Project Runway Designer's Line at Phoenix Fashion Week

The third runway show of Phoenix Fashion Week 2008 took place Friday night in a loft-like space in the unfinished condos at Hayden Ferry Lakeside. The bulk of the evening's participating designers presented T-shirts -- seriously, four lines of T-shirts in a row, which made me itch to run off to Target, get some long, soft V-necks on clearance for about seven bucks each, and put my own pretty designs on them.

But if you have someplace to wear a couture T, I recommend the ones from Muze Apparel: Every time I read one of their "classic movie" quotes out loud to the lady on my left (who couldn't focus as clearly on fast-moving models), she burst out laughing: "Oh, Stewardess, I speak jive." "You'll get nothing and like it." "It's not a motorcycle, baby, it's a chopper." Etc. And the text is incorporated into cute-ass graphics, so it's not just a shirt with words.

By the time the designs from Smoke & Mirrors hit the runway, it was standing room only and DJ Mr. P-Body's musical selections had the crowd salivating for some glamour and, not uncoincidentally, some exposed skin. And they got them.

Smoke & Mirrors designers Michelle Chaplin and Emily Brandle (yeah, yeah, the one who was on Project Runway Season Five) presented their upcoming spring/summer collection of little dresses (many with vertical butt ruffles, which create a lovely silhouette but are a detail I prefer to see in fabrics that have more body), shorty halter-top rompers, and stuff like that. They stuck with a few boldly printed fabrics, which probably makes mixing and matching a snap if you want to buy multiple pieces, but if you don't care for teal and magenta (as I don't), you might not be nuts about this particular season at the house of S&M. I do like the tight cropped pants/flirty top combos -- they look really chic and kind of '50s L.A., and one of them was shown in subdued, classy black and white.

Speaking of flirty, maybe you already know this, but the doormen and serving wenches at Radius, the home of Friday's PFW after-party, are especially smiley-faced and adorable. Most of the female drink-bringers looked spiffy in high black boots and tiny tight dresses, and the rest were wearing what remains of the world's inventory of perilously low-slung trousers (remember those?). The gents weren't so stylin', but their combo of buffness and diplomacy is beautiful to watch.

A highlight of the late evening at Radius was a runway show of "sexy Halloween" costumes from If you check that link, you'll see that just about anything can say "sexy Halloween" if you make it scanty enough and maybe add some thigh-high stockings and stilettos. Like, say, Disney's Cinderella. Ow.

If you can track down Smoke & Mirrors' previous seasons' inventory (which they displayed on a rack at Friday's show), their black-and-gold-lace Babe dress is a super-cute empire-waist mini, with a low-cut, strappy bodice, that would dazzle any holiday bash. Folks were also snapping up Rekha Krishnamurthi's Divine dZigns. The colorful, elegant cotton-blend tops come in styles to suit almost every body type, and when Krishnamurthi takes them back to New York, they're gone -- unless a savvy buyer gets them into a Valley boutique.

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Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson