StyleWeek Northeast is an event like no other. Part art exhibit, part small business incubator, part tourist attraction, and all fashion show, the event brings together some of the area's top clothing designers and the people who love them - buyers, media, fashion industry members and, of course, me.
A jam-packed week of events made it tough to get to every show but I was fortunate enough to bookend the week by attending the "Red on the Runway" kickoff on Saturday, Jan. 18 and the grand finale show on Saturday, Jan. 25.
"Red on the Runway" was a benefit for the American Heart Association that addressed the need for heart disease prevention and research in a way that was uplifting and inspiring. The event paired StyleWeek designers with those who had been affected by heart disease in some way. Several Providence Warwick CVB members modeled men's fashions created by Marc Streisand of Marc Allen Fine Clothiers. RI Monthly Publisher John Palumbo gamely worked the runway, having fun with the casual wear, while Providence Biltmore Director of Catering Sales and bon vivant Scott Connery had a blast up on the catwalk.
The women's fashions were graded by a panel of judges, including me. We were asked to rate each of the designs, with the winner being named. The red-hued gowns were all gorgeous but two that stuck out were Providence-based Jess Abernathy's nod to old movie glamour and Jonathan Joseph Peters' frothy cocktail dress. The well-deserved winner was a stunning, slinky creation by Samuel Vartan modeled by heart attack survivor Deb Koziol.
Closing night proved just as glamorous with a show by newcomer Nick Pini and two "Project Runway" alums, David Chum and Jonathan Joseph Peters. Pini wowed with sleek, sexy designs in neutral tones, while Chum's work had a modern ease. Peters, known for his whimsical and cheeky shows, had the crowd on its feet with brightly-hued designs that were elegant, beautifully constructed, and - above all - a whole lot of fun.
Kudos to the StyleWeek team, led by the uber-glamorous yet totally down-to-earth Rosanna Ortiz Sinel, for another wonderful week of city chic.