Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Revealed! Phoenix Fashion Week Candidates for Designer of the Year 2013

Building on their mission of Bridging Designers and Buyers, Phoenix Fashion Week hosted its 5th Emerging Designer Challenge on Friday, June 13th 2013 at the Toni & Guy Academy in Scottsdale AZ.

Greeted by familiar faces, local and out-of-towners alike, gathered at the red carpet with big smiles as the cameras flashed, there was a strong sense of passion in the room.  Entrepreneurs, fashionistas, stylists, papparazis… it was always fun reuniting with old friends…

and meeting new ones...

As Brian Hill, Executive Director of Phoenix Fashion Week, cordially interrupted the gathering, he invited us to shift to the other side of the room for the highlight of the evening.  It was my first time to attend a fashion event as a journalist/fashion blogger, and had to split up from my usual designers/stylists company. Ahh…there’s my assigned media/press seat. 

After an 8-city US tour, including New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Phoenix, the search is over and the much anticipated reveal of the 12 Emerging Designers was officially announced: 

Dolcessa – Katya Leoncia’s Dolcessa swimwear has been featured in Sports Illustrated a few times. It was 3-digit temperature outdoors, just as hot as this 2-piece Purple Rodeo swimsuit that Maureen Montagne rocked in the runway. 

Doux Belle – Describing her clothing line as Vintage Elegance for the Modern Woman, Rachel Wagner debuted her first piece - a black floor scraping bare back sequined gown. Christina Barron is a true Hollywood glam in this gown.

d.p.c. – Dora Yim’s brand appeals to my personal style. I love contemporary, classic, and the idea of timeless pieces like Aria Evans’ outfit.  This look is in my top 5, and I would buy that navy top and skirt off the runway.

Gentry – At first look, this ensemble by Stephanie Gentry has too much going on between the layers, ruffles, sheer bubble pants, etc.  But as Kimmy Vu approached the audience, the more I appreciated the strong architecture yet feminine curves of this outfit.  Another one in my top 5 picks.

Herbert Victoria – Named after the creator himself, this HV dress boasts custom design distinct from the rest in the runway, i.e. gray suits, black gowns, color-blocking and t-shirts.  This unique fusion of geometric patterns combined with exotic prints brings something new and stands out from ordinary.

Jaire – Designer, Nekia Hattley, hit the mark! Worn one off-shoulder, the romantic look of this black tieback long gown is captivating.  Alexis Hamilton, PHXFW Model of the Year 2011, exuded confidence as she sashayed while the dress flowed along.  

Linden – Full disclosure…I’ve worn Linden and previously worked with Jennifer Lynn (represented by Jenna Podraza), brand owner and designer.  I know the fit, high quality fabrication and comfort of her clothes, and this label is also on my top 5 picks.  The gray Kumiko Jacket and Trousers combination on Kirsten Garber is one of my most desired of her fashion line.

Loin Cloth – Los Angeles based tandem, Clary Jeffrey and Sam Mascaro couldn’t hide their cool California beach charisma even in the heat of Arizona. While I found the owners’ t-shirts more unique and interesting than what was worn by Gavin Tucker in the runway, I am curious about the rest of their off-duty/street wear.

Medium Apparel – Inspired by everyday life and their free spirited generation, Medium is born by Creative Director and Owner Zac McDonald (represented by Lonnie Weisgerber).  I like their branding and message “Life is Art, We are the Medium.” I am excited to see their creative spin on t-shirts and strategy to penetrate the much-saturated market.

Michelle Hebert – Dramatic, risqué and ambitious are only a few words to describe Michele’s elaborate (oh there’s another word…elaborate!) lace work.  Madisson Brown, PHXFW Model of the Year 2012, is the obvious and perfect choice to wear this gown.

Proverbs – Selected all the way from Dubai and also in my top 5, Proverbs by Efua Mensah-Brown projects a powerful message with her signature line aiming to make a difference.   Brittany Brown of America’s Next Top Model College Edition Cycle 19 displayed this simple yet confident “fashion with a cause” in ironically complicated world.

Trang Nguyen – Two-toned sleek and minimalist design with a punch of bright red pucker and handbag... very chic and feminine. Is it Trang’s charming personality or the idea of made to order clothes that put her in my top 5 picks? Am curious how Trang moves forward with her vision and sustainability of her line.

There you have it! I am thrilled for these 12 competitors and wish them all the best as they compete for the Designer of the Year 2013 with a cash prize of $10,000.  Each designer gets a chance to showcase its collection during the 9th Annual Phoenix Fashion Week taking place October 1st -5th, 2013. 

Agree or disagree with my selections? Which ones are your favorites? 

Finally, KUDOS to the amazing Phoenix Fashion Week team behind the scene for the successful affair!

Thanks for stopping by.  Get your FASH on and happy styling!


Saturday, June 15, 2013

"Ensemble" is Keepin' it Real

I happen to catch the most energetic, fun and engaging runway event in town earlier this month featuring the new line, "Ensemble" by designer Allie Olson.  Allie and her beautiful models completed its month-long fashion shows and launch parties in her flagship stores in Arizona – Paradise Valley, Prescott, Flagstaff, Sedona and Cottonwood.  Keeping it real, Ensemble clothes are affordable, stylish, and they compliment any body type, length and shape. You MUST WEAR it to believe it!

You will find my full VIP Guest Blogger article about Ensemble here at Allie Ollie Boutique blogsite.

One of my favorite Ensemble piece is the Hot Little Number dress from the Desert Diva collection. I love, love, love the spanx-like lining that is light enough to be discreet yet adequately fit to hold everything firm…genius creation! I would wear it casual with Shawl Dawl fringe shawl for Boho style or by itself, chic and sexy.

Another fave is the  Bling Strap Tunic from the Royal Chic collection that I tried to buy off the runway, however it was a sample piece and was not available for sale then. I was able to try it on in between fashion shows (sshhh!) and finally got my own 2 days ago! I would show it off as is or belted at the beach by day or the club by night. 

Oh, and new look discovered...I can wear it sleeveless too!!!

Check out the intricate prints and strategically placed sparkles on these dresses for easy day to night conversion. And did I not say Bling Strap?! =)

Finally, I almost walked past this Pocket Tunic LBD! Such a great find, this very versatile dress can be worn relaxed as a cover up by the pool or belted and paired with red soles for an elegant look.

I cannot wait to see Allie’s Fall/Holiday 2013 collection launching in October.  For the meantime, enjoy the summer, vacay to the max and get some R&R!

Get your FASH on and happy styling!