It’s my third night of CFW runway shows! I follow my routine by perusing the gathering crowd under the tent before heading backstage to check out the behind-the-scenes madness. The Charlestonians gathered under the tent look so fabulous, it’s hard to tell who is a model and who is a guest! Backstage it’s pretty clear, however, because all the Seeking Indigo models are having their body paint retouched. Yes, that’s right, body paint. There’s body paint, there are votive holders, there’s a statue of Buddha, there are lit candles... I have no idea what to expect, but I need to get out of here before I trip over someone again and accidently burn the tent down!
I’m on my way to battle it out for a spot in the photographers’ pit, but for the second night in a row I get distracted by the Oak Steakhouse concession stand. I peer at the rows of adorable little sandwiches—why is it so much more fun to eat little things?!—and ask the server what all they have. She rattles off the menu items, “Mini Ultimate Certified Angus Beef Steak Sandwiches, Mini Quiche Lorraine, and Mini Quiche with Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella.” So many little foods, so little time!
The Seeking Indigo extended show has just drawn to a close. CFW model Ghana opened the show swinging ceremonial incense burners, and I am in awe. Not only was the exotic tone of the show perfect for the Seeking Indigo collection and the first dress absolutely stunning, but I’m amazed by how graceful she was. I would have accidently clocked some poor audience member in the head. The best part of the extended show was getting to see so many looks come down the runway, but my personal favorite were the bathing suits—the first we’ve seen at CFW this year!
During the first break of the evening, I catch up with some of Charleston’s beautiful people before heading back to the photographers’ pit. I’m looking through my pictures when I hear some murmuring from the crowd and—what’s going on? MYCHAEL KNIGHT IS HERE! Did I watch every moment of your season on project runway? YES. Do I love every single one of your garments? YES. Am I going to take a million paparazzi pictures of you? YES. Someone start this show before I creep the poor man out!
The K. Morgan show has just ended. The looks are varied, but all gorgeous and feminine. The collection contains mostly dresses and a lot of prints for spring, but I’m in love with the last look, a sassy pink and white one-shoulder dress.
After a short break, the Palm Avenue show starts. I’m excited because the second look is more swimwear, but I love the bright colors, vivid prints, and South Beach style. The audience, however, loved the male models! Every time one took the stage, enthusiastic applause breaks out. But seriously, who doesn’t like a man rocking some vibrant floral shorts?
It’s another short break, and I work up the nerve to catch up with Emerging Design Competition judge and Emmy Award-winning costume designer Dana Campbell. I am a little star-struck and more than a little awkward, but she is so irresistibly charming! “Look at my bag! I picked it up at Bob Ellis,” she says. The bag is covered in elegant colors in a surprising but wonderful combination of gray, yellow, and pale pink. “What did you think of the emerging designers on Tuesday?” I ask. “I thought they were wonderful. Each of them was so truly distinctive, and as I was watching them I could picture perfectly their niche market.” “Are you excited about the finalists on Saturday night?” She smiles, “Absolutely, it’s going to be great.”
The Saks and Mary Norton joint show has just ended to thunderous applause. The audience is thoroughly smitten. They were won over first by all the hot male models—the CFW audience definitely loves some male models!—but more importantly by the classy, chic looks from Saks and Mary Norton’s magnificent handbags and shoes. My favorite part? Well, I loved the structure of the show: one female model decked out in the Saks “Want It” collection who is trailed by two men showcasing her accessories (or were the men themselves the accessories?!), but the best part for me, personally, was Mary Norton herself. When a male model accidently dropped one of her magnificent stilettos on the runway, Mary laughed and burst into applause, totally relieving any tension. Also, during the finale walk she spontaneously hopped up on the runway with her models. How adorable is that?!
I’m backstage again snapping photos and chatting with models. I catch up with Saks and Mary Norton model Clayton Brannon, and I have to ask about the show from a model’s perspective. “Is it difficult coordinating 3 models on the runway?” I ask him. “Not really. The hard part was trying to pass those trays back the moment we got off the stage.” “So I noticed the audience starts applauding whenever a male model comes on stage. What do you thnk about that?” I ask him. Clayton gives an embarrassed laugh and says, “I mean, everyone enjoys a little attention sometimes, right?”
The Pearl show is drawing to a close. The collection features a number of stunning dresses, but I’m loving the looks that feature stylish pants or cute, tailor shorts. The last look, a full, flowing navy blue dress, is breathtaking, however.
The Hampden Clothing models leave the stage after their finale walk in the extended show. There is only one word to describe what we’ve just witnessed, “Wow!” The models rocked the runway in hot, edgy looks and gave the audience a ton of attitude. One model even gave the photographers the finger, which was a little... surprising! I loved the sass, unique style, and badass tone of the show, and almost wish it was a double extended show! The good news is there are plenty more shows tomorrow. I’ll see you back at the tents.