Photos, story by Cassie Hepler
Presented by FBH, The Agency, (sorry, website not found a theme you will soon see) a Philadelphia-based talent and modeling agency, Philly Fashion Week 2016, is a week-long event featuring national and international designers showcases, VIP fashion mixers and more. We started out at the Philadelphia Fashion Week Style Gala at SugarHouse Casino and ended at The Runway II – Featuring 10 National & International Designers at 2300 Arena in deep South Philly.
Last year’s Fashion Week was at a closer to the city location in No Libs but was sweltering inside due to the end of summer heat. This year, the location was much more spacious, cooler and industrial but a bigger hike for city commuters which is why we’re guessing it was not as jam-packed as the previous season.
Philadelphia Fashion Week features national and international designers biannually in February and September of every year and the goal is to link fashion’s next great talents and fashion’s next great retailers to consumers. Philly truly does have some incredible talent and we have documented our favorites below. Philadelphia Fashion Week founders Kevin Parker and Kerry Scott have a good thing going and we would like to see more media attention brought to the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection.
We arrived early as usual to take in all the outfits, schmoozing and meeting people with style and flair. People began arriving, checked in to receive their wristbands to denote where they sit and pick up tickets from will call.
Each runway show includes 10 designers this year and both front-row VIP and regular admission tickets are available to see all the runway action. This year, some spotty seats were available VIP front row and we were bumped up to front row in front of the media seats with an option to move to the side seats (with swag bags full of beauty products) however we opted to stay in our seats at the end of the runway for best photo opportunities.
Starting fashionably late so guests could take advantage of the indoor snack shack nearby (with some weak, sugary sangrias for $5 and cheap hot dogs), when the first designer came out, the lights were so low that all the photographers began yelling, “Lights!” which helped but not completely. Our apologies for the dark photos, but it’s the best we could do!
With a little more light and lots more photography enthusiasm, the second designer, Elizabeth Delgado, we instantly fell in love with and so did the audience with all the oohhhs and ahhhhs.
Her website says Elizabeth Delgado was born in Veracruz, Mexico in 1989, where she spent most of her childhood. Trying to achieve the American Dream, she moved to New Jersey, US with her family at the age of 12; where regardless of what obstacles were presented in front of her, she continued her education. In 2010, Elizabeth earned an Associate’s degree in Fashion Design with honors at Burlington County College. Due to the circumstances, it was almost impossible for her to continue her education, but that did not stop her. “My dream is to become a well known fashion designer, it may take me a little longer and a lot more effort, but I will accomplish it.” Her commitment and determination has paid off.
Today, Elizabeth Delgado has two collections, which she has showcased in various Fashion shows in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. Each inspired and influenced by her life experiences and culture. She sponsored garments for Miss Dominican Republic in Philadelphia, Venezuelan Expressions, and Hispanic Choice Awards in Philadelphia. Elizabeth also earned Dean’s list recognition, and received an award for “Best in Design” at Burlington County College.
“I became a designer because is one of the things that I enjoy doing the most, I love to create and I feel like I can show my passion and personality through fashion.” Elizabeth Delgado’s style is elegant, sophisticated, and unique, yet dynamic, sensual, and daring. Her goal is to design garments that represent every person’s unique personality, making him/her the sensation of any occasion. “I believe that fashion is a way to express one’s emotions, it is like a mirror to the soul; everyone has a different style, and that is what make it unique and special.”
Next up was an interesting tribal style called Carmelita Collection, a celebration of life and design. From her website, design is a way of making the everyday extra-ordinary. The Carmelita collection is a step into the extra-ordinary and out of the mundane. Our deepest desire is to awaken the inner beauty of Women and bring her to a higher level of style and spiritual truth. A celebration of femininity and expression, where art is approachable and wearable.
We take inspiration from art, culture and nature to capture beauty and translate it into wearable fashion. Carmelita’s focus is on creating heirlooms and statement pieces that can be carried from season to season. Trends come and go, but quality and design will stand the test of time. We love to dress a woman of identity and expression that has a sense of play. We are all children in a grown-up world. Let’s have fun!
“Like a lioness, I see the nature of women as both powerful and delicate. I believe each woman has a divine mix of this nature and I hope the clothing helps her walk in a new form of fashion fierceness.” ~Carmelita
Carmelita has provided clothing for celebrity clients Molly Sims, Kourtney Kardashian, Katerina Graham, Katt Sadler, Paula Abdul & many more. We have also been featured in many of the major TV shows, Millionaire Matchmaker, Dancing with the Stars, X-Factor & Law and Order. We can help you express, You.
That was all newcomer Aquilla Savoy had for his part of the runway show but the founders of Philly Fashion week had some amazing surprises up their sleeves. Kevin Parker and Kerry Scott presented Savoy with fabrics to begin his next collection, a seamstress mannequin to build them on and mentorship from a Project Runway contestant. Needless to say, Savoy was tickled pink!
