You know you're at Phoenix Fashion Week when two men ask you to snap a cellphone photo of them and they proceed to artistically direct the "shoot." True story.
The final evening of Fashion Week 2012 brought together the best bunch of designers, including Dubai-based Furne One (pronounced fern oh-nay), of the three-day event. While that had us wondering why the entirety of the event wasn't equally elevated, we were glad to not sit through another evening of embarrassments mixed in with competent creations at Talking Stick Resort.
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With the extra excitement came such extra entertainment from the audience as a man yelling about someone taking his seat and an apparently intoxicated young woman who took to the runway strutting between shows and proceeded to elude security by prancing up and down aisles with her hand in an I'm-a-little-teapot position. Secretly, we hoped that she would reappear at an inopportune moment, like during the emerging designer winner announcement, but, after security finally got a hold of her, she disappeared.
Bri Seeley nabbed the emerging designer title (and the $10 thousand that comes with it) after debuting her line of 1950s silhouettes, flowing dresses, and high-waist skirt in teal and creamy whites. As our top
pick from the get-go, we were glad to see the nod go to the talented Seattle-based (probably not for long) designer.
The remainder of the emerging pack showed strong, too. Phoenix's own Envy by Khahn showed angular, color-blocked dresses reminiscent of Zac Posen. He shined most when straying from his tendency to pair black with another bold color (in our opinion it ends up cheapening both) and working with pink, gray, and black.
We enjoyed Suzanne Lay's color play, successfully and suprisingly matching ochre with icy blue and burnt sienna.
While Italia Rocks Couture showed well-constructed garments, her evening wear was over-wrought with tacky colors and way too much sparkle.
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When it came to established designers, we didn't have many complaints. SJ Couture's wedding dresses were a delightful opening with delicate, airy cover-ups and floral appliqués. Bel Kazan was one of our favorites -- and one of the most wearable, sell-able women's collections we saw during fashion week -- with naturalist prints and beautiful draping. Enzoani's cocktail dresses felt plucked from Joan's wardrobe on Mad Men, in all their curve-hugging glory. And impeccable menswear label élevée absolutely lived up our expectations we'd formed based on the always-well-dressed Percy Knox.
All eyes were fixated on Furne One's collection. With hyper-detailed pieces that referenced pop culture, sainthood, and religious iconography, the diva duds were every bit as outlandish and imaginative as they were immaculately crafted.
Next year we hope to see the quality and creativity from this year's closing night during each show. Phoenix is ready, and our fashion week has proven that it can deliver.