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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ramping it up!

Friday night’s fashions at Charlotte Fashion Week were really fabulous!  I was feeling quite marvelous myself. My rolled pin curls that sat for several hours in my hair when pulled out left me with a soft and curly side bun. My make-up went from heavy smoke eyes from the day before to a neutral eye with smudged liner. Now we’re talking!

After my prompt 6 o'clock arrival, I met with Josh, my camera man for the night. So the interviews began.

Soraya Williams is as lovely in stature as she is to look at. She is the President and Chief Executive of Plitzs Fashion Marketing. I met her briefly on Thursday night right after she arrived, barely making it to see the first show. Those tricky flight arrival and departure times…..

Again, I am tall, but some of the women I have encountered the past few days are really tall and lean. Soraya works in New York and does Fashion Week with Plitz Marketing in February. This year they are doing a show pitting model against model and designer against designer. Does the theme sound familiar?

Last night also brought entertainment. The show kicked off with a special guest performance with a young woman named K-RISS and her four back up dancers. Her singing and dancing is hip hop funk and she is all about dancing to the music. She is young and fresh and has already had a seamstress and a jeweler working on her stage designs. Oh, how young they are!

Back to a few other highlights of the evening. Annelise Mann is a designer from the area and showed off her line, Navy and Pearls. She used a lot of sheer and light fabrics and nautical stripes in dresses, skirts and jackets. The garment that most impressed me was the layered white wedding dress with strands of pearls draped over the arms and across the body. Hard visual, but believe me, I was pretty spellbound. I met Annelise at the after party and asked about her inspiration. She believes in women’s empowerment and women being true to themselves and others. Strong women and strong design, but with the pearls to soften. Clever branding, huh?

One of my favorite looks was by designer Megan Waldrep from Charleston South Carolina, of MEW Designs. She did these wild abstract loose stripes of silver and woven white/clear fabric in a pant, worn with a simple tee shirt and heels, and a bolero jacket. She also did shorts. All three items were in the same fabric, but each worn separately and made a statement on their own. I was sold! If I could just rock them! Megan has the personality to match what she does. Clever, sassy and a go-getter! Megan and her best friend Emily Bargeron, a fellow designer, trade off assisting with each other’s shows.

Both women participated in Charleston Fashion week several years ago and were upset when they realized they could not partake again due to a pretty common policy of allowing designers a one time opportunity, so they decided to do their own thing. They have come up with the "unofficial " kick off fashion show for Charleston Fashion Week to raise money and awareness about  autistic children by benefitting Surfer’s Healing (surfershealing.org). Professional surfers work with the children at camps around the world and teach them to surf, as the water has proven to be very therapeutic to kids suffering from autism. Who knew? This show is now professionally run and in its’ fourth year. The gals are thrilled on how it gives them an opportunity to give back to the community and show their designs. Both Jeannie and I will be traveling to Charleston to be a part of the event! No way I'm gonna do the surf board thing......but I will be watching from my beach towel under my umbrella, drinking my favorite adult beverage. AHHHH...

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't talk about Thomas Ruffin, the designer of T.2 Design Group. I know earlier I tweeted out that I was standing next to Usher in a picture. Well, it wasn't actually Usher, but close enough. The white jacket and pants were the designs of Thomas. The one thing that I have found most interesting is the fact that many of the designers have full time jobs and design on the side. Thomas is an elementary teacher and has been designing for years. I loved what he showcased. He had men’s jackets and shirts. Many of the items came out in a similar form for women, and he had a really cohesive line for the show. My absolute favorite item was a dress with a sweetheart neckline, fitted waist and tiered bottom with lots of movement. It was so soft and feminine, but also made me want to go salsa dancing. We better talk to my husband about that. He has seen my two left feet. Anyway, I found myself cheering for Thomas and enjoyed seeing his wares on the runway as much as I enjoyed interviewing and chatting with the camera man he brought down.

A final shout out to Tvsety McAuliffe. Stunning fabrics and some beautiful dresses. I expect we will see much more of her to come. A Bulgarian native, she has a stunning view of fashion, a clearly defined line, and a beautiful aesthetic.

Another wonderful evening, but switching to lower heels for Saturday. My dogs are barking! I even had one security guard ask me how many laps I do a night, in and out of the designers cave, watching the frenzy of it all unfold before me!

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