StyleWeek Providence has wrapped up after a jam packed week consisting of 17 runway shows, 3 designer installations and an accessory showcase held on the top two floors of the historic Biltmore Providence Hotel, January 22 – 28th. StyleWeek founder and president, Rosanna Ortiz-Sinel, with the hard work and dedication of her loyal team, continues to evolve and improve upon past seasons.
After running back and forth between Boston and Providence to attend as many shows as my schedule would allow, I have finally had an opportunity to catch my breath and recoup. Now for a recap of the week……
StyleWeek Providence hit the ground running with headlining designers who in years past usually closed out the week. Providence based Jessica Abernathy opened the week with her Autumn/Winter collection, inspired by nature, intended for the slopes and après ski scene. In keeping with the theme, she incorporated white fuzzy earmuffs as a headband holding back her models sleek coifs.
Sunday night’s closing designer, Jonathan Joseph Peters, who also serves as creative director for SWP thrilled the crowd with his avant-garde, Zingara Lamina collection which featured layers of colors, textures and jewels. He collaborated brilliantly with accessory brand, House of Cach to bring his vision of a fashion-hungry survivor of a post-apocalyptic, sun baked world to life.
Monday night saw the StyleWeek return of Maria Del Carmen Mercado, a native of the Dominican Republic and graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. Maria’s Fall/Winter collection, entitled Superior, was inspired by and designed for “real women with curves.”
Ironically enough, Maria’s show was followed by the Svelte Sara line from designer Sara Derfus. This was the British born designer’s StyleWeek debut where she presented a collection inspired by the natural grandeur of the National Park System as well as the man-made architecture of Abu Dhabi.
Tuesday night’s presentation was the inaugural StyleWeek student design competition, SEED, which celebrated innovation in design. Sixteen student designers representing the University of Rhode Island, Brown University, RISD, MassArt, the School of Fashion Design and Lasell College, were selected from over 100 applicants to create an innovative piece that explored recycled and sustainable fashion. The young designers were also charged with extending their vision to hair and makeup by collaborating with students from Toni and Guy Hairdressing Academy. Being judged by a panel of industry professionals, Kwong Hui Yee from Mass College of Art walked away with the win.
Midweek we saw Tiverton, RI native Nicole Lebreaux bring back her design philosophy of fit, comfort and movement. Her collection featured organic knit fabric onto which she screen-printed her own drawings. Like her previous collections, Nicole utilized vintage, recycled, surplus and other environmentally friendly fabrics.
Marcel Plante, a recent MassArt grad shook things up and delighted the crowd with his gender bending line of special occasion ensembles from his collection, Doll Boys. The backstage hair and make up team had a blast styling his cast of mostly male models for a show that was inspired by the drag queens and performance artists from Berlin in the 20’s and 30’s.
Thursday night spanned the gamut from the all out glamour gowns and dresses from Israeli born Karen Sabag, featuring intricate beading, feathers and lace, (pictured at the top of the post), to the rebel rock n’ roll looks of Hong Kong native, Candice Wu, which mixed leather, knits and the occasional military accents.
Rounding out the evening was the very ladylike 60’s inspired day to night looks from local girl, Toni Lyn Spaziano with her Chances R line.
Friday night appeared to be a celebration of youth. Beginning with URI senior, Karla Marie who, at only 21 years old, presented her Froze in Chaos collection designed to tell a story of a winter wonderland.
Brianna Moon, who similar to many of her peers; wears multiple professional hats, (fashion designer, blogger and makeup artist) showed her Navigation collection, which was inspired by the 1940s and aviation. Jen Greeke, a Parsons School of Design grad returned to SWP with her Harpy line. Jen’s Double Edge collection was inspired by classic golf styles and casual attire of the late 1930s.
As bleary eyed fashionistas made it out for the seventh straight night out, (I’m sure there were many stiletto shod feet in agony!) the week came to a close.
Sarah Prost, who has shown at every SWP since it’s inception, presented An Ageless Reflection collection inspired by the fountain of youth. With this show, Sarah added crystals and vintage glass buttons to her fabrics for a refreshing mix. She ventured slightly into menswear, which seemed fitting since one of her first collections featured menswear pieces transformed into skirts and dresses.
Peach Carr from Lake Forest, Illinois, returned with her tennis to cocktail dresses. Her line began with more casual pieces and models carrying tennis racquets and ended with sequined halter dresses.
The closing designer was Ben Chmura, a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design (and like Peach Carr, a Project Runway alum). He began his show with a video presentation – very ‘art school film project’ meets ‘music video’. Chmura’s Nibru collection was a sci-fi inspired line of unisex street wear / sports wear. Many of his models donned hoods and dark glasses while others were entirely covered in black head stockings. I guess the hardworking hair and makeup talent got a bit of a breather on this, the final show of the final night of StyleWeek Providence.
Photos courtesy of Tracy Aiguier – www.tracyaiguier.com