by Susan Cohen
Friday night at Charleston Fashion Week was, to put it tastefully, not as exciting as one would have hoped. Brace yourself: I’m about to get catty.
The night began with Teal. The Madonna soundtrack was taken very seriously, with the models donning leg warmers, lace gloves, and even Farrah hair (and yes, I’m aware that trend is from a different decade). In my opinion, hot pink leggings have no place on a real runway, but there they were. Some of the outfits were cute, but the collection felt mismatched and things just didn’t look expensive (even though I’m sure they are in the store). Mary Mojo was next, and it is pretty clear that I’m not this store’s target demographic. Most of the models aged just wearing the clothes; maybe I’ll want to take a second look when I’m 10 or 15 years older. Meanwhile, Biton actually started with a girl in a white t-shirt and jeans — which didn’t seem appropriate for a store that was described as “fashion forward” in the video shown immediately prior to its show. This didn’t seem like fashion; it was just clothing.
I had hope for the second half of the evening, and my interest was initially piqued by La Roque’s pieces, which meshed well together. Though it didn’t appeal specifically to my tastes, it at least had some sass to it, and one navy blue dress in particular was adorable. But then V2V let me down. Let’s just say it was very appropriate to choose Ke$ha as the runway music. The collection had very few high points that were negated entirely by the lows. Some models wore crowns of flowers that looked completely out of place with their outfits. We weren’t at a maypole dance. There were even times when — dare I say it — things just looked trashy.
But Gwynn’s definitely gets kudos for truly putting on a show. When the first model walked out in a white one-piece bathing suit with a feathered shrug, the audience knew this collection would be different. It kept to a theme of colors, with a palatte of white, gold, and maroon. Pieces ranged from elegant to edgy, and there was finally some entertainment value for the audience: boobs for the men, pecs for the women, and New Order for me.
The featured designer for the evening was Ashley Reid, showing her Clewis Reid line. The collection was simple and subtle, composed of short dresses and rompers in a beautiful color scheme of coral, magenta, and a pale green. They weren’t particularly structured, but the outfits still managed to appear flattering. My favorite detail was the netting seen of the pieces; it was a surprise that turned what could have been boring into something unique and desirable. Reid is a past emerging designer and currently teaches at the Art Institute of Charleston; at the end of her show, she humbly brought out the students that helped her accomplish what we saw tonight.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the completion of the Emerging Designers contest. So until then, I’ll retract my claws. (For now.)
Check out Austin Nelson's slideshow below, and for even more pictures go to our Flickr.