Columnist Mark Longacre recounts the runways and hottest styles of Philly Fashion Week.
Nothing excites me more than a fashion show–it’s a magical experience when hundreds of people gather together to be dazzled by an art that applies to everyday life.
During the weekend, FBH The Agency held Philadelphia’s fifth annual Fashion Week. Starting last Tuesday, Sept. 20, the agency hosted five events, all showcasing the work of different designers. Like New York Fashion Week, Philly hosted designers from across the country.
The runway shows were hosted in Temple’s backyard at the Crane Arts Building on West Jefferson and North American streets, and the ready to wear and couture shows were open to the public.
I was lucky enough to attend the event last year, and while I liked the designers’ lines I was very disappointed with the organization of the show. The entire event seemed unorganized, and unfortunately this year was no different.
The event page said it started at 7 p.m., but when patrons began arriving on time, they were forced to wait in an un-airconditioned room for upwards of 45 minutes on both nights. By the end of the wait, everyone was dripping sweat as if they had just run a marathon. What would Anna Wintour say?
Once everyone sat down and cooled off, the show began and we forgot about the sauna. Philly Fashion Week showcased designers who all had several common trends that are going to rock your wardrobe.
Unfortunately, there were only three lines that incorporated men’s fashion. Given that Philly’s fashion scene is up-and-coming, it would make sense to show more men’s fashion. New York designer D Marsh Men and New Jersey designer Osrick Ingredients Cricket both showed men’s lines for the spring that were very old-school prep. I felt like I could go up to the Hamptons and play polo in anything they designed. Of my favorite outfits was a dark blazer with white trim, a button up shirt, and khakis. It was a simple, yet sophisticated outfit that could go from casual Friday to the country club.
Autumnlin, the other designer showing men’s fashion, was very dramatic, like “The Matrix” meets “Doomsday.” While I didn’t see any practical opportunities to wear these clothes, it was a very artistic presentation.
Autumnlin had a very direct vision about her line and executed it well. In addition to men’s fashion, she also had women dressed in almost the same way as the men. Each outfit in her line was just as dramatic as the last.
Unlike New York Fashion Week where the fall shows display clothing for spring of next year, Philly Fashion Week showed both spring and winter lines. At first I was disappointed, but then I realized it’s actually beneficial for Philly Fashion week because it shows people what they should be buying in the winter, and how to transition those pieces into their spring wardrobe.
One hot trend appeared to be a modern take on the 1960s. New York designer Aso Damisi showed pieces with psychedelic designs on satin dresses in neutral colors. The outfit was topped off with feather earrings and feather shoes. D Marsh Women kept the 1960s theme going with a simple white button down blouse, tucked into a satin green skirt tied off with a thin belt sitting just below the buxom. It was very Bree Van De Kamp meets the 1960s.
Interestingly, skirts and dress inseams grew longer rather than shorter. Instead of sitting just above the mid-thigh, this skirt sat just above the knee. Less skin is so much more when it comes to fashion.
The modern take on 1960s fashion continued with Los Angeles designer English Clientele’s long, straight leg trousers that showed only the very bottom of a double-platform pump. The black trouser pants had a subtle reflective paisley print and were topped off with a backless shirt. It was a sexy yet sophisticated look that could easily transition from casual Friday to drinks with the girls.
Philly Fashion week showed many backless pieces, but put a spin on them by displaying the model’s jewelry on the back. Designer Adore showed a backless winter-white dress with jewelry on the back. The white dress and light jewelry contrasted the model’s chocolate skin almost perfectly, and it was an up-and-coming trend idea to look out for.
The women’s spring lines also featured paisley prints on high-waisted shorts, rompers and maxi dresses. Fortunately, anyone could transition the paisley pieces from winter into spring without breaking the bank.
High-waisted shorts and maxi dresses paraded through the Spring lines. Faithful, by Philadelphia University student Michael Thomas, incorporated a bright white romper with a simple gold chain at the waist. It was the perfect outfit to wear almost anywhere once spring hits. Rompers and maxi dresses are a perfect piece for anyone trying to emphasize the buxom and hips while hiding problem areas.
The winter and spring lines that stomped the runway at Philly Fashion Week were very hot, and there were lines that appealed to almost all tastes of style. Had the event been better organized, Philly could have more so made a name for itself in the fashion world, but its definitely a step in the right direction. Given that it’s only the fifth year FBH has put on the show, there is a lot of potential for the Philly fashion scene.
Mark Longacre can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org