After a somewhat shaky start, Las Vegas Fashion Week satisfies
Wed, May 23, 2012 (3 p.m.)
Fashion Week got off to a rocky start. First there was the ever-changing schedule and website; then the switch from open to the public to “invite only”; and most events shifting from the World Market Center to what Director Jenifer Strom described as “a private penthouse near the Strip.” Strom admits the experience “was an eye opener. My original plan was to do the Vegas ostentatious thing, but it evolved into a more student, local, and charity event, which ended up being fortunate.”
Strom has resigned herself to “the encyclopedia of what went wrong,” but adds, “I learned a lot about brand awareness, developing a strong company platform and staff, and working with upper-echelon people in the fashion world.”
Despite all the mystery and confusion surrounding what happened to the slated events for Fashion Week, more than a few people benefited from the event. Designers presented selections from their collections to fashion students at the International Academy of Design and Technology and the Art Institute. And the event’s finale was a stunning runway show that included collections from nine designers, two of whom were local.
The good news is that local designers Kristy Rose and Jacqueline Berry, both of whom show at the Royal regularly, presented work that shined as much if not more than many designers from Los Angeles and New York. While this may seem cliché, there’s nothing more inspiring to budding Valley designers, especially in the fashion nascent Vegas Valley. Sure, Vegas has big designer stores and plenty of casino-floor fashionistas, as Strom points out when she references “Dior and Chanel,” but when it comes to local designers becoming household names, Las Vegas is still a new kid on the block.
But there’s no way you would have been able to tell from Sunday’s showcase. The Palms Penthouse overflowed with tasteful numbers, highlights including Rose’s breathtaking black evening gown (the perfect blend of hardcore and girly soft with a shiny, leather-like halter and crystal-embellished pieces making up the skirt) and Berry’s memorable touch of tie-dye romper. Other standouts included LA designer David Louis Kliens’s figure-flattering vertical patterns and Australian designer Victoria Thompson’s black-and-white mesh sequin dress that was feminine, yet felt like a tribute to the solar eclipse taking place that day.
In terms of the crazy world of high fashion one would expect to find on a runway, Aeneas Erlking stole the show. Most of her pieces can only be described as a chandelier exploding on a space robot that also rides a motorcycle, which is to say they’re pretty amazing. You would have to be a student at Parsons, as Erlking is, or a high-end model to pull off wearing most of her clothes anywhere. They cleverly blend soft touches like tulle with faux fur and leather for a very androgynous look. If they make another Blade Runner, we know who they’ll call.
Overall, the runway show at the Palms showcased amazing styles and saved Fashion Week for the select group of people who got to attend. Hopefully if this event happens again, it will have all the kinks ironed out, with a schedule set in advance and executed exactly as planned, a functioning and consistent website, and open-to-the-public showcases with, accordingly, tiered pricing. Strom says she plans to “visit London and Paris over the summer to meet with fashion magazines, buyers, and major brands to bring attention to Vegas as the next hot spot for fashion.”
Fashion Week is an exciting time in other cities, and if the Las Vegas version gets organized and grows, it could be an economic boon for the whole city, not to mention a feast for the eyes of the local and Strip set. Until then, we’ll have to get our fashion fix at local showcases like Raw’s next swimwear event, where LA Fashion Week veteran Berry is sure to give you a reason to start swimming again.