Nashville Fashion Week's third night was alive with the energy I find so intriguing about this town. Although I'd had a really inspiring experience the night prior, this night proved to be more on point with everything it was trying to accomplish. Major kudos to everyone involved from the adorable male fashionista who helped us find our seats to the black-haired raven in the top balcony cuing each model when it was her turn to take the catwalk.
Over 800 people showed up on what turned into another cold night, this time in East Nashville at an old church parked right beside an even older YMCA. The building was lit in neon green which helped to subdue the question on everyone's mind, "how are they going to do this in this church?" You see, from the outside this place of worship we'd all flocked to to do just that, worship at the throne of the almighty thread, seemed a lot smaller than it actually was.
Once inside...well let's just 800+ people fit rather nicely in the churches velvet cushioned pews. It seemed as if everyone had a great seat, a great view, and a great attitude towards the whole event. It was a happy vibe indeed.
We had bought tickets to avoid the possibility of not getting into what we figured was going to be a full house given the celebrity presence of Christian Siriano, who is not only a brilliant designer but also the lovable and energetic winner from Project Runway Season Four. Turns out, for this night, it actually paid to be press so we switched back over to "the other side." And the crew could not have been nicer -- even to us bloggers who, for the most part, the news world still doesn't take too seriously. Although we weren't allowed entry until well after the non-media masses were warm inside, we were granted fabulous seats (again) -- front pew, steps away from all of the action. The fashion gods are being kind to me this week.
The show opened with Olia Zavozina, a Nashville transplant who creates one-of-a-kind bridal wear and some rather fetching menswear (this says a lot for me -- if you'll remember from my last post, menswear sends me very quickly into a coma). I had actually met Olia a few months after moving to Nashville at a trunk show and been very impressed with her work. I loved her color palette then -- all dove grey, white, and bone -- and I loved it for this show. She's also quite lovely herself, a gorgeous Russian blond with a lot of skill -- who can resist that? Here are some shots of her line:
Next in line was Cooper by Courtney Warren. Warren, a Texas native, has a goal: to create a dress line that makes all women feel sexy and beautiful. (She must be nailing the sexy part; as I write, sitting in the children's section of the library, writing as my son plays educational games on the library computer, the powers that be are blocking me from viewing her site due to "adult content").
Anyway, I found it endearing that Courtney named all of her pieces after family and friends who have supported her through her fashion venture. Having always wanted to design myself, I can't tell you how instrumental the support of those around you is being that fashion is the greatest financial/business risk you can take these days.
As for the line itself, I thought a lot of the pieces were very cute, completely wearable and super girly. I did have one question though: who were her dressers? Sadly, a number of frocks came down the runway with undergarments in full view and dress-hangers, well, hanging out. It was a bit distracting. But the girls, below, literally walked it off and the error was soon forgotten.
The next designer, a local, really REALLY made me want to break out the checkbook. Just about ever piece by White Rabbit designer Shea Steele had my heart and mind racing. The line is a veritable triumph of uber-romantic shapes in completely unexpected color combinations. I loved the clothes, loved the styling, loved it all. It really was an unforgettable part of the entire show.
Sadly, since I was not in the most opportune place for optimum photo taking, I don't have much to show. I did find this teaser online but I highly recommend you click through to her viewbook; her pieces are quite seductive.
Union of Angels by Cynthia Bapst showed next and while I didn't know much about the line at the time, you could tell it had been around while given the impeccable tailoring of each piece. Her bio says that she drew from her Virginia background equestrian details mixed with a hip boho chic spin. Well, you certainly can see the equestrian -- which no doubt will translate well to the Nashville celebrity set, a group she has been working with on styling through the various record labels that line Music Row.
I was a little confused by the different genres represented in this collection though; the last look smacked of 1950's Marilyn Monroe-esque inspiration with a Jackie O. modesty. Coupled with the heavily embellished jackets and riding boots, I wasn't sure which direction my mind was meant to go in.
Last, but certainly and by far, not least was fashion darling Christian Siriano. Dress after dress, model after model, there wasn't one thing I did not love. And seeing it in person after "covering it from afar" after the collection paraded down the runway at New York Fashion Week was an incredible experience I can only liken to seeing famous paintings for the first time after only having ever seen them in books. Thank you, Mr. Siriano, for coming down to our "neck of the woods" and igniting a fire in a room full of people who are absolutely sold on the church of your clothing.
What beauty, what skill. When I think about what will happen to the House of Dior and how replacing a genius like he-who-shall-not-now-be-named, I immediately think of Siriano. His skill is reminiscent of earlier Galliano -- pieces that now reside behind museum-grade plexiglass while fashion students near and far line up to drool longingly. He's young, yes, but he definitely was given a gift and I am truly excited to see where he will be 20 years from now. His career will no doubt be long and fruitful not to mention set in the history books of fashion.
My favorites....they simply make me swoon; the impact of these pieces in person, breathtaking:
While my real job kept me from attending the last two days of Nashville Fashion Week, I will still cover those designers shortly. I'm thrilled to have been a part, although in such a small way, of such a big week for our city. And anything I can do to help promote/support local talent, I'll certainly do -- now and for as long as you will entertain me.
I was able to see Kelly Cutrone at the Belcourt Theatre, who not only was promoting her books but was also promoting this event, but I'll catch you up on that later probably in an "Ode to Kelly" blog. She, too, is divine and I am quite certain I adore her.