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Phoenix Fashion Week at the Talking Stick Resort 2012- Day 3
Phoenix Fashion Week at Talking Stick Resort 2012- Day 1

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!!!!

Phoenix Fashion Week at Talking Stick Resort 2012- Day 1

Whenever I travel to Phoenix, it’s always felt like a second home to me. So when I learned that I was able to attend their fashion week, I was beyond thrilled. The five days and three fashion-filled nights I was there unfortunately flew by like a whirlwind. But while there, I had the opportunity to see Hayley from LA-based Shop Excess Baggage, who was hosting a small trunk show that day I flew in. It was nice to see and connect with her, as I still have that inner longing for LA. I also met up with a great gal pal, Ms. Hannah H. from Heroine Chic Blog and did some thrifting and general catching up. But I wanted to thank my friends Britton and Will for allowing me to stay with them in beautiful Scottsdale for the five days I was there. I also wanted to share that this blogger (who is out of shape as far as climbing mountains) hiked 90% of Camelback Mountain with Britton and Will and it felt fucking fantastic!!! We ended the afternoon with an amazing lunch from Sweet Tomatoes (a.k.a Soup Plantation). And P.S…. still missing you Phoenix….

Ok…..So on with the show… Welcome to PHXFW Day 1 at the Talking Stick Resort. The shows were held outside and there was a Yelp Log-In Lounge especially for media, which helped out SO MUCH! There was a mix of established and emerging designers that evening. The line up was: Kent Denim, Mabella Chic, DaVinci, Cafe Bleu and Mariska for established designers. Living Dreams, OfraStyle, Shawl Dawls and Samantha Patterson for emerging designers competing for $10,000 worth of goods and services that would help them successfully launch their brand. Also that evening, local design student from Mesa Community College-Ashley Cooper was presented with a $1,000 fashion design scholarship for her innovative t-shirt design.

The first designer to showcase was LA-based Kent Denim. Models pounded down the runway, wearing denim obvi, which was styled in that effortless California casual style. I loved seeing crisp fitted jeans with their cuffs rolled up. As well as logo tees paired with dapper blazers. Kent Denim is proudly made in the USA. Check out KentDenim.com for more information.

Next up was Mabella Chic, designed by Mabel Cortez. The line was launched in 2005 in Long Beach, CA. Models rocked on-trend dresses, pants, skirts and tops that are designed for the independent woman who isn’t afraid to express herself through fashion. My favorite piece was the chiffon multi-colored with stripes hi-low dress. Mabel was inspired by the woman who is constantly on-the-go but is still able to shine through the bright colors and lively fabrics of the garments. Cortez enjoys making garments that are sexy, yet comfortable and able to move in. Prices fore the line are an affordable $40-200. Please check out MabellaChic.com to shop and more general information.

The next menswear designer to showcase was another Los Angeles brand called DaVinci. The brand exhibited their ‘New Vintage Collection,’ which is geared for the young hipster type looking for that retro construction. Throughout the collection I witnessed Charlie Harper’s bowling shirts, shirts with skinny ties, tees styled with bow ties, some mix of plaid, stripes and flannel. This collection was exciting and I wish more men dared to dress like that. Check out more information and to shop the DaVinci collections, check out globalrebels.com.

Next up was the first menswear emerging designer, Scottsdale-based Living Dreams Clothing. The brand was launched in November 2011 (or 11/11/11 for good luck) by Michael Poulos to spread the message of “living your dreams” through his clothing line. As Michael explains, “Living Dreams believes we all have a dream inside ourselves. When that dreams becomes a reality through passion and hard work…that is Living Dreams!” During PHXFW, he showcased the Fall/Winter 2012 collections, which focused on ‘bringing out the color’ during the usually darker upcoming season. “With the primary seasons of Living Dreams being spring/ summer, it is up to us to translate our beach and summer feel into the seasons that we typically forget about the outdoor and warm days.” I personally love the colors and the quirky sayings that were screen printed on the tees premium quality t-shirts of 60% cotton/40% polyester blend. I think they are great for layering and do add a refreshing touch to the typical Fall/Winter drab colors. The tees retail for about $34, while hats retail for $30. To shop the collection and for more information, check out Living Dreams’s website. I’ll also leave you with this last quote by Michael, “It is never too late to start putting your own dreams into action in life and when what your passionate about is what you do for living, great things follow in terms of self-satisfaction and success. I have been blessed to this point in my life that I have the opportunity to do what I love for a living and would others to give it a try and the impact it has not only the individual, but the people you surround yourself with!”

