Austin Fashion Week 2013 at La Zona Rosa

Austin’s fifth annual fashion week (AFW) this year consisted of three days of runway shows and a pop-up marketplace. The shows were held at La Zona Rosa- a music venue located in the Warehouse District of downtown Austin. Unfortunately, this year I was only able to attend one night of events…but that night culminated all the Austin designers that participated in NBC’s Fashion Star and Project Runway, plus some past AFW faves. Upon entering the venue, guests were able to browse a pop-up shop set up by Gilt City and shop the marketplace inside. Vendors this year included: my favorite Austin jewelry designer- Jeannie Vianney, Cynthia Bloom Jewelry, Crystal4U, Andrea Montgomery Designs, Cindy Schulze Jewelry and Hari Mari.

There were eight shows on the final and most-anticipated night of AFW runways and marketplace and it’s my pleasure to introduce them to you:

The first show consisted of whimsical, retro-inspired and fun looks that have been a huge hit in the city of Austin- Crowned Bird. Crowned Bird is the brainchild of Priscilla Barroso and was just recently launched in Fall of 2012 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Priscilla likes of think of her brand as a cross between if Zooey Deschanel and Audrey Hepburn had a style child- it would be Crowned Bird. The brand is made entirely in Dallas using sustainable or deadstock materials that she finds throughout the world. Priscilla makes everything in limited quantities and takes pride knowing that the wearer will have comfort knowing that not everyone will be wearing the same thing. Priscilla further explains, “Crowned Bird is a trans-seasonal brand that can transcend beyond trends and continue to make a statement in any era, any country, and season. I wanted to make clothes that you can wear forever. It’s a brand that you will never find on the racks of Buffalo Exchange. And I’m proud of that.” Austin Fashion Week was her first runway show since being on NBC’s Fashion Star and was a very symbolic evening for her. She showcased looks like the ‘trout skirt'(which was a fan favorite), then transitioned to Spring and finally presented highlights from the Fall 2013 “Dream Pop” collection. I enjoyed seeing the whimsical novelty prints and bold colors. Even though I would love to have one of everything in my closet, I especially LOVED the plaid suit and the orange slice two piece ensemble (I mean who WOULDN’T want to wear orange slice printed pants or top?!)! The collection screamed Spring, hints of vintage influence and strong versatility and wearability that can be transitioned from season to season. If you want to own a piece of Crowned Bird history, I promise it won’t break the bank at prices ranging from $60 to $250.

The next show was Three07, a flirty and feminine brand that is based in Birmingham, Alabama. The brand officially launched in 2010 and was founded by April Moore, Melissa Grimes & Courtni Tyre-who all shared similar passions for fashion and southern values. According to April on becoming a team, “We each have our individual styles, but three07 is our outlet to create pieces that we otherwise would not have created on our own. Together we create an easy ‘look’ that many women can wear. Three heads are better than one!” Their Summer 2013 collection that they showcased during AFW was titled “Bohemian Romance,” in which flowy silhouettes, cute prints and crochet textures played a significant role to create an effortless and fresh vibe. They also threw in some white and orange looks from their “Fall Gameday” collection in honor of local UT fans. I loved the blue off-shoulder maxi dress and printed shorts and pants-which I think are a MUST in upcoming hot Summer months. This brand is also light on the wallet with prices ranging from $40 for tops and up to no more than $80 for dresses. For more information and to see what stores Three07 is sold, go to or check out their online boutique at

There was another southern-based brand in the house that evening- Pearl Southern Couture. The ‘proudly made in the USA’ brand was launched in 2008 by Amber Perley- who was inspired by the charm and culture of the deep south and wanted to create a line to convey that lifestyle. Amber explained that every collection tells a story and is inspired by a different southern city or person. Her inspiration for her Spring 2013 collection was candy, along with Bow Wow Wow’s 1982 hit “I Want Candy,”which was also featured in the Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. After combining all those properties, she concluded that it would make for a great runway show…and it was. The song was catchy and upbeat, mixing with perky models in darling dresses, tops and shorts; flaunting sunglasses and giant lollipops. The brand is perfect for the gal wanting to look chic but doesn’t want to break the bank, with prices ranging from $50-230 retail. Also, catch Amber on Fashion Star!

I first saw Lisa Vian Hunter’s collection during AFW last year and have been a fan ever since. Lisa owns a boutique in Seattle and has her line manufactured here in the USA. She also appeared on Fashion Star during season one. Lisa’s Spring 2013 collection consisted of 50s and 60s inspired dresses, tops and skirts. Lisa scours the world (notably Belgium and Italy) for modern and fun fabrics to create beautiful and effortless clothing that women will want to wear season after season. My faves from the collection were the techno and green print ‘Ava’ dresses (inspired by 1958) and the plaid ‘Suzy’ dresses because they are chic and have a vintage and timeless silhouette. I applaud the Vian Hunter brand for its wearability and versatility for everyday living. Be sure to look out for her bridal collection that will be debuting later this year. Average price points for the collection range from $195-395. Check out for additional information.

