Having experienced New York Fashion Week a number of times, both in back of house production as well as a seated guest, I must say that I rather enjoyed attending Charleston Fashion Week (CHSFW) this past weekend.
The city of Charleston is alluring within itself, what with the beautiful homes, historical sights, gardens and spectacular food. Plus, the view of the Charleston Harbor on a clear day is simply stunning. Take all of that and add to it the excitement of fashion, and it's no doubt a winning combination.
What better introduction to my CHSFW experience than to hob-knob with all the other stylish VIPs? The Chris Benz event and truck show at Hampden on King Street proved to be an opportunity to do more people-watching than I have since the last time I was in NYC. My "fashionista in crime" Joy Randall and I spotted Mychael Knight (Project Runway Season 3) and I had the opportunity to chat it up with a true fashion icon, Fern Mallis. So, I'm thinking, if the widely credited creator of NYFW is here, CHSFW must be on point.
Following the VIP event and before making our way to "the tents," we took a leisurely stroll down King Street. I fell in love with one very SOHO-esque boutique called Worthwhile and the visit inside was certainly that. With everything from Christian Lacroix notebooks to flowy fabrication dresses with leather trim, this store was quite impressive to say the least.
In fact, many of Charleston's local shops were very intriguing. I spotted this unique creation in one of the boutique windows. Oh, how I love creativity!
Shopping and window browsing complete, we made our way to the Style Lounge Pre-Party, held in one of the tents at Marion Square, sponsored by smartwater. Inside, there were lots of fashionable folks having a good time, enjoying the vendors, networking and definitely hanging out at the bar. I mean, what's a fashionable night out without a few cocktails?
The runway shows began at just around 7:30 p.m., and before the "Rock the Runway" model competition and the emerging designer collections were presented, we were treated with a viewing of my newest, most favorite independently owned store, Gwynn's of Mt. Pleasant. Check out this video of the models' final walk:
The emerging designers' work gave a glimpse into the type of talent CHSFW looks for when selecting the semi-finalists. Presenting on this night were Keely Lauren Cansler, Emily Pollard, Ashley Newsome, Shelly Lucille Smith and Hannah Goff. Some of these extremely talented designers gave us classic looks while others went avant garde, but each had their own personal perspective on fashion. Here's my pick for one of the most "interesting" looks of the evening. The face plate is intriguing, don't you agree?
From a production standpoint, the shows looked professional, the lighting and staging was awesome and the front-of-house set up gave me a big city fashion appeal. I wasn't as impressed with the models as I would have liked; however, I really love how the city of Charleston showed its support for the event and seemed to rally together to present the common goal of highlighting fashion and style. Markets smaller than NYC don't always get it right in that department, and events become more about the creators than the fashion itself. But Charleston certainly gets it and sets an fabulously stylish example.