Up next was the first womenswear line in the emerging designers division, Phoenix-based OfraStyle. The brand was launched just this year by Ofra Aricha and specializes in convertible clothing for women. The garments are adjustable and can be worn 2-3 ways and can go from casual in the daytime to chic and contemporary for an evening out. Each garment is soft and made so the wearer can easily move, dance or do yoga in; but can also efficiently transition into a sharp look for date night. Since I’m a fan of LBDs, I especially loved seeing the strapless knee-length and maxi black dresses that are made from Modal. The black garments are priced a littler higher due to the fabric. Ofra explains, “Modal is type of rayon textile made from fibers of the beech tree. Modal Fabric is something truly special because the fiber is very fine, natural, and it is considered the ultimate in softness. Modal is soft, smooth, and breathes well. It’s texture is similar to a super soft cotton or silk, and it’s advantage is it’s resistance to shrinkage. The fabric is also stays soft through repeated washings.” So ladies, this line is perfect for the gal-on- the -go or the gal who wants to look effortlessly fabulous at all times of the day, but still wants to watch her pennies. Prices range from $64.99 for the Convertible Tie Dye Short Dress, $79.99 for the Convertible Tie Dye Jumpsuit, $89.99 for the Convertible Tie Dye Long Dress. Prices for the black Modal garments are $79.99 for the Convertible Black Short Dress, $99.99 for the Convertible Black Jumpsuit, $109.99 for the Convertible Black Long Dress. To shop the line and additional information, go to ofrastyle.com.

Next up was the Los Angeles-based Shawl Dawls, a line specializing in…you guessed it… shawls. But these aren’t your ‘run-of-the-mill’ shawls, they are a stylish essential to the everyday womens style. And can you believe that there are FIFTEEN or more ways to style the shawls?! I loved how the shawls were presented on the runway and gave me an idea that shawls don’t have to be boring. In fact, they can be styled into a dress, cover-up, top or even wedding veil (which was stunning, FYI). According to designers Julie Cruz and Roshena Chadha, their inspiration for their PHXFW collection, “were largely inspired by the fabrics that we found and by elements of other styles and trends that we’ve seen out there. We essentially have two main bodies (short and long) and designed around them applying trends and details such as fringe and slits. And of course, we are huge on versatility – versatility in styling and versatility in the marketplace, creating styles that would appeal to all ages.” They have designed the shawls with the gal-on-the-go in mind (as in ‘throw it on and add a belt’ effortless’), as well as the everyday women, as it is ‘one size fits all’ and flatters every body type. Shawl Dawls is made in LA and retail from $38-98. Check out their ‘How To Style a Shawl” video here and shop the collection on shawldawls.com.  

The last of the emerging designers that evening was Samantha Patterson Designs. Designer Samantha Patterson, who just graduated from FIDM in LA in 2011 and as since had two successful collections; is a firm believer that you can still be just as fashionable while still dressing modestly. Her definition of modest dressing is “any clothing that covers the shoulders, goes down to just above the knee and avoids any plunging neckline.” Her Spring 2013 collection that she showed in Phoenix is all about movement, but without having to show too much skin. She achieved just that by construction her garments using certain techniques and by adding small details to accomplish that flirty movement she was hoping for. I adored this collection…yes, it was modest..but it was smartly modest and on-trend. I could find a few ways to wear the floral maxi dress or the floral harem-esque pants. Her prices range from $50-250. Check out SamanthaPatterson.com for further deets!

Next up was another established menswear designer called Cafe Bleu, designed by Vince Gonzales. Well-groomed models promenaded down the runway in well-tailored shirts and blazers that were a mixture of solids and unique patterns. The designs are inspired by vintage Carnaby Street in London and produced in Istanbul, Turkey. The company only uses hand-tailored stitching, 60s singles cotton and the finest European buttons when manufacturing the collections. Ladies, they just launched a womens collection during Spring 2012. Check out cafebleu.us for more info, including info on their signature “Evil Eye” label.

The last of the designers that evening was another Los Angeles designer- Mariska. The name ‘Mariska’ is Hungarian for ‘Maria,’ which pays homage to the designer Mariska Janossy’s heritage. The line conveys a retro vibe with modern silhouettes. The brand prides itself on producing small quantities right in the heart of downtown LA, with quality in mind. To shop the collection and find additional information, please go to mariskafashion.com. When you first get to the website, a cool video with a model “getting ready for a date” trying on different looks from the collection and dancing to rhythmic beats of tambourines, instantly starts playing. I like how it gives us an idea of how the clothes look on and while in motion.

Stay tuned for Day 2…..

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