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Charleston has been asserting itself as a Southern hub of style since the dawn of seersucker, and its claim to fashion fame has been magnified in recent years thanks to Charleston Fashion Week (CFW), a wildly successful series of runway shows hosted each spring by Charleston magazine. In 2007, Laura Bennett, the fiery redhead designer who made a lasting impression on viewers during season three of Bravo's Project Runway, turned up in support of the inaugural CFW, and fellow contestant Mychael Knight has been a familiar face in both the front row and as a judge of CFW’s Emerging Designer competition (and as part of Ayoka Lucas’ after-party entourage—lucky gal!).

The crop of standout creative designers who were awarded the opportunity to show their collections at this year's CFW held attendees in rapturous delight, and buzz of an even greater CFW + Project Runway connection has been growing all summer. As it turns out, Charleston has great reason to celebrate: two locals, including one past CFW Emerging Designer, were selected to appear in season six of Project Runway, which debuted on Thursday night.

Fashionistas flocked to Caviar and Bananas for a red-carpet viewing party that benefited Lowcountry AIDS Services, and the crowd erupted in cheers at first sight of both Gordana Gehlhausen and Carol Hannah Whitfield. King Street style watchers know Gehlhausen thanks to her boutique, Goga, which she stocked with edgy looks imported from Eastern Europe and her own custom designs. Meanwhile, Whitfield’s collection of diaphanous gowns received high marks during her 2007 CFW appearance. Both are competing for international recognition and prize money on the reality television show, so be sure to tune in and cheer for the local gals on Thursday nights.

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