This year's Fashion Week was all about the designers and "all about Buffalo baby," said Jimmy Lee one of the designers that premiered during the week. Buffalo wrapped up its third annual Fashion Week this past Saturday at the Niagara Convention Center, and it was the most successful one yet.
Fashion Week made its way to the Mansion on Delaware Ave. Wednesday, Sept. 6 hosting designs from Blynn Nelson's jewelry line, Reckless Necklace, and Shana Feeley of Thomas Lee Designs.
Nelson revealed her latest creation of classic furs that serve as necklaces adorned with glass beads, chandelier crystals, and vintage broaches, her signature piece; all items she finds and makes herself. Her inspiration comes from '40s, '50s and '60s glamour and old Hollywood movies she used to watch with her dad. Her line is geared toward older women, but is easily admired and coveted by all.
Blynn has shown in Toronto and Rochester's Fashion Weeks.
"I'm thrilled to be apart of [Buffalo Fashion Week]... I absolutely would come back," Blynn said.
Her works of art can be found in her Rochester studio.
"I design for those who aren't afraid to take a risk," said Shana Feeley.
It was her sixth time showing in Buffalo with the collection she describes as her best yet. Her inspiration was a combination of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and The Beatles' song "Blackbird."
Feeley opened a store - The Olcott Boutique - right after high school. She describes her look as "artistic" and "edgy." Her line gave off a romantic whimsical feel, very unique and on the avant-garde side of fashion. Her clothes can be purchased on Etsy.com as well as at her boutique.
Thursday, Sept. 7 at the Buffalo Museum of Science served as a platform for two designers; Kahindo Mateene of Modahnik and Steven Bales. The two tried to receive international recognition for their upcoming Spring 2012 lines.
Kahindo, the main stage designer, was geared toward a colorful and risky audience. Using shades of green, yellow, and orange patterned fabric, her inspiration is the African girl combined with modern westernized style. She hopes to open an online store in the near future and her designs are viewable on her website, modahnik.com.
SBales, born and raised in the Bronx, NY, believes he has a spontaneous and classy sense of style that both teens and adults will love to wear. His clothing line originates in Buffalo.
"I dropped out of Buff State to follow my dream," Bales said.
His website, balesclothing.com, features both of his women and men's lines that are available for purchase.
Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Niagara Convention Center was the most anticipated event of the week. The show featured the talents of designers The House of Versatile Styles (HVS), Jimmy Lee, Zita Pop, Solome Katongale and Lawrence Pizzi.
Over 40 vendors were also given the opportunity to take advantage of the fashion show and set up tables in a lobby removed from the magnificent runway. A long wait before the show and two intermissions allowed attendees to mingle and shop.
HVS kicked off the show with glimmer and glitz, literally. The models walked along to a song, "Welcome to the 22 Century," and for HVS the future predicts glitter, metallics and bright colors.
Next, Jimmy Lee took the stage and set the precedent of his line by saying, "I'm here to make Buffalo proud." And that he did with his beautiful, flowing, and colorful collection. One shoulder tops and dresses were seen repeatedly and will be hot for Spring 2012. All of Lee's models were barefoot, which only added to the playful appeal of his line. He was definitely a crowd favorite.
The show then took a break to introduce "Vitamin Water Uncapped." Vitamin Water was one of the biggest sponsors of the night and held a competition amongst design students that challenged them to create a look inspired from its flavors. Seven designers and flavors were chosen to grace the runway and an esteemed panel of judges chose the deserving winner, Konana Cicocki with her pink flavor "Glow."
Zita Pop, a Hungarian designer originating from Transylvania, would have made Dracula proud with her designs largely red, black and white in color. Although her color palette left many in attendance wondering how it would work for spring, her collection had some very short skirts and dresses that left nothing to the imagination. Dramatic, big collars and sleeves, and heavy use of tulle forced many to question her aesthetic.
Solome, an African fashion designer who has shown in African Fashion Week in New York and Boston's collection was very cultural with bright colors and bold patterns.
"It can be any type of culture, not African specifically, anyone with a youthful spirit, not afraid of color, or to try to something new. I don't follow the trend. I literally wake up, see an inspiration and get the fabric, if the fabric speaks to me then the collection follows," Solome said.
Her inspiration came from color and nature, specifically water waves. The music the models strutted to kept the audience on their toes, as did the designs, leaving you anxious to see what came next. With an eye for details and fabulous eco-friendly jewelry that completed each look thanks to friend and designer Tamora Lee, Solome had the most cohesive collection.
Lawrence Pizzi closed the show, and for some, owned the event with his collection called "One Woman, One World." Pizzi was the most prestigious of all the designers that were featured in past Fashion Weeks. His works have been shown in New York City, Paris and Milan.
With both a women and men's line, he was the only designer who used male models.
"I created a men's collection for ladies since that's the best accessory you can have on your arm," Pizzi said.
His runway show had a bit of everything, introducing both his spring and summer collections. Pizzi featured it all from bathing suits to a wedding dress and menswear on women like blazers and pantsuits. Even women's wear was feature on men through skirts and sarongs.
His show was the most entertaining and unique, with men sporting nothing but their underwear and faux hawks. His collection maintained a fashion forward feel, however, with certain looks that screamed luxurious and high fashion.
Next year's Fashion Week is sure to be bigger and better then ever. Make sure not to miss out on your chance to be a part of Buffalo fashion history. A special thanks goes to Lauren Byrd, the creator and coordinator, who just wanted to bring a little extra something to Buffalo.
Additional reporting by Keren Baruch