StyleWeek wrapup: In 8th R.I. season, fashion fest hit its stride - The Providence Journal

Editor’s note: Journal editor Alexis Magner and writer Jenna Pelletier covered the eighth season of StyleWeek Northeast, which ran from Sunday, Jan. 19 to Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Providence Biltmore. Here’s their take:

Alexis: I think StyleWeek has really hit its stride. Shows have gone smoothly, the models seem especially professional and designers have sent some beautiful creations down the runway. That said, there haven’t been many fashion-as-art moments, and to me, that’s part of the real fun of fashion shows.

Jenna: I do miss that avant-garde aspect, but it’s more practical for the event to showcase wearable garments. After all, the goal of StyleWeek is to get these designers’ clothes into stores.

J: It’s worth mentioning how frigid and snowy it’s been this week. And people are still coming out dressed to the nines.

A: … with bare legs, open-toed shoes and sleeveless dresses. Fashion is not for the weak.

Something different this season was having a children’s collection at StyleWeek.

J: It brought a bright, fun moment to what can be a serious event. And I was so impressed by the way the kids were working the runway, making peace signs and shaking their little hips.

A: The clothes were kid-tastic without being fussy or precious, very much in line with Toni Lyn Spaziano’s adult designs — that Upper East Side/Audrey Hepburn vibe. But the adorability factor was a mixed blessing; the girls were so cute I had to remind myself to look at what they were wearing.

A: Martha Jackson (Restored by Design) is another person who’s expanded her offerings. Her collection was a clear extension of what she does with her jewelry line — the found objects and repurposed materials.

J: It was a very romantic collection, and it reminded me a bit of Susan Troy’s work (she presented Sunday) because both use eco-friendly fabrics. That seems to be a mini-trend emerging from StyleWeek.

J: The SEED student design competition is always fun because students often use unconventional materials. We saw everything from LED lights to egg cartons.

A: There were some stunning looks — the gown made of melted trash bags…

J: … and the dress made out of feathers.

A: This early in their careers, the student designers are unfettered by notions of what they should and shouldn’t do and that makes for some amazingly creative looks.

A: So, any show favorites?

J: I loved Amy Stetkiewicz’s line. It had that kind of edgy-luxe thing going on. I need a pair of her form-fitting, perfectly tailored faux leather pants in my life.

A: Speaking of tailoring, Reginald Merome of Chevalier Homme made some beautifully constructed garments.

J: Definitely. And it was nice to see a menswear show this season, just to mix it up a little bit. He had some interesting designs, lots of vibrant color, bold use of prints. It’s a good example of a collection that’s wearable, but different from what you might typically see at the mall.

J: I was surprised by the sheer number of looks Samuel Vartan sent down the runway. That must have been the longest show I’ve ever taken in at StyleWeek. His output was impressive, but I think the show could have benefited from a little bit of editing.

A: His clothing was very body-centric, with low necklines, high slits, soft, clingy fabrics. Would you wear it?

J: It’s not my style, but I could see that women would buy his stuff. Personal style is just that — there’s something for everyone.

J: We saw quite a few designers doing their first runway shows at StyleWeek: Carissa Lynne Frazier, Meghan Doyle, Shalyn Webber. I was particularly into Webber’s designs. She was one of the ones who was a little more in the fashion-as-art category.

A: As much fun as this week was, I must confess I’m really looking forward to a different kind of fashion moment tonight. I’m putting on yoga pants and tweeting about the Grammy red carpet from the comfort of my couch.

J: Sounds perfect.

On Twitter: @jennampelletier

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