Nashville Fashion Week is a citywide celebration of Nashville’s thriving fashion and retail community and its vast array of creative talent—featuring local, regional and national design talent in fashion events and shows, and encouraging both Nashvillians and visitors to explore the city’s diverse fashion and retail spaces throughout the week with promotions, partnerships and educational workshops.
Nashville Fashion week kicked off it’s second year on Tuesday, March 20, with a fashion show and musical performances at Marathon Music Works with red carpet coverage by the sensational fashionista, Suzy Wong. Chosen as the red carpet correspondent this year, she was stunning in her fabulous, disco ball corseted, black tulle ball gown. The gown, designed by Trevor Rains of T.Rains, was a thank-you gift for Suzy bringing him to NFW for the second year.
After an opening musical performance, the runway show began with Valentine Valentine, the highly anticipated collection by Amanda Valentine. Her works included remnants of her Midwestern upbringing — clean shapes and color blocking — layered with darkness, humor, and nods to the richness of culture and history, creating a hybrid of references, marrying international culture with pop culture. Valentine’s collection painted a picture of a strong armored, almost futuristic ‘all-knowing’ woman. It was full of black, navy, silver, and forest green with accents of leather and iridescent silver. Intermixed with girly A-lined skirts and fitted leggings were tops adorned with breastplates or crosses made from leather. Crop tops, capes and hooded tops really took this collection to the next level. It was something fresh, fun and new yet wearable and cohesive.
Following another musical performance Smith Sinrod hit the runway with by SMITH. Launched in spring 2010, by SMITH featured a collection of sophisticated, chic apparel for women recognizable for its use of Thai silk, vibrant colors and bold patterns. The clothes were full of whimsical, modern silhouettes and vibrant colors. The silhouettes were very classy and stayed young by adding color. The details were seen in color lined pockets, coloring-block stripes and colored covered buttons.
The finale of the evening was Trevor Rains’ collection, T. Rains. The former co-creator of the fashion brand Heatherette, Rains’ own T. Rains brand featured designs from silk-screened tank tops and T-shirts to custom couture dresses. Unlike the other collections of the evening, this one catered to both men and women, featuring everything from sexy men’s speedo bottoms to women’s couture ball gowns that had very different, detailed, drop-waisted corseted tops. Each model was adorned with an over-the-top colored wig and some were even accessorized with starfish and netting. The music was fun and upbeat, which instantly boosted the mood in the room.
On Wednesday, NFW returned to Marathon Music Works and featured Leona as the first of five collections to hit the stage for the evening. From the creative mind of Lauren Leonard, Leona redefines the term Southern belle with inspirations from Manhattan and Tokyo, balancing whimsical detailing and sophisticated silhouette. The collection was full of fun, flirty dresses and feminine tailored pieces.
The Wai Ming collection was inspired by designer Emily Brady Boplar's multicultural background, global travel, and study of art, architecture and street style. Wai Ming had a fresh, timeless quality and was crafted with luxe fabrics from Italy, Japan and China. The collection was full of beautiful navy blues and grey. Camel accessories, tweed, and leather were used to accent the minimalist pieces.
Sjobeck followed Wai Ming with a collection of neutral toned women’s work wear items. The grays were accented with mustard and snake sheer print. Overall the collection was simple with classic cuts and prints and modern cropped layers.
Eva Franco’s self-named collection was full of feminine and flirty dresses and skirts. The pieces were all unique yet appeared that they were each pieces of interchangeable sets. She began the show with grey and black color blocked dresses and skirt combinations. Following the color block set was a set of outfits with a large sunglass print. This print was beyond adorable and I loved it! Franco’s collection also included beautiful and detailed lace work.
The Zang Toi collection was Wednesday night’s finale, and the dramatic collection started in white, faded to grey, then to black, with some pieces featuring breathtaking beadwork. Toi’s gowns showed his exquisite knowledge of the fabrics he used and how they would lay on a women’s body. The colors were strong and demanded attention, creating a truly moving collection.
Thursday night was the final night at Marathon Music Works and the NFW team was determined to do a show like no other. There were no runways in site; instead individual ‘rooms’ had been created using white hanging curtains. Wanting a night to highlight local designers, NFW asked each one to create 5 cohesive pieces to put into a live art installation. Of the seven collections shown, three really stood out.
