Phoenix Fashion Week 2011 at Talking Stick Resort shows off Valley design talent

This past week, I got to attend one of my favorite Phoenix events, Phoenix Fashion Week.

This year, it was held at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, which was an interesting venue that made it evident the casino is doing anything it can to get younger people in the door. The after-parties were held at their upstairs Degree 270 nightclub, which is an interesting alternative to nightclubs in Old Town Scottsdale.

The fashion show was held in the heart of the Resort, which is outside and  surrounded by rooms and neighboring a restaurant and the pool. It was really open, and I thought it was a fun venue even though it seemed like on Thursday, a lot of us weren’t prepared for how cold it would be  outside.

Thursday night started off strong with five great shows featuring boutique offerings and established designers, followed by three up-and-coming designers.

First up was The Velvet Boutique, a locally owned store in Chandler that did a runway show of a mix of its offerings.

The Velvet Boutique actually sells a few of the other established designers that were featured during fashion week, such as BlueBird Denim and Black Russian Label, and I thought the clothes and styling were really cute.

The garments were simple and more on the classic side, with some interesting twists such as unique trims, cutout sleeves and contrasting fabrics. I would definitely shop there.

Next up was TE’ Boutique. I really wanted to like this show, which was fall and winter themed, but I couldn’t get past the messy styling, and some of the garments, such as puffy red pants for women and a black leather vest and velvet purple coat for men, turned me off.

Models were wearing fur hats (who would wear one in Arizona?!), and men walking the runway were wearing layer-upon-layer with scarves, rolled-up jeans and do-rags–it all looked so disjointed, that it was hard for me to get into it.

If you want to check them out yourself, the boutique is located in the Scottsdale Quarter.

Next up was my favorite show of the night, Bilby & Moss. The clothes looked so super-comfy, and they were also really stylish. Actually, there was a long-sleeved black dress in the show that looked exactly like what I was wearing–so maybe I was a little biased.

The Los Angeles-based line is really affordable, and the looks were perfect for any occasion, from going to run to the store to heading to a party–the eco-friendly designs were soft and comfy but still very stylish.

Bilby & Moss is in Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall here in the Valley.

Next up was Original Retro Brand, which specializes in vintage-inspired T-shirts and is also based in Los Angeles. The T’s were fine, but didn’t leave a huge impression on me.

There were some ASU and U of A themed shirts, and it just made me sad there was no Lumberjack love for NAU. If you want to check them out, the brand is at stores such as Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue.

The last established designer show of the night was Veronica Brett. Her swimsuit line, based in New York, is geared towards women who have had mastectomies, and I thought it was a nice touch considering this month is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I can’t picture myself or any of my friends wearing any of the conservative suits, but I think older women would love them.

First up for the emerging designers was Deeds of Love, a love-themed T-shirt company that donates part of the profits from each garment to charity.

The designs were cute and positive, and it’s nice to know you’re helping the less fortunate with your clothing purchase from them.

Next up was Dejamone, a Minnesota-based streetwear line. I wasn’t a huge fan of the designs–it seemed more club-worthy than streetwear, but not quite chic enough to stand out in the club scene–but it was just my personal preference. The urban-influenced styles might appeal to people who are fans of streetwear, which I am not.

Sebastien Millon was such a fun way to end the night. He’s a T-shirt designer that puts super-funny cartoons on shirts. I could not stop laughing at one that had a bear holding a bloody knife–it read, “Guns don’t kill people. Psychotic bears with machetes do.” How could you not love that?! Here are some more of my favorite designs of his.

Friday night had a slew of new designers to check out. First up were the established designers. SJ Couture, a wedding dress and bridesmaid dress line, walked the runway first. I thought the dresses were a good mix of simple and sophisticated, and they were the fanciest garments to walk down the runway of the two nights.

The line can be found in Gigi Bridal Boutique in Tucson, and I think buying from a local designer for your wedding is a really neat idea.

Next up  was Evan Golf. As a golfer, this was the line I was most excited to check out, but I thought the clothes seemed really impractical for the course.

I don’t know any guy who would wear a bow tie to go golfing, and dresses and skirts for women golfers seem silly–it’s hard to pick up a ball when you’re wearing a dress. I also would never wear leggings or a feminine bow tie to go golfing. There were a couple gems in the show, but I was left disappointed. The store is only online currently.

The next line was the Portland, Ore.-based, all-male Carroll Shelby Collection. The T-shirts were inspired by Shelby and Cobra cars, so if you’re into that sort of thing, you’d love the line.

Blaque Market was up next. Claiming to be street couture, the national line left me scratching my head a little–I couldn’t picture anyone wearing cat suits or dresses with hand shapes covering a woman’s breasts.

There were also these weird cut-out skirt contraptions some of the models were wearing, and I was reminded that just because clothing is out-of-the-ordinary does not make it stylish.

Los Angeles-based designer Alana Hale, whose fans include Lady Gaga, was next. Her clothing is inspired by everything from European architecture to rock n’ roll, and I thought her clothes were very pretty and stylish. They were very feminine and sweet, and the angel wings some of the models were styled with were a perfect touch.

It was nice to see a Phoenix-based designer close out the established group on Friday. Black Russian Label was last up, and the line was inspired by cultures within America. I didn’t really see the multicultural influence in garments such as see-through lace shorts with zipper trim, and everything was a little too busy for me to want to buy.

BlueBird Denim kicked off the emerging designers set with an adorable show that had models looking really beachy and donning white framed sunglasses. The clothes all looked like they belonged on California girls, and that was surprising considering the line is based in St. Louis. You can still buy their items locally, at The Velvet Boutique in Chandler.

Indi Apparel
was up next, and I thought the line was neat because it’s designed for traveling women to pack lightly since the pieces deconstruct, are often reversible and are lightweight and wrinkle-resistant. I wasn’t that thrilled with the actual designs, but I admire the thought of making it functional. It’s based in Tucson.

Mabella Chic
is another Phoenix-based design and featured affordable garments that are appropriate for work. There were a lot of dresses and skirts that I would totally wear to my job, and some featured cool details such as scalloped fringe. You can buy clothes from the line online.

I had a ton of fun checking out all the diverse fashion options at Phoenix Fashion Week, but like I said last year, I can’t wait until all the designers featured are based out of Phoenix. As one of the biggest cities in the nation, there’s obviously a ton of design talent here, so hopefully the show will become more and more locally focused in future years.

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  1. Pingback: Sebastien Millon: Artist and T-Shirt, Print and Card Designer

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