by Erin Perkins
Cold temperatures threatened to ruin everyone’s evening, but the crowds at Friday night of Charleston Fashion week surged. It was an excuse to bring out the furs and leather to keep yourself warm.
The first retailer presentation was from Gwynn’s of Mt. Pleasant. They chose to accentuate their show with a live gospel choir dressed in white robes. It was a rather amusing dichotomy that their first look was a leather clad swimsuit model wearing a giant gold cross necklace — we were reminded of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” video. The retailer did a fabulous job of presenting what they have in store in an interesting and thoughtful manner.
V2V, the second retailer, trotted out a show of boho chic and '70s styles that any College of Charleston co-ed is sure to snap up.
Emerging designer Mary Katherine Schweitzer told the audience she wanted to show a futuristic and experimental look. What followed was an interesting mix of neoprene foam, fringe, and leather. The clashing combination of textures made for a presentation that we all closely scrutinized — mostly because we all wanted to feel the fabrics for ourselves. While the looks weren’t entirely wearable, they did keep us entertained.
Siobhan Murphy, from Charleston, said she imagined an Autumn trip to the English countryside to a house full of demented ballerinas for her collection. We collectively braced ourselves for a wild show. However, it was more demure than the description. Murphy likes to work with tutus, but we much preferred everything else in her collection not covered in tulle. Rich velvet jackets with interesting pleating and full-length silk gowns would be welcome in any socialite’s closet. Bowler hats, black eyes, and a droog in a tutu nodded to “A Clockwork Orange” and brought together the “demented” aspect of her presentation. Murphy would go on to win the judge’s choice for the evening.
The Rock the Runway model competition broke up the emerging designer shows and we all cheered for our favorites. Makenna Reeder and James Hong would later go on to win.
We could easily see Hope Wallace’s collection on the streets of Charleston. She intended the white, yellow, and blue color blocking to give an art deco feel, but we saw it more as a coastal look — the white short shorts and jacket combo was a perfect summer fête by the pool outfit. The audience must have thought the same as they voted her for the people’s choice winner for the evening.
Kendra Duplantier showed our favorite look for the evening. Her final look was an asymmetrical jumper with one sleeve and half-covered in a lightweight skirt, which reinforced the pants under the dress trend we’ve been seeing in editorials for the spring. Her looks showed a minimalist approach to dressing that we think would be popular with a more mature client. Leathers, light blue fabrics (was that silk or denim?), and a muted palette came together for a cohesive and sophisticated collection.
Roz Morris talked about ice caves, John Singer Sargent, medieval armor, and “art come to life” in her video and her presentation that followed was just as convoluted. Fabrics resembling chain maille, tie-dyed skirts, and leathers created some clashing looks. The shape of Morris’ gowns were lovely, but the fabric choice was too jarring for us.
The featured designer of the evening was Antonio Azzuolo. He showed his Spring 2013 menswear collection. We were most interested in how he changed the typical three-piece suit by draping the vest into something that almost resembled a robe. We also applaud his decision to use female models to rock a few of his looks.
We didn’t see the same maturity from the emerging designers on Friday as we did on Thursday. There were a few too many unfinished hems and crooked seams among the looks, but we’ll be interested to see what they’ll be showing in the years to come.
Find photos from the night here.