Phoenix Fashion Week at the Talking Stick Resort 2012- Day 3

Day three of Phoenix Fashion Week was the culmination of the shows. Designers include: SJ Couture, Bel Kazan, Enzoani, Élevée and the much anticipated Furne One was the finale for the established designers. The emerging designers included: Bri Seeley, Envy by Khanh, Italia Rocks Couture and Suzanne Lay. Again, they are also competing for that $10,000 prize package. The winner was also announced that night. So, without further ado…..

The first established designer of the evening was bridal wear from local Phoenix brand-SJ Couture. The brand was launched in 2009 by Jeanne Hankerson, who creates beautiful gowns for that special day that are contemporary, yet have a very vintage edge. Her gowns are high-quality and are trusted to be handed down in years to come. Brides-to-be and other ladies who would like to look further into SJ Couture, please check out sjcouture.com.

Next up was yet another Los Angeles brand- Bel Kazan, recently launched by Belinda Kazanci. Belinda grew up in Istanbul, Turkey and was raised in a family of seamstresses and designers. Both sets of her Grandparents owned textile shops filled with rich Turkish textiles. So you can imagine that with that amount of creative talent in her genes; she has since flourished, creating a lovely collection of printed maxi and knee-length dresses that are a reminiscent of her rich background. Belinda’s S/S 13 is titled “Wings” because of the fabric’s insect wing design and that she had spent many hours on an airplane, traveling the world, while pulling the collection together. The prints on the dresses resemble the natural elements we sometimes come across in the environment, such as: moss, forests, trees, wings and tides. She was also inspired while on a recent trip to Portland, where she picked up a vintage piece that took her into a more romantic, soft, feminine yet bold approach to the collection. “Inspiration flows in abundance all around us and sometimes its about keeping our eyes open to discover something we never imagined could become the key component in creating a collection.” For further information, please check out belkazan.com.

Global brand-Enzoani showcased a mixture of cocktail and floor-length evening wear from the ‘LOVE by Enzoani’ and ‘Enzoani Black Label.’ Both collections offered flattering silhouettes with a modern European flair. The ‘Black Label’ collection, however is more of an heirloom quality collection; offering more luxurious fabrics, exquisite textures and appealing design details. Since the company’s launch back in 2005, they have been known for their innovative and quality design. Check out enzoani.com for further details!

The first emerging designer that evening was Bri Seeley. I was fortunate to have met her a couple years back during MAGIC and have been a fan of her line ever since. This time around, her latest collection was no different; showcasing ethereal halter dresses in semi-sheer ombres and solids and separates with retro silhouettes. Bri explained to me that the collection was the definition of ‘escape.’ Fashion has always been a away for her to escape the everyday drone of a day job. She found most of her inspiration through vintage 50s patterns she got from her Grandmother. She usually pulls out the patterns periodically and updates them to be more modern. In other news, Ms. Seeley is also the winner of the ’2012 Emerging Designer of the Year!’ Huge congratulations are in order for her. The collection will soon be available on zappos.com.

Envy by Khanh was the next emerging brand of the evening. Designer Khanh Nguyen’s dresses exuded asymmetrical lines, geometric shapes and bold color-blocking, all while tastefully catering to womens greatest assets. According to Nguyen, “I would like to think that I am taking color blocking to the extreme by taking the usual dual color combo and branching into a triad of colors. I think I have a strong focal point in each dress that I design on both the front and back…My goal is to design dresses that make women feel confident, attractive, and sexy. My irresistible pieces for women create lust in the opposite sex and envy in the same sex. “Make them feel it” is the tagline for ENVY by Khanh, since the goal is to make other women feel envious of you when you’re wearing one of my dresses.” Throughout his whole fashion career, Khanh has always had the support of his partner Tom and his parents and he is also thankful for the wonderful support by the folks of Phoenix Fashion Week to help him further launch his line, etc. In five years, he hopes to have his own wholesale company in Phoenix and have retail stores around the world. His parting advice to people wanting to delve into the fashion business, “Never give up on your dream! Stay very focused on your goal and always be prepared to launch any new collection at any given time.” For further details on the brand, go to envybykhanh.com.

