Review: Pittsburgh Fashion Week rocks the runway


Knox Coulter | Staff Photographer

Models walk the runway in designs by Bernice Yu during Pittsburgh Fashion Week’s Thursday night runway event at Wintergarden at PPG Place.

By Charlie Garcia-Weger, Staff Writer

For students at the University of Pittsburgh, it may seem like the only significant part of the fashion scene in the City is thrifting, with venues like Thriftique in Lawrenceville to Pitt’s own Thriftsburgh. Pittsburgh Fashion Week challenged that idea this month, bringing new looks to the Steel City.

The Pittsburgh Fashion Week occurred from Sept. 17 to Sept. 20 and after months of planning brought three different events to the City — a social networking party, a panel and a runway show.

The main and final event of the week was the runway on Sept. 20, located in the Wintergarden at PPG Place. The show’s setting added to the excitement of the event, taking place surrounded by large glass windows and grand lighting.

The first to open the runway was Andre Jones. Jones displayed his collection “West End Girls,” an homage to 1980s streetwear. Jones’s artwork was artistic and pleasing to the eye, displaying a form of high end street fashion that was retro, slim-fitting and colorful. Every single part of the exhibition, from the models to the clothing they wore, was simply spectacular.

A memorable article from Jones was a leather jacket with a combination of navy and white colors and zig-zag designs on the sleeves, continuing on to the back of the jacket toward the neck, spelling out “E. Adonis.”  Despite women making up most of Jones’ models, the clothing displayed came across as something meant for any gender.

The following designer to take the runway was Bernice Yu. Yu is a current student at Carnegie Mellon University pursuing writing and design, making the time and effort she obviously put into her collection for this runway even more impressive.

Despite only showcasing five styles, Yu displayed an in-depth knowledge of jewelry and textiles forming five very creative outfits. All of these ensembles seemed to have an ancient Greek theme to them based on their jewelry. The most intricate part of Yu’s capsule was the intense jewelry the models wore on their faces, from metal chains connecting the nose to the ears and mouth to a literal face brace made with two candlesticks.

The name Oona Natesan is a name likely well-known in the future of fashion. Natesan followed Yu with a capsule encapsulating “hippie chique,” clothing that is simplistic in color and longer-fitting in size. A crowd favorite out of the outfits displayed was a white grid design on a light caramel-colored body suit. Another noticeable aspect of Natesan’s time on the runway were the many Indian models featured in her showcase. The runways at many other fashion events don’t tend to feature much diversity, but Natesan covered that by including models of her own ethnicity.

Ensemble designed by Oona Natesan

The next designer took a similarly progressive approach to their fashions seen on the runway — one supporting the independent, on-the-go working woman.

Anna Lemley is a contemporary designer who produces ready-to-wear products for independent women. Lemley’s show played well to her target audience, featuring simplistic designs for wear in everyday scenarios.

But while Lemley may have met her own for her goal for her clothes, the designer still seems to need something more to bring her brand to the standard the rest of the designers in this show made.

Elaine Healy and King Reld’s took the stage next, bringing intensity and variety to the fashion show. The two designers brought out an array of models that so spectacularly matched their clothes. There was a bit of redundancy in their designs, but it led to a nice combination of both stylists’ items.

The most radical stylists of the fashion show were definitely Healy and Reld. From designed garments that include an octagon-patterned black nylon fabric to fur colors spanning from yellow to aqua blue, each item encapsulated something special about each designer.

The two designers brought on models ranging from drag queens to a little kid to model their wide variety of dresses and sweaters. The dresses were mainly composed of a black fabric that they continuously used throughout. Some of the outfits were made completely of fur. One of the final dresses in their feature was the best of the dichotomy, with nylon black textile everywhere except the left sleeve, which was made from a fur toned in aqua, blue and purple.

Mad Recital, an experimental clothing and accessory brand, was a perfect follow-up to Healy and Reld’s act. The runway turned into a Raf Simons-type of atmosphere with unsettling-but-calm music playing in the background to introduce models wearing relatively dark and dreary outfits.

But Mad Recital demonstrated an idea to fashion that isn’t always seen on the runways, adding details to the regular clothing items they made. A standout altered design was a pair of black pants with extra pockets added onto the right leg.

The final artist to grace the runway was a favorite for the evening, Lauria Rose. Rose presented some stunning dresses all with a similar theme and appearance. Rose’s dresses are lavish ones that should be seen in clothing boutiques across the world. The dresses displayed vibrant colors and fabrics that fit to the body perfectly. Pittsburgh Fashion Week is likely the first of many for Lauria Rose.

Pittsburgh Fashion Week as a whole was an extremely enlightening event that demonstrated how much fashion culture there is in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh tends to be known for its sports, start-ups and french-fry sandwiches — but now, the City is making a name for itself in high fashion.

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