Charleston Fashion Week on Tuesday evening

Ah, Charleston Fashion Week. We’ve missed you!

This year Charleston Magazine brought the heat with its largest production to date. The Style Lounge occupies its own tent this year, with a barrage of retailers such as Theodosia Jewelry, Cavortress, Dixie Dunbar Jewelry and Library. A huge DJ booth looms above an enormous bar in the center of the tent, while Alex Rosen of Spaced Invaders continuously cranks out set after set to giddy attendees.

Before the kick off of shows yesterday, the air was electric. Far more media than ever before were milling about, grabbing interviews from Featured and Emerging Designers, alongside CFW staff. Photographers were snapping every inch of the square, creating a hype amongst star struck attendees. Inside, DJ Arthur Bros was suspended (a theme this year?) above the runway, flanked on either side and below with enormous video screens.

Tuesday’s shows were perhaps the most important of the week, focusing on new talent from Emerging Designers. Uriel Zamora opened the show with his pop art inspired collection, working heavily with shape and structure. Next up was Julia Faye’s comprehensive but slightly dull showing, using Native American culture as her muse. Standout lines included Barbara Bush’s gorgeous approach to children’s wear, with beautiful attention to color, consistency, and craftsmanship. Plus it’s too freaking cute. Also notable were Jamie Lin Snider’s looks, inspired by an asymmetrical hoop dress with tassel, and sassy 1950’s Cuban looks from Larika Page.

Unfortunately, I was less inspired by Goga by Gordana, although I give her props for showing Fall 2010 in the manner of traditional show schedules. Her usage of hand knitted items (including fur) was lovely, but the overall look felt too overdone and heavy.

At the end of the evening Barabara Beach, Larika Page and Jamie Lin Snider were chosen as the Top Three Emerging Designer Finalists and given a design challenge to be completed by Saturday. The designers will descend upon The Art Institute of Charleston oveseen by Project Runway’s Logan Neitzel, to craft ten oxford shirts into three looks honoring the memory of Alexander McQueen. The winner will be announced at Saturday's Finale, receiving a free show at CFW 2011, a booth at the Atlanta Apparel Mart, a web site worth $15,000, $1,000 in prize money and $1,000 in sampling and production costs. Not too shabby!

Tonight marks the debut of Featured designer Mychael Knight- the first showing he’s had since Bryant Park. Make sure to tune in for my rundown tomorrow!


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