and patterns reminiscent of '60s resort wear, with lots of backless stuff and beautiful, glamorous details (see pic at right). Some stand-outs: an up-to-there black fringey number, a reversible black and zebra gown, and a sassy model in a red dress who came out with a camera and snapped pictures of the audience. We later witnessed three college-aged girls kick Miss Gordon out of her seat, insisting they’d been there before her. She graciously relinquished her seat, a bit shocked-looking. CP writer Stella also informs us that Project Runway's Jillian Lewis and Bob Seigel got bumped from their seats by rude girls as well. Whatever happened to Southern hospitality? What biotches.

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Foster Fox of Ravenel showed his Vegas and equestrian-inspired line next (see left and pic below). The models trotted down the runway in chaps, riding boots, and velvet riding hats (whatever they’re called), sometimes with whips in hand. Most of the pieces were stamped with colorful prints of someone’s face (update: we hear it was Charleston Magazine's Fashion Editor Ayoka Lucas). I'd be interested to hear Fox talk about that choice. One of the most popular moments was when a guy and gal model headed down the runway in black bathing suits — he in a speedo with riding boots, she in a teeny bikini. My favorite look was a huge silky skirt with layers and layers of tulle and who knows what else underneath. The model seemed to be having fun swishing all around on her trek up and down the runway.
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Megan Waldrep of Folly was up next with her enviro-friendly (I think), vintage-inspired line. This was definitely my favorite show of the night, though honestly there wasn’t much I’d actually wear. Still, I loved it. It kicked off with a pink-haired model (wait — wasn't she on the cover of  CP's photo contest issue??) skipping down the runway to the high-energy, happy tunes of the Jackson Five (see left). The trend of happy, playful, almost childlike models continued, as they showed off the designer’s fun, bold, neon pieces — very Betsey Johnson. Lots of hot pink gingham, florals, mismatched prints, and fun glasses. The crowd picked up on the vibe, bouncing around for the duration of the show. So fun.

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Next up was Krista Beth Huff of Summerville, who cites Tom Ford as a big influence. She used a lot of crazy colors and feminine silhouettes. Some favorites: a voluminous hot pink backless jacket thingy paired with tight leather pants, some fierce-looking but perhaps unwearable hot-suits (see right), and lots of paisley. The models had big hair with feathers in them, and bows were a popular accessory.

Wrapping up the night was Carol Hannah Whitfield, my favorite of the night in terms of wearability – I wanted to snatch nearly every piece from the runway (see below). With a background as a bridal designer, she’s good at making dresses that feel transformative. There seemed to be a kind of beautiful nature goddess theme going on. With money plants (I think) adorning their slightly messy hair, the models strutted in truly gorgeous dresses like a long turquoise number with a detailed, leaf-looking bodice (it was in the last issue of Charleston Magazine); a big gold ball gown; and a short red dress with a beautiful flower petal skirt. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who loved her stuff, because she got a standing o.

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