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FASHION FRIDAY: On the Runway at Tampa Fashion Week

Every year there is a week in September where fashion worshippers drop all other plans and gather to see the new collections of major designers. While the cities that claim the most headlines and attention are New York, London, Milan and Paris; that does not mean that Fashion Week is limited to just those cities. All across the globe, smaller cities have joined in the fashionable celebration to showcase their very own local talent and for the fifth year this includes our very own Tampa.

Designer: Lapratto

This week was Tampa’s turn for Fashion Week. This was a week full of fashion related events such as a children’s fashion show, cocktail parties, fashion seminars, shop openings, and of course, the grand finale: the runway show.

The runway show was hosted by Tampa’s very own, season 7 Project Runway contestant, Ben Chmura. This was a great surprise for me as a bit of a Project Runway addict. As host he was really sweet and had moments of comedic humor when his co-host made fun of him for being in New York for too long. He laughed and said that he was only two years into New York. Dressed in army print cargo pants, a black V-neck and black vest, he guided the audience through the show, introduced us to the local designers and gave his congratulations at the end of each collection.

Designer: Essence of Flowers

The collections varied widely in style: there was swimwear, lingerie, day wear, work wear, hand bags and accessories (which was a bit of a bizarre runway because they were modeled by men walking really slowly down the runway with what looked like papier-mâché lamp covers on their heads) ball gowns and the finale (my favorite runway) was metallic red carpet looks.

Designer: Ashton Anderson

I was very surprised as the models came down the runway. I didn’t know that Tampa had such a strong group of designers. Most of the looks were great and had a good concept behind them. I understood where the designers were coming from and what they envisioned but sometimes, the look got a little bit lost in translation and were far too costume-like for my particular taste.

Designer: Kimberly Hendrix

Some designers got it right as in the case of the final designer, Kimberly Hendrix. As all of Hendrix’s designs came down the runway, I fell in love. They were metallic pieces with clear historical conception and a bit of an urban twist. The models had frizzy ponytails and headpieces. I’m quite sure that the tan lines that they all sported were put there on purpose; a faux pas made acceptable on the runway. The collection was fun and youthful, different from anything you’ve ever seen and honestly, worthy of going down the New York, London, Milan or Paris runway.

Designer: Rhonda Shear

Photos by Michelle Assaad.

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