by Peter Tung
The Ross Bennett collection walking down the runway.
A recap of Austin Fashion Week's awards show.
As the clouds set in above Austin Music Hall early Saturday evening, attendees were greeted by an unexpected guest – rain, foreshadowing a new start for the community to reenergize and celebrate their accomplishments throughout fashion week at the awards show.
Electric pop violinist Josh Vietti returned from last year’s performance, setting a lively tone for host Sandy Mcllree of the Mix 94.7, JB & Sandy Morning Show. “State your goals publically and you will achieve them,”Mcllree said to the in-house talent.
Austin Fashion Week founder Matt Swinney introduced Allen Ruiz of Jackson Ruiz Salon, who presented the first Rising Star Award to Univision personality and celebrity stylist Christian Ramirez. Ramirez thanked the 40 plus nominees in the category, and acknowledged his wife’s support – evoking the humble spirit that many recipients kept in mind. “We made a lot of sacrifices together to be where I’m at,” said Ramirez, graciously accepting the sought after Golden Boot.
Receiving the first Trailblazer Award, stand out designer Dawn Younger-Smith of Boudoir Queen (cliental includes Tyra Banks and Lisa Marie Presley) made way for the beginning runway show: the work of Mash Up teams, a collaboration of local photographers, hair/make-up artists, models, stylists, clothing and jewelry designers.
Model Britany Walker (2011 Top Austin Model recipient) represented the collaboration of “Step Gold,” which swept people’s choice and the award honoring famed cotemporary photographer, the Timothy White Award.
CW Star Michael “Mic” Trotty was on hand with Heather Campbell-Green founder of the popular site Celebrity Style Guide, giving away a featured Zac Posen bag and Marc by Marc Jacobs dress to lucky audience members, previewing the final season of Gossip Girl and new series the Carrie Dairies.
Fashion awards runway veteran and 81 Poppies designer Michelle Weisman, was given the second Rising Star of the night by owner of BonBon jewelry collection, Micah Yancey. Shifting from awarding those in the early beginnings of their career to those who continue to solidify a permanent presence in the minds of the fashion conscious, the Trailblazer Award was given to Alissa Bayer, founder of Milk + Honey Spa.
Jewelry from 2011 Best Designer recipient Kendra Scott filled the runway, followed by the elegantly sheer detailed pieces from bridal wear designer Jessica Ciarla of Ciarla Bride.
Lance Avery Morgan (author of the Society Diplomat) gave another Trailblazer to Sue Webber head of the modeling agency Webber Productions. Her long standing background in the local industry led Webber to remember the time “where fashion and Austin was an oxymoron.” But with Rising Star Kristen Dickerson’s line Raven + Lilly bringing artisan fashions from Cambodia, Ethopia, and India together in one design, and as fellow recipient Lauren Polt’s game day apparel line Chicka- d sells nationwide --- the city that was once barely definable on a map, (as trailblazer recipient Patty Hoffpauir, owner of the Garden Room Boutique, reminisced upon) is now a defining point for style, music and culture alike.
Director of the Apparel Design Program, Eve Nicols, introduced her former student, Ross Bennett with a Rising Star Award and his new collection of classically tailored pieces, while the final runway show of New-York-based designer Margarita Saplala, illuminated relaxed looks in easy-to-wear styles, such as rompers and shirt dresses.
And as two fashion icons took the stage: long time friends, columnist/designer Stephen Moser and owner of Blackmail Boutique, Trailblazer recipient Gail Chovan, standing in all their experience and uniquely mysterious persona’s --- it left us wondering what’s next for the local fashion community that left the venue in the night’s most popular accessory, a plastic bag keeping their evening wear covered from the rain.
For more on Austin Fashion Week, visit my showcase event recap on their official blog here.