Friday night wrapped up the three-day long CIAA fashion event, Mode Noir. As they say, three’s a charm. The black tie finale brought a larger crowd and a longer list of talented designers to the spotlight at the Harvest Center.
Because Mode Noir was more than just a celebration of fashion, the runway was first graced by two ballet dancers from Johnson C. Smith University. Dancing to smooth jazz, the performers set a tone of sophistication for an evening showcase of culture, arts and fashion.
Highlights from the evening included multiple guest appearances, from both the artists and audience. Mr. Rashon Carroway, local lifestyle blogger also known as Mr. Goodwill Hunting, came out to support the fashion cause. A talented self-made fashionista/designer specializing in vintage styling, he has made quite the name for himself, appearing on the Nate Berkus Show and also for designing living spaces in New Jersey, D.C. and New York.
During intermission, I was able to speak with the dapper Carraway to get his take on Mode Noir. “It is great. All the designs are amazing. I think Cloud 9 was one of my favorites so far. And, the fashion here tonight is impeccable. It’s always interesting to see what people wear when it comes down to a fashion show but it's definitely exciting. I’m looking forward to talking to some of the people here and seeing what their inspiration was for the styles they put together,” he said.
Cloud 9 Designs kicked off the show, with a literal focus on the “kicks.” Designer Denise Cloud, who has been featured on The View and has made custom designed shoes for celebs, experienced her first taste of the runway at Mode Noir. Her amazing bedazzled shoes were all one-of-a-kind creations made with Swarovski and AB Crystals, spikes, feathers, pearls and more. Carraway wasn’t the only fan of Cloud 9, the audience went crazy for them, too.
Another popular line from the evening was Nika Formals, the internationally renowned formal women’s line. Models walked to a French song, which was perfectly fitting for the Parisian- like feel of the dresses. From soft pinks to red and shimmery golds, all of the evening dresses possessed a sense of glamour and femininity.
Two local lines, Keaton’s Cupboard and August Brandon, gave the gentlemen in the audience the chance to be fashionably inspired. The Plaza Midwood store Keaton’s Cupboard showed off classic men’s suits with a twist of trendiness in the form of a fluorescent tie and hues of peach. August Brandon showed off both men’s and women’s fashions, which were business-like ensembles diverse enough to take from work to evening functions.
Three renowned designers from the evening included Sergio Hudson, Bryan K. Osburn and Edwing D’Angelo. Hudson, whose designs have been worn by the ladies featured on Real Housewives of Atlanta, showed off a wearable yet edgy line for women. Bryan K. Osburn, whose first fashion gig was working under Vera Wang, has more than 25 years of design experience. His collection consisted of a mix of floor length European inspired gowns in satin and intricate beaded detail.
The show’s finale featured the much anticipated designer based out of New York, Edwing D’Angelo. A favorite designer of Tyra Banks, Lil’ Kim and many other celebrities, featured in numerous publications including the New York Post and has served as the fashion consultant for the BET Music Awards, MTV and more, D’Angelo’s appearance at Mode Noir was a real honor. His futuristic-esque line, mixed fur, leather, and studs to make a high fashion, edgy collection that could be worn, but certainly not by the timid.
In its first year, Mode Noir finished strong during its last night of fashion. Hopefully next year the event will bring even more fashion back to the Queen City during CIAA, but no doubt some of this year’s designers will be tough acts to follow.