Pink Elephant’s collection by Nashville native, Truly Alvanrengas was inspired by the book The Poison Diaries by Jane Duchess of Northumberland. It’s a gothic tale of an orphaned boy and his relationship with poisonous plants. Alvanrengas collection was almost a blend of Tim Burton and Alexander McQueen. The craftsmanship and attention to detail set this collection above the rest. It had it’s own personality and each ‘living model’ in the installation spoke for itself.
Brittany Blairs’ self-named feminine collection and installation was set up as if each of the women was attending a magical tea party. Blair blended nude-rose pieces into outfits were completely wearable.
Jessica Jones’ Tuft offered paired laid back sensibility with classic silhouettes in bright hues and bold patterns. The Tuft collection was brought to life by Jessica’s own version of a girl rock brand, and she found inspiration in the “California girl”. The designs were colorful, fun, and Jone’s ability to mix color, print, and fabric made it stand out among the other designers.
Friday night, the runway shows moved to the Parthenon Pavilion at Centennial Park. With the statue of the goddess Athena towering over the runway, the sold-out show was magical.
White Rabbit by Shea Steele drifted between accessories and head to toe looks and was the product of an adept creative core. Steele's work spanned from art school cool to refined fashion seamlessly with bold, smart design and askew color combinations that appealed to a range of individuals. The collection was one of bold and full shapes with geometric printing and used pattern in a fresh, fun way to create looks that could easily be worn from day to day.
Red Doll by Tatyana Merenyuk was a crowd favorite of the night. Each dress that came down the runway was sexy, feminine, and sultry and was made up of blacks, creams, and reds. While using the classic colors, prints, and cuts, Merenyuk created a sophisticated but sexy look with sheer fabrics and added layering.
Katharine Kidd’s second show in Nashville did not disappoint. With a collection of navies, blacks, and reds, she honed in on beautiful lace dresses, detailed bowed and backless blouses, and navy sequined cocktail dresses. Each item was beautifully crafted and made to fit a woman’s body like a glove.
The Versace Collection closed the evening runway show with men’s and women’s designs, but the men’s collection stole the show with bold colors, classic cuts, a royal fit.
For its final night NFW moved to the 21st floor of the Pinnacle building for the Saturday showings.
Jamie and the Jones collection was the first down the runway. The brainchild of Nashville designers Jamie Frazier and Hannah Jones, the collection was smart and feminine and featured knitting, crochet, embroidery, beading, and hand painting are all hallmarks.
Kal Rieman was the collection by Cleveland native “Cally” Rieman. With an unconventional path into the world of fashion, her collection had menswear inspirations, and she mixed it up by adding feminine elements, such as bow-tie blouses and feminine prints and materials.
The Sylvia Heisel label embodied simplicity, creativity, technology, sustainability and quality. Influenced as much by contemporary art and design as the fashion world, Heisel’s line focused on a wardrobe and lifestyle staples, by reinventing them with new cuts, construction and fabrications.
Magid and Michele Bernard make up the luxury fashion house, Magid Bernard. Their love of art, architecture, beauty and design of every kind drive their selection of luxurious European textiles which they crafted into timeless designs with a twist. Well-known for its attention to clean lines and elegance, the line’s astonishingly engineered bias-cut dresses, French laces, and hand-embroidered fabrics were favorites among an international clientele. The collection also featured a black, sleeveless maxi dress that had a very small sheer panel right the knee cap that made the dress stand out.
Randi Rahm’s self-named collection was the finale of Nashville Fashion Week. Each dress of Rahm’s hand beaded collection had a certain uniqueness to it, and the collection was sent down the runway in color sets. The color scheme changed from ivory to teal, to silver, black and gold, rose and the finale dress was a stunning beaded silver halter adorned with a veil. The collection was truly a masterpiece because of Rahm’s ability to create with different materials. She has mastered the type of craftsmanship it takes to be a game changer in the ever changing fashion industry.
Saturday night at the Pinnacle Building was the perfect finale to an amazing, fashion filled week. With each new day, came new designs, and one never truly knew what to expect.