Austin Fashion Week – La Zona Rosa Runway Shows – Day Three

The Austin fashion designer reality stars were the headliners on the last night of the runway shows at La Zona Rosa.  In two years, Austin designers have appeared on Project Runway and the NBC Fashