Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer in Space

photo by Caitlin Donnelly, June 2009

The West 18th Street Fashion Show took place on Saturday, June 5. In order for designers to partake in the show, applicants were required to submit material; the chosen designs were premiered on an outdoor stage located on 18th Street, between Baltimore Street and Wyandotte Street. As I approached the block, hundreds of spectators greeted me. Ushers dressed in all white clothing and pink headbands were busy answering questions and checking the tickets required for the seated VIP section. I nestled myself alongside the roped-off area somewhere near the middle and anxiously waited for the show to begin.

The fashionable 'guide' took the stage a few minutes after 8--at dusk. Admittedly, I had trouble concentrating on the guide's introductory explanation and welcome because I was so distracted by her super-sporty, neon patterned, lace-up heels! (I have been eye-ing a similar pair of pumps designed by Diesel.)

An onslaught of space-age fashion kept the catwalk lively. Models adorned with head-gear-like jewelry, texture-rich jumpsuits, and green body paint were nothing out of the ordinary.

Some of my favorite collections:

Shannon Bailey:
Bailey's designs are feminine and chic, and her tailoring is flattering. She incorporates bold, classic colors--like a cheery yellow with a fresh blue denim, and her color choices are modernized with splashes of metallic. Some of her pieces have a nautical feel. For example, one of my favorites from Bailey was a white and blue patterned dress adorned with an oversized silver bow on one side between the neck and shoulder. The contrasting textures incorporated into her collection, along with the range of dress shapes, also ranked Bailey's clothing up with my favorites.

Julie Potraz and Rebecca Taylor:
This collection was a refreshing interpretation of accessible, urban, modern clothing. Looks included tailored, textured mini-skirts paired with equally textured tops. Geometric patterns were incorporated into the collection (for example, one skirt had blocks of metallic gold and silver). Tulle dresses in a soft lavender colors intermingled with more sculptured, form-fitting apparel. My favorite piece? A gold short-suit with 3 simple buttons down the center. These designs acknowledge the future but don't close the door on right now--the designers created practical shapes and let their color choice, pattern, and attention to detail slowly ease the audience into a temporary comfort zone that prepares them for fashion to come.

Jessy Bergman:
Bergman's featured collection emphasized shape. The designer effortlessly incorporated difficult metallic sheen and interesting texture into many pieces. Sculptural tops and skirts had uniquely placed ruffles and gathers. The clothes had a terrifc balance--volumunous collars matched full hems. And, although I am nervous to take on the recent bare-midriff trend, one model wore a piece stomach-revealing ensemble by Bergman that was sexy, confident, and fun.

Other favorites:
Sara Emami--
Emami's designs emphasized the clothing as a collection. Pleated skirts had volume without being too bulky. Emami's color palette was fresh and her silhouettes crisp.

Joscelyn Himes--
Short metallic dresses were surprisingly sweet. The reflective, edgy colors were transformed by the soft fabrics and beautiful pleats.
A one-shouldered dress was balanced by the volume of gathers on the opposite side.

Their fitted, rainbow body-con dress did it all for me. The technicolor was divine.

For more information regarding this show, links to designer profiles, photos, and more, visit

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