CFW 2010: Tuesday Night Emerging Designer Competition
The first round of the Emerging Designer Competition with featured designer Gordana Gehlhausen
There has been loads of hype surrounding this year’s Emerging Designer Competition, due in no small part to the recent successes of CFW 2008’s Carol Hannah Whitfield, Gordana Gehlhausen, and EDC 2009 winner Marysia Reeves, but I was taken aback by the overwhelming energy buzzing under the tents last night!
A well-dressed, chic crowd browsed the Accessory and Style Lounge before staking their seats in anticipation of the runway shows, but backstage was a totally different scene. Uriel Zamora’s models were already outfitted in shorter-than-short minuscule one pieces and minidresses behind the curtain, and as I peered through the toxic haze of hairspray I spotted something even tinier that Uriel’s designs: childrenswear designer Barbara Beach’s models.
Barbara was being swarmed by a crowd of overly excited wee models as I approached, but she still found a few moments to catch up while simultaneously distributing little bracelets and straightening sashes. How was she holding up? “I feel good, just really good,” she told me. No pre-show jitters here!
I moved towards the makeup tent to scope out the scene, but was abruptly accosted by a male model. “Do I look like a tranny? I’ve got makeup on,” the CFW first-timer demanded. I reassured the model that no, he had not been “tran-ified,” and I think he felt better... once I stopped giggling, that is.
The Stella Nova stations were in full swing, but after snapping a few photos I had to duck out of the realm of makeup madness and airborne hair product. Back to the model waiting area, a wide space with a TV displaying a live view of the CFW runway before several rows of chairs strewn with the world’s most frightening-looking stilettos. And this is from the girl who shot last year’s fashion week in five-inch heels!
I ran into male model Bryan Young, who I recognized from last year. “So what’s your favorite memory from CFW 2009?” I asked. “When that girl got proposed to during the Bridal Couture show!” Bryan said. I picked my way around the chairs and bumped into another familiar face, Paulette Barba. Paulette’s favorite part of being in Charleston Fashion Week? “The people you meet! There are so many different personalities, it’s great.”
Before I knew it, the runway shows were mid-swing. Once the models line up behind the yellow tape, the area behind the stage becomes extremely high-stress. The mood is alert and anxious. Models tensely practice their poses, Ashley Brook Perryman inspects the styling, and last-minute safety pins and double-stick tape are passed around. Then there’s a flurry of activity, with models being ushered onto and off of the runway while the next show is being lined up.
Before I knew it, the runway shows were over and it was time to announce the Emerging Design Finalists. Up until the very moment they stood with Ayoka on the runway, the designers were laughing and hanging out without the faintest trace of competition or animosity between any of the contestants. It was awesome to see so much mutual respect and support among such extraordinarily talented people! Each and every show was amazing and utterly unique; congratulations to all the Emerging Designers for creating a night to remember, and special congratulations to Barbara Beach, Jamie Lin Snider, and Larika Page! We can’t wait to see what you come up with for the final challenge.