A Night of Firsts
Charleston Fashion Week’s first-ever lingerie show and the naming of the first Emerging Designer finalist kicks off a week’s worth of fashion festivities
A steamy lingerie show, the highly anticipated new designs of Hannah Goff, and the naming of the first Emerging Designer finalist kicked off the seventh annual Charleston Fashion Week Tuesday evening. Charleston’s most stylish were out in full force, hitting the Style Lounge before the show began for cocktails and thumpin’ tunes spun by DJ Y-Not. There, a mix of Charleston retail newbies and oldies-but-goodies set up shop. Sneaker—a four-month old, King Street boutique specializing in a well-edited selection of, you guessed it, sneakers—displayed some of its latest footwear, some of which will be worn during featured designer Antonio Azzuolo’s runway show this Friday. Another newcomer, Charleston Stitch, was on hand to talk about its custom apparel, which shoppers will be able to design in-store when their downtown shop opens in a few weeks.
At 7 p.m., after CFW style director Ayoka Lucas got the crowd warmed up, the shows began. First up, Bits of Lace Fine Lingerie, Bob Ellis Shoes, and Croghan’s Jewel Box joined forces for CFW’s first-ever lingerie and swimwear show. Bra and panty sets in bright tangerine and pinks, lace-trimmed silk chemises and rompers from designers including La Perla and Prima Donna, and sleek one-piece swimsuits from Eres paired with jaunty fedoras heated up the runway and the crowd.
Sabrina Spanta, the first of the Emerging Designers semifinalists to show, debuted an architectural collection of sharp shoulders, sleek ankle-length trousers, and full, voluminous skirts in an autumn-ready palette of rust, teal, and maroon. Next, Victoria Cid took an unorthodox approach to introducing her line by running clips of Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face and Sienna Miller portraying the iconic Twiggy in Factory Girl—an appropriate nod to Cid’s tough-yet-feminine collection of elegantly draped silhouettes in red, black, silver, and gunmetal gray. Oversize, edgy necklaces added just the right amount of toughness to her vest-topped dresses that moved and swung gracefully down the runway.
After a short intermission, Jazsalyn McNeil pumped up the crowd again with vibrant, kaleidoscopic prints that seem to pixelate down the runway. The only show of the night to feature both men’s and women’s designs, McNeil’s “Kingdom Come” collection shimmered and shone as if it were from some iridescent otherworld, and models sporting David Bowie-esque eye makeup in neon hues gave a nod to the trend that seems to have swept the crowd this year, seen everywhere from lime-hued pumps to Barbie-pink dresses and lipstick. Callie Nichol, who won the night’s People’s Choice vote, followed with an even more dramatic take on the smoky eye and flowing, silky silhouettes topped with hoods and black leather jackets. Nichol’s intricate detailing and sexy open backs in simple blacks, whites, and reds stood out for her line’s bold yet delicately feminine looks.
Finally, Katherine Barron—chosen as the winner of the evening’s Emerging Designer competition—used her simple, all-white palette of blazers, trousers, and dresses as canvases for her Jackson Pollock-esque splattering of hand-painting and beading. Citing magnolia blossoms as inspiration and using a menagerie of fabrics from silk charmeuse to silk crepe for her expertly tailored silhouettes, Barron’s stark yet dreamy designs will compete against three other finalists Saturday evening in the finale of the Emerging Designer Competition: East.
Concluding the night, CFW 2012’s Emerging Designer East winner Hannah Goff showed a blazingly vibrant line of figure-flattering prints mixed unexpected textures, silhouettes, and fabrics—netting overlays and bike shorts—for an individualized yet completely wearable look. Neon made more appearances, this time trimming the hems of skirts and tops. Sportier pieces like baseball caps and platform Converse sneakers helped to dress down the body-conscious, curve-enhancing designs.
Yes, it was a fantastic start to this fashion-filled week. Up tonight:
Charleston-based featured designers Kris and Bob Galmarini of children’s wear label neve / hawk, retail shows by JLINSNIDER and Ike Behar, as well as the next four semifinalists of the Emerging Designer Competition, shopping in the Belk Tent and Style Lounge, and Next Top Cocktail Grey Goose winner Sarah Martin of Fish pours her winning drink, Frankly Speaking.
See you under the tents!
For the schedule, click here.
For tickets, click here.