"I'm excited about fashion in Columbus."
#ColumbusIsFashion was more than just a social media hashtag at CMH Fashion Week's main event Saturday. It was an energy source.
"We may have to go to the Arena next year," said Mayor Michael Coleman, pictured right with CMH Fashion Week founder Thomas McClureon stage before the show, commenting on the size of the finale's sold out crowd and the buzz it was generating.
Indeed, the few technical glitches that happened at Saturday's finale at Genoa Park-the ticketing system went down, a fire alarm kept going off-felt like the final growing pains of a little fashion show that could.
"The bar's been raised this year," said runway show host Angela An (who, by the way, Aiden & Co. jewelry, sold exclusively at Worthington Jewelers, decked out in $80,000 worth of diamonds for the evening).
Twelve local designers and headliner Nary Manivong comprised the talent list, sending myriad approaches to fashion down the runway in Aldo heels to songs by Columbus bands. View photos from Manivong's line below.
Rachel Kaplan's black and white-infused collection inspired by Rorschach's inkblots was a good way to start the night because youth, concept and the color black were evident throughout the night. Kaplan and her fellow recent CCAD grads-Kassie Haji's construction, Dirty Laser's freshness and Olivia Brezinski's well-roundedness-really nailed great collections that told a story. Laser cuts and geometrics were clearly the domain of Azmara Asefa and Genoveva Christoff, and Erica Woodmore and Lubna Designs were masters of the understated embellishment (fringe, bling, fur). Marquis Engel's menswear was another bright spot--literally and figuratively--of the showcase; the pop prints were eye-grabbers, but the multi-materialed lettermen's jackets and man bags deserved the most attention.
Manivong's conclusion included dresses, pencil skirts and collared blouses, embracing the power of pastels and radicalism of soft femininity, a contrast to the raw sexuality brooding from many of the other earlier lines that stomped the catwalk. Manivong's collection proved that the formerly homeless designer had not only found his voice but had discovered the best megaphone with which to use it.
Manivong, who is from Columbus and now works in New York, was a great reminder of how the city's fashion scene has national roots. So were members of the audience.
Take, for example, Jennifer Felizardo. The fledgling designer of Phlipped Fashions moved to Columbus six months ago from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, because of the opportunity for independent work in fashion here.
"I'm so excited to be in Columbus," she said as she waited for the runway show to start. "I'm excited about fashion in Columbus."
That sentiment was echoed hundreds of times over on Saturday.
-Jackie Mantey, @Jackie_Mantey
Photos courtesy ofAlan Jones for Scott Cunningham Studios