The Saint Louis Fashion Week journey continued last night with Project:Design!, the emerging designer contest, presented by Brown Shoe and now in its seventh season. This particular show especially embodies the spirit of Saint Louis Fashion Week, an event that provides an important springboard for local designers to dive into their careers. Project: Design! brought six designers together at Windows on Washington to compete for a generous prize of up to $30,000 in resources to help launch their careers!
The evening started with presentations by the official and people’s choice winners in last year’s Project: Design!. Lauren Bander, the 2012 official winner, and Elise Lammert, the 2012 people’s choice winner, made supporters of this event proud with their collections that clearly demonstrated the advancement of their design experiences since winning.
Let the 2013 Competition Begin
The 2013 competition immediately followed the runway presentation of the reigning champions. Abaya Dake opened the competition to rousing applause to his colorful, printastic, form-flattering designs. This collection was a personal favorite of mine.
Maria Silver followed, equally stirring the crowd with her expert use of sharp shapes, floral prints, and mixed fabrics. Many of the pieces seemed like the perfect attire for jet-setters.
Next up was Fouché. I’ve been a fan of Fouché since seeing her collection at the Pronto Fashion Show earlier this year. Her collection last night, though, was much darker and more dangerous than her sweet, feminine collection I’ve seen before. I was intrigued by seeing her move in this seemingly new direction.
The Miita collection followed. The collection used a muted color family, yet each piece exploded on the runway because they incorporated beading, tailoring, embellishments, and exotic materials. The combinations were truly magical.
Spansen Filles then sent an avant-garde collection down the runway, with some pieces sending shockwaves through the St. Louis audience because of the peculiar placement and gathering of fabric. This collection was surely edgy and unlike anything I’ve seen before.
Q Liu closed the competition with a bang. Her collection is best described as wearable art. The pieces each featured a fancy bird “print” created by a felting technique that Q Liu has clearly mastered. This was the kind of collection that was visually striking, but also extremely intriguing. I actually approached a model after the show to touch the fabric and investigate the piece she was wearing further.
By now, you’re probably as eager as I was last night to find out who wins, right? I won’t keep you waiting any long then. The 2013 winners of Project: Design! received a special privilege as they were presented their awards by Fern Mallis, International Fashion Industry Consultant, and the person often credited for creating New York Fashion Week. What an honor!
Saint Louis Fashion Week continues tonight with Industry Night.