Story by Jeanne Everett | Photography courtesy of HeadShotsCharleston.com
The fashion village was storming with a variety of well-dressed women and men in their best attire at last night’s kick-off for Charleston Fashion Week. One of the biggest fashion events on the East Coast and the biggest fashion week in the Southeast, the 5-day affair has exploded in recent years with talents emerging from all across the country. Now in its 9th year, Charleston Fashion Week has proved that it’s more than just socializing and dressing up, it is about displaying the wealth of talent in the world of fashion design and showing a new perspective on “Southern” dressing.
Opening night was alive with a great arrangement of aesthetics and innovative gathering, craftsmanship and precision. The Runway was ongoing with local retailers like Bits of Lace Lingerie and Tres Carmen Boutique, but the Emerging Designer competition was the focus of the evening.
Sarah Cannon and Rachel Cannon, two sisters from North Carolina, presented a stand-out collection for their line “Hazel Cole” (after their middle names). Having been raised in a design family (their parents are architects), the duo brings a unique perspective to their fashions, and this collection portrayed a remarkable juxtaposition of glamour and masculinity, featuring a plaid — derived from their family’s Irish tartan — digitally stamped onto silks and mixed with leather, faux fur and wool, creating an utterly superb collection with looks that made you want to be the women travelling down the runway. It’s not surprising they took home the People’s Choice award for the evening.
Menswear designer — and the Emerging Designer winner of the evening — Richelle Valenzuela has an eye for detail and a hand for craftsmanship that he displayed through structured necklines and impeccable pleating. Inspired by scuba gear, the use of fabrics like mesh and Melton wool kept the line wearable.
Featured Designer Anna Toth was also a favorite, presenting her use of striking denims and cottons made in the United States to show us how to wear blue jean rompers and jumpsuits with style. Toth used a very clean and smooth palette, but incorporated her techniques in textiles and dying to create a relatable collection —a black and red plaid dress that was fitted on top with a full skirt was standout.
Afterwards, the party started at STARS Rooftop Bar on King Street followed by an invite-only Bits of Lace Lingerie party. Filled in a gorgeous dimly lit hard wood-floored room, a mixture of designers, models, publishers, journalists and store owners were seen dancing and drinking the night away. The perfect way to end evening one.