It's that time of year again! Downtown Bellevue puts on a fancy dress and gets runway-ready for this year's Fashion Week at the Bellevue Collection. This year's lineup added a whole new event to the runway schedule, the Independent Designer Runway Show, featuring several local designers, including a new collection by Lisa Vian Hunter, who competed on NBC's Fashion Star series. This was more than an opportunity to showcase independent designers' works -- the collections were chosen by a panel of fashion experts from Seattle Met, Les Egoistes, Pstyle Image Consulting, Fashion Group International and The Bellevue Collection. They paired down the list of many talented local designers to a small handful, and from those who presented their collections at the Independent show, a single designer was chosen as the recipient of a grant to help support them and get them closer towards their design dream. The winner is noted below, but give all the designers their due by admiring at their work!
I thought it was a great opportunity to show something beyond what you can buy in a store. Beyond clothing, it was ideas and concepts that were being shown on a runway, where these designers' creativity would like to take fashion towards the next level. The thing that struck me was the use of different materials and a lot of hand-done detailing, something that you don't get from mass-market items, and a reminder to appreciate and support one-of-a-kind fashion, as it truly is art you can wear.
These are some favorite shots from each of the designers' collection - it was a mix of clothing as well as accessories. Stay tuned for more posts -- I'm taking photos at every evening show for Fashion Week and editing/posting as fast as I can!
Lizzie Parker: nicely-draped, simple pieces. Asymmetrical collars and surprising details like the open back on the turtleneck. Great for showcasing statement jewelry and easily mixing/matching pieces in an existing wardrobe.
Ampersand As Apostrophe by Jessica Park: handbags and accessories designer; simple pieces that have complex details, like the open zipper shoulder strap seen on the first photo. Different mix of materials and hardware, it gives the pieces a modern, urban feel.
Built for Man by Francisco Hernandez: familiar and popular local designer; the pieces are very tailored and for the style-forward urban dweller. The mix of patterned sweaters and leather pants - very edgy combination.
Masha Osoianu Design by Masha Osoianu: embrace the stretch-fringe! Very textural and unique, the pieces have a mix of tribal and flapper. The detail gives pieces a delicate quality that really adds movement to the wearer as they walk.
Carole McClellan by Carole McClellan: this designer was the panelists' choice for the "best in show" prize. She exhibited designs for both men and women, and she integrates reclaimed materials, like vintage furs, for new pieces. Her collection was luxe with a touch of the theatrical, with designs named as characters and personalities - a reminder that a runway show is truly performance art.
KateS Mensah by Kate Mensah: feminine with an edge; this was probably my personal favorite collection, mostly for details like the high, asymmetrical collar and the cut-open front in the jumpsuit. The color palate was nicely unified, you could picture the designs translated in other hues, but for a collection to make a statement, this one stood out to me with a lot of beautiful, wearable pieces.
Anne Sylvain by Patricia Raskin: handbags, clutches, totes that embrace a "wild" side, using a mix of different materials like ostrich and alligator, mixed with camel. Very textural, with several pattern-dyed pieces. The way of showcasing the handbags was very unique -- tricky for a runway show, but they made sure you focused on the accessories.
Bd Homme by Banchong Douangprachanh: classic menswear, ranging from suits to business/casual. Subtle knit patterns that are interesting and elegant, but not distracting if you're not trying to make a loud style statement. These were pieces I could see my Mister and many other male friends wearing with comfort and ease.
La Belle Reve by Olga Szwed: the most formal gowns of the show, this was the only designer to have a bridal collection. The bright lights doesn't do the detailing justice, but there's a lot of hand-done detailing, layering material and adding unusual elements like feathers. She had a pink feathered gown on display in the lobby that was truly a showcase piece.
Lisa Vian Hunter: the finale collection, it was a great first look at her spring collection. Bright neons paired with retro shapes, there was a refreshing look to all the pieces that made you even more sad to see the summer leave us! But oh, those neon heels -- I would happily wear those even in the chill of winter!
Jaunty Fine Print: photography by Denise Sakaki, designers listed above