Wednesday night, La Zona Rosa, and every fashion savvy Austinite is present. To mingle, to sip cocktails – to snack on Luna bars – and what else? To preview some of Texas’s (and America’s) most forward thinking design talent. Eight designers took the stage to present current, and next season’s collections in an ahh-induced showcase of music and couture.
The first year away from the Driskill, AFW Runway and Marketplace cozied up inside the historic La Zona Rosa – and the new venue is much more intimate, and stylistically conducive to host the patron-packed event. Models struck the U-shaped runway as cameras shuttered away and onlookers murmured whispers of approval into one another’s ears. The first night of Runway shows was a huge success, and a great introduction into the events to continue this week.
Austin Style came, and quietly marveled at the spectacle that ensued yesterday evening. The wardrobe of the crowd was diverse, and very Austin. Women in evening gowns, men in bow ties – ladies in a studded bodice with long, tuled skirts. Even Daisy Buchanan was spotted amongst attendees, jeweled head piece in place.
A quick highlight of the designer showcases; two instant favorites were Katherine Michael and Raggdahl (both Texas natives). The presentation of these two ladies was over the top, and just stunning.
Isabella Rose Taylor
The eleven-year-old artistic powerhouse is a designer creating style for her age group – tweens. Her runway line featured the universal theme, “blood, sweat, and glitter”, which resonated in the styling of each model. Pairings of tights, military boots, and shift dresses created a tougher look of teenage confidence. The young designer favored hats and shirts/jackets with a hood – while sprinkling glittered glam (and a lot of it) throughout the showcase in velvet leggings and monochromatic skirts. Overall, the line echoed Rose’s penchant for artistic expression; middle schools across the nation just a lot cooler. See Isabella’s current collection here.
Katherine Michael is a Texas native, and an innovative mind in her genre. The self-proclaimed “boho hippie” and “thrift store junkie” rocked the runway show last night with her antique, up-cycled wedding gowns. The designer scours local thrift stores for discarded gowns and recreates her line with a touch of old, and a dopple of new. Last night’s collection was breathtaking. KM donned her models in majestic, fairytale garb that exuded feminine romance. Each gown bore a different style, and was accompanied by a paired headpiece. Chiffon, flowers, and muted hues walked the u-shaped runway and elicited oohhh’s, and ahhh’s from the crowd. The ambiance was very mad-hatter tea party, in a garden, surrounded by ethereal twilight and magic. An instant favorite, Katherine Michael’s collection was unique, fashion-forward and absolutely stunning. Shop her current collection here.
California bred Suzanne B. brought beach body boutique to the AFW runway last night in a toes-to-the sand display of what will be hot to wear on the water this season. The designer studied couture in Europe before returning home to craft her warmer weather collections. Suzanne’s runway showcase featured bold prints and flowing wrap pieces. The line is very west coast beach meets Miami nightlife. One piece to note was a loose grey jumpsuit, perfect for lounging at the beach. You can shop Tropicouture’s latest trends here.
New Orleans based designer LIBELLULE (libby-lool) sashayed the runway in a line that was just as feminine and classic as the label. The designers Leigh Reveley and Crickett Lapeyre paired jackets with bold, glitzy buttons to the clean silhouette of tucked-in, silk on silk. The designers presented a lot of monochromatic variations of this look; the vibe of this collection was very east coast conservative but with the moxy of a classically chic, feminine appeal. Wear to work or out to dinner, LIBELLULE was on point. Shop their current looks here.
Catherine Carter Hite
Ms. Hite brought clean, sharp lines and modern class to AFW runway. Her pairing of leather and lace kicked off the showcase, and set the standard and prestige of timelessly classic apparel. She presented blouses with large, angular bows paired with strait, A-line skirts. The visual effect was very modern, and again, classic. The final piece to walk the runway was a long sleeve, full skirted velvet dress. It was black, victorian, and absolutely gorgeous. Every woman in Austin should own that dress! The gown is a piece that will live in your closet for decades, and never go out of style. Shop Catherine Carter Hite here.
Gwen Stefani, designer of L.A.M.B (Love Angel Music Baby), created a brand for herself years ago that emulated her personal style. She has been consistently regarded as a trend-setter, and the collection on Wednesday’s runway show did not disappoint. Her line presentation was clean, with a touch of rock in the back lace of her blouses, and in her fashion-forward accessories. Her edgy leather skirt and jacket combinations were a bold contrast to her slightly more feminine trench-style jackets. Gwen’s fashion apparel embodies things that the designer puts into her own style. She mixes feminine and masculine, old and new, and has created a brand that speaks no only to her, but to her fans and buyers. You can shop Stefani’s website here.
Another favorite, Raggdahl, is designed by Christine Porter. The moment Raggdahl took the runway, the crowd’s enthusiasm catapulted into the stratosphere. Spikes and studs and all of the above – Raggdahl definitely has a significant future in Austin, and in America. The bold combination of leather and studs sets an image of tough, edgy couture. Porter paired studded sweaters with tuled tutu skirts – a match that screams feminine spunk. Lapel studded trench coats and spiked leggings will make an excellent accessory for fall; and the color schemes of muted blacks and grays matched with the bold pop of teal, or mustard – aesthetically dynamic. We cannot wait to see what else this designer has up her sleeve. We absolutely love Raggdahl! Shop the current Raggdahl trends here.
Argentinian designers Paola Moore and Marina Silver closed out the show with their brand, Rare Trends. The duo detailed women’s wear with sharp cutout designs, angular cocktail dresses, and matched outfits of varying fabrics to create a modern, yet very feminine forward fashion. One piece to note was a leather fringe cocktail dress – very Gatsby. Austin Style is in love with the roaring twenties spring line, and the brand’s flapper piece did not disappoint. In a similar fashion, there was also a longer version of the dress in black. The contour of the piece melded to the model’s silhouette, creating a classic and flattering appearance. Rare Trends is currently sold in 2ND Street District’s Estilo, and you can also find the collection online here.
The runways and Marketplace will continue this evening, kicking off at 7:15pm.
**Editor’s note: photography stills from last night’s show will go live later this evening. Please check back for coverage of the event!
© Lindsay Watson
You can find me here – on Twitter, Facebook or via cmail. Like what you read? Keep the beat with Austin style by clicking “subscribe”.