It's been a fascinating experience to be involved with so much of Saint Louis Fashion Week. For someone who normally goes out on the town (and I use that phrase lightly) twice a month, having 10+ events in two weeks was both exciting and overwhelming. Here's what happened during the second week (see part 1 here).
As I've mentioned before, ALIVE Magazine is doing an amazing job of building a community of fashion bloggers, not only in St. Louis, but around the country as well. They invited an impressive list of national bloggers to St. Louis to check out STLFW. To welcome them, a dinner was hosted at Basso, one of the restaurants in the Cheshire Inn. I'd never been, but was impressed by the food and ambiance.
That night was also the Project: Design! STLFW's Emerging Designer Contest show. Up-and-coming designers from around the country submitted applications to show and win $30,000 of resources for their business (kindof like our own little Project Runway!), and six designers were chosen: Abaya Dake, Black by Maria Silver, Fouché, Miita Collection, Spansen Filles, and Q Lui. My personal favorite was Abaya Dake, who showed simple, adorable dresses with the added punch of African prints. Abaya won the People's Choice award, and Miita Collection won the grand prize. (I didn't get any great photos that night, but check out Pysche and Yasmin's coverage for more)
On Thursday, I was invited to a luncheon to honor Fern Mallis at the home of Rungolee designer Anjali Kamra. After a light lunch prepared by Ben Poremba of Salumme Beddu and Olio & Elaia, we were invited to see the designer's studio and showroom. I loved seeing the Rungolee inspiration board and hearing from Anjali about how her travels to London, Morocco, and India served as inspiration. Looking through the racks of clothes in the showroom, I could and would wear any piece.
I loved the Rungolee philosophy, that the pieces are easy to throw on and look great without a lot of fuss - who doesn't want that? Look at the detail and embellishment on these pieces - gorgeous, right? After we'd fawned over the current clothes, the latest collection of clothes and accessories was presented in a series of vignettes that we were invited to walk through. We were literally inside the fashion show.
Thursday night was Industry Night, a show I think many of us had been looking forward to. This was the time for established local and national designers to show their latest and it didn't disappoint. The designers showing were: Eva Franco, Samantha Pleet, Jennifer Chun, Laura Kathleen, and Wai Ming. I can say without any bias that my favorite collections were from the two St. Louis designers, Laura Kathleen and Wai Ming. Above are a few highlights from the night's runway (totally didn't realize until I put this together that my favorite looks were all black and white, shocking!)
Saturday was a busy day. We started bright and early with a blogger brunch provided by Saks, followed by a presentation by designer Tess Giberson. I can honestly say that of everything I saw over the past two weeks, these were my favorite clothes and the ones I'd most like to wear. In the Q&A following the presentation, Tess talked about how her inspiration comes from conversations and collaborations with her husband, an artist, which I also found very sweet. Looks from her collection are above.
Our little tribe of bloggers then moved down to Neiman's, where we learned about fall trends in beauty, handbags, and jewelry before watching a presentation of clothing from the CUSP department benefitting COCA.
In the evening, we regrouped in the Central West End for an amazing experience. We were given a sneak peek of The Queen Within, the Alexander McQueen exhibit opening October 19th at the World Chess Hall of Fame. The pieces included are all incredible works of art (including the infamous Hussain Chalayan bubble dress worn by Lady Gaga, above) and I'm excited to see it all in its final form. We bloggers had more chances to get to know each other at a special dinner hosted by the World Chess Hall of Fame that night at Bar Italia and at brunch at Central Table the next morning.
If you've read this far, you have an idea of just how much has been going on in St. Louis. ALIVE Magazine gave all of us bloggers a truly VIP experience and it was beyond anything I could have imagined. Lindsay Pattan, Director of Marketing for ALIVE, and Jess Leitch, Community Manager at ALIVE (and both bloggers) deserve special praise for going above and beyond at every show and event - if going to all of them was overwhelming, just imagine how much work went into planning and executing them. Thank you for a fabulous two weeks!