Phoenix-based gown brand Italia Rocks Couture presented floaty and whimsical gowns that brought out my inner princess. The line was launched in 2009 by Natalia Acosta. Acosta, originally from Mexico and moved to Phoenix fourteen years ago to pursue her career in fashion design has since created over two hundred hand-sewn one-of-a-kind evening gowns. She credits most of her inspiration in the works of Ralph Rucci, Elie Saab and Roberto Cavalli. Her collection has been seen on Miss Arizona and in numerous runway shows in Scottsdale. Italia Rocks Couture is on Facebook.

Suzanne Lay hails from St. Louis, Missouri and launched her brand in Spring of 2009. Suzanne designs separates that are can be easily mixed with other pieces from the collection or with pieces from the wearer’s own closet. The label is known for bright, bold colors with a rocker-chic vibe that is still subtle enough that cosmopolitan, adventurous woman. Suzanne explains that she designs more for a lifestyle, an attitude or a look, instead of a specific person…which allows them to reach a broader market. Her Spring 2013 collection was titled “Love Burns Deep.” Lay goes into detail, “The idea behind the collection was finding strength in heartache. I use music and trials and tribulations that either my close friends, family members or myself are going through for inspiration. It allows me to get to a deeper level and truly put my heart and sole into my work. For this collection two of my friends were going through hard breakups/heart aches in channeling that it took be back to my own heart aches that I have personally gone through. Paired with the right music I was able to go to a deeper level with the designing. I created multiple pieces that can be matched up various ways. Bold, strong pieces that were still romantic with our rocker chic vibe.” I’m a huge fan of the dainty separates that came in rich hues of blue, yellow and red during the first part of the showing. There were a couple looks that came out layered, but when the model reached the end of the runway, she threw off the layers, revealing a more glamorous dress or swimsuit underneath. I guess metaphorically, it was her friend going through the trials, but then overcoming and triumphing through it. But either way you look at it, it’s quite fascinating. Tucson handbag designer-Giulia Castellini pairs her exquisitely crafted handbags with Suzanne’s collection on the runway. For information on both collections, please go to castellinidesign.com and suzannelay.com.

The last menswear line of the evening was Los Angeles-based Élevée. Élevée is a sophisticated line that provides custom tailored garments for men and is made right here in the US. They offer clothing for all events in life; such as business meetings, golf, vacations, formal/day/night events. Loved the use of blazers with hoodies, retro 80s-inspired bow ties on the tuxedos and mixing of prints and solids. Check out elevee.com for further details.

The Furne One showcase was the most anticipated of the PHXFW shows. Furne One is known internationally for his ‘have you on the edge of your seat’ runway shows; but also for his elaborate creations, seen on Katy Perry, Shakira, Nicki Minaj and others. Furne presented a spectacular show of thirty-one garments, including pieces from his Amato Couture line. The collection was inspired by Dutch exotic dancer/courtesan/spy during WWI- Margaretha Geertruida “Margreet” Zelle or Mata Hari as her stage name was called. One goes in further to explain, “I got inspired by her life. Her strength. Her being mysterious, her being a seductress, a courtesan and her liberation. Her strength and the mystery behind her gave me the inspiration when I was designing this collection…My target audience for that particular collection was people who listen to my stories, people who understand my vision. In this collection I use spikes because it symbolizes strength.” It was such an honor to be able to see this collection in person, as I was pretty bummed I had missed it during past Los Angeles fashion weeks. One also tells me that his eclectic brand as a whole is comprised of a bit of everything, from vintage, Victoria, Art Deco to Cosmic Wiccan with a smidge of neo-Gothic influence. All that plus the embellishment just works as a cohesive whole. To me, this collection was very powerful dramatic. Loved the gowns and headwear. Would I wear Furne One to an event? Hell yes! If Mr. One would let me! America’s Next Top Model- Raina Hein closed the show in a jaw dropping, structured, embellished leotard with dramatic detachable cape. You all know the drill, check out furneone.com!

Well…that is all! Until next year anyway. I really want to thank Britton and Will again; Brian, Lauren and the rest of the PHXFW crew- you guys are awesome and ‘made it happen’ in more ways than one. I also want to thank Yelp Phoenix for the helpful log-in lounge, for Julia and Brian at Massage Envy, The Talking Stick Resort for the usage of your space and the parking lot shuttles were a godsend! There were a couple late nights that I didn’t want to walk too far in my heels alone in the parking lot and you guys saved the day! To my Phoenix blogger friends (new and old), it was great seeing you all again! Love you Phoenix- muah!!!!

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