After the intermission, we had the pleasure of being introduced to RVN- a brand that is currently being sold locally at Young and Fabulous in the Hill Country Galleria. RVN was launched in 2011 by designer Ted Kim and is inspired by the creativity and pulsating art, music and fashion vibes of New York City. It is explained that RVN’s collections “are the street art to the backdrop of an urban landscape sizzling with creativity: where dreams are made, stars are born, and where rules are made to be broken.” I loved the flare dresses, especially the black/white striped one. I thought that the bodycon dresses were tasteful and the patterns were thoroughly executed to flatter the body. Prices range from $175-475 and you can find out more information on the RVN Facebook page.

The next Fashion Star designer I’m going to introduce is another Austin favorite- Ross Bennett. Bennett is very well-known in the Austin fashion scene and is also seen wearing a signature tailoring suit, gloves and bow tie. Upon observing the fashion scene during Austin Fashion Week, I just want to point out that AFW founder- Matt Swinney’s wife Kara looked stunning in a custom dress by Ross. The Ross Bennett Collection was launched in 2008 by Ross and his wife-Erin. Their main endeavor is to create classic, custom tailored garments that fit into the modern lifestyle, while also maintaining a Southern influence. As Bennett states, “As the business grows, my team and I are adamant about providing a personalized experience for each and every client. We believe clothing should be recognized as a piece of art, with each piece having its own story to tell. Providing our clients with classic, versatile sense of style that can be worn for decades we are building the next great American fashion empire, ‘getting things done, one stitch at a time.’” Ross’s AFW collection was titled, “The Classical Chaos” and was inspired by he and his wife’s fast-paced lifestyle. Ross breaks it down for LAFashionsnob, “The creative drive that as an artist I need to be able to hone into came from the juxtapositions of wanting a calm environment but having a “hustle and bustle” of a life. I drew comfort knowing that great designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent created some of their best work when their lives were utterly turned up-side-down. I wanted to move away from the traditional Ross Bennett Collection look of pretty and everyday to a more sensuous and daring look.” The collection maintained a general cohesiveness, staying in tune with neutrals while adding bold highlights, such as red and gold. The story that was being conveyed was that of an individual going from the office to a lunch out with friends to a red carpet event in the evening. I am a fan the black/gold hi/low dress and the gold (very Studio 54-inspired in my opinion) strapless dress. Bennett strives to maintain a classic, yet youthful feel for his brand so that women a variety of ages {“forward enough for a college woman but conservative enough for a mom”} are able to wear it. Prices for the collection range from $300 for skirts for $3,000 for an evening gown. They also offer custom bridal gowns and one-of-a-kind pieces. Bennett is also working with Blue Avocado, designing their mens 2013 American Designer Series. That line will be available on soon. He is also a part of the annual Texas Bow Tie Day. For additional information and to shop the collection, go to

After viewing her collection during SxSW, I was really excited to learn that Lilly Lorraine was showing during Austin Fashion Week. As I had viewed the same collection during SxSW, seeing it on the runway that evening just made it love it even more. Austin-based Lilly Lorraine was launched in March 2012 by Christi Craven during Style X (SxSW), where she received rave reviews for two garments that she designed and created a textile for, called BAMBLI. Craven explains that “this unique textile utilizes both the soft texture and breath-ability of bamboo, and the warmth of wool to make wonderfully comfortable and stylish winter ensembles.” The technique she used still has a patent pending and the name BAMBLI is in the process of being trademarked. The Fall 2013 collection is called “Rendezvous in the Moonlight” and is inspired by “the neutral tones and textures revealed by the moonlight upon the beauty of the earth’s natural architecture. Surprises revealed by the cast of a moonbeam or gust of wind reveals color, texture and flowing movement that awakening the sense of romance beyond the night’s shadows.” All I really have to say is that this blogger is a fan of everythinnggggg in the collection! Lilly Lorraine has since been worn on Grammy Winner Esperanza Spalding, The Bachelor’s Kacie Boguskie, singer Teresa Williams and Susan Walker. They have also been featured in numerous local and national publications. For more information and to pre-order garments (prices range from $150-1,200), please go to

The finale show for the evening was awarded to Daniel Esquivel-whom you may know from watching season 11 of Project Runway. Daniel’s passion for fashion started at an early age and has since blossomed into a burgeoning career, as he’s been designing Austin’s elite for several years now. His inspiration for the AFW collection came from when he was dancing to “Double Dutchess”- a fabulous group that is based in San Francisco. The collection was comprised of womenswear and a few menswear looks that were all about being happy and free. Esquivel has such a bubbly and sweet personality, which showed in some looks, but lacked in others. My favorite looks from the show were the voluminous black/white polka-dot gown, the yellow/black romper, the short red flare dress and the light pink/silver tiered flowy dress. I’m excited to see what Daniel has in store for the future, though I just hope it doesn’t involve a tee paired with a bikini. You can ‘fan’ Daniel on his Facebook Fan Page and stay up to date with any news and happenings.

Huge thanks to PomPR, the designers, models and the folks at Austin Fashion Week!

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