Up next was Thomas Lavone, an award winning New Jersey native fashion designer known for exceptional custom couture gowns, suits and fine apparel, according to his website. He celebrates whim with wisdom boasting over 17 years experience in technical design. The brand has attracted a celebrity following of actors and journalists alike.
Thomas LaVone’s reputation is best recognized by his meticulous attention to detail. An unparalleled craftsmanship beguiles the standard with perfect lines and an exceptional fit that is clearly seen in every hand-made, one of kind design. His work is striking, sophisticated and timeless.
Next up was a Philly RAW featured artist, JPratt. According to the website, “Who would ever known that watching one’s wife throw out shoes, could inspire someone to create customized embellished shoes. The creations and innovations of JPRATT shoes were created and founded when CEO and designer of JPRATT, Jermaine Pratt, decided to take his wife’s old shoe collection and recreate their look. Mr. Pratt fascination with shoes was discovered at a young age while watching PBS. He shared ‘I loved watching the Magic School bus, the teacher Ms. Frizzle shoes were amazing and stood out.’ From there he shared he always focused and analyzed every woman shoes he saw. Today, JPRATT fascination for shoes has taken him from sitting in front of the TV watching ‘The Magic School Bus’ to sitting front and center New York, Miami, and Philadelphia’s Fashion Week watching models walk in his designs Through his motto ‘Heels make a woman be a woman’ Jermaine Pratt will continue to redefine the shoe of a woman and create timeless custom embellished pieces.”
Up next was Shirley Elle, who owns the website The Definition of Chic. This pro is one of the best fashion consultants who specialize in fashion consulting. Shirley Elle is always available to provide fashion design services.
Next up was another one of my favorites, detailing the beauty of international style and haute couture, Faiza Antri Bouzar. According to her French translated to English website (thanks Google, sorry for the rough translation though), “Fab, fabulous or initials of the designer Faiza ANTRI-BOUZAR this puzzling and curious, and so much more. Creative, intuitive and playful, while for it is inspiring. Thinking of new marriages, new colors, and new cuts, is it a mission and a challenge. However, it does leave little spill, it has the desire to remain faithful to the authentic heritage dress Algerian. Heritage, so rich, so beautiful; it was also which led her to enter the fabulous world of fashion. Faïza ANTRI BOUZAR-looking, research, and is in the permanence of elements that enrich his creations. Teeming colors, contemporary forms, it is those who are convinced that the garment is alive, he is in cohesion with the time in which it is. Her passion is a limit, it aims for ultimate: the beautification of women, creation of trends.”
Following all the intricate fashion designs and colors was what I like to call fetish or BDSM couture, perhaps somewhere between homeless chic and the dungeon. Regardless, rocking these looks takes courage and young up-and-comer’s contemporary clothing brand, Dahsar, has already reached some momentum. Some of the looks were almost post-apocalyptic which we were digging.
We loved goth girl Autumn Lin’s black and metal line (with one ivory dress) but found it hard to connect to actually purchase the snakeskin dress that changes from black to silver when you move the scales after the show with no website or cards to contact her. We settled for Instagram but have no clue what the name was… From her website we can now stalk her better, it says, “Visionary designer, AUTUMN LIN KIETPONGLERT, known for her labels, AUTUMNLIN ATELIER (haute couture) and HEARTLESS REVIVAL (ready-to-wear), made her mark on the world of fashion with her one-of-a-kind zipper pieces. AUTUMNLIN, one of the top 3 finalist on Bravo’s Styled to Rock; where she was hand picked by Rihanna to be mentored by Celebrity Stylist Mel Ottenberg, Supermodel Erin Wasson and Grammy Award Winning Singer/Producer Pharrell Williams.”
A crowd favorite, DaJonJ is another talented fashion designer who does not have contact information readily available. We searched long and wide and found his website (under construction) and hope he gets it up and running soon, in the meantime his Facebook page will have to do.
Now here’s a lady who has her portfolio on point. I remember her from last year’s show with the deer skull headpieces and her whimsical essence. According to her website Jenny Lee Maas, “I investigate the subconscious realities that are offered through symbolism in dreams. I often make work based on my dreams, because dreams are symbolic interpretations of reality. There is something both lost and born when translating these intangible realities into a physical form. Many times I work with one concept (or dream) for a time and translate the same idea through various media. This allows me to investigate thoroughly, as well as experimentally, in turn giving me a wider scope of perspective and understanding. [perception is everything] Material choices vary to fit the needs of each piece.
I like an interplay of aesthetics, where material choices create a dialogue of relationships. These layers of manipulation give clues as to how the final moment was realized.”
Up next was a designer with a cleaner style named Radical Tz who also does not have an available website.
Another whimsical, Game of Thrones meets flower power fashion designer I recognized from last year is Closet by Christobal (which sounds like crystal ball which we love) however again, no website just a Facebook page. We urge all you fabulous Philly fashion designers to get a website asap and get out of amateur hour! Make our city proud.
And after a whopping 10 designers and quite the lengthy fashion show, Philly Fashion Week was over for 2016. But of course we had to go out and mingle for a bit and grab a couple of end of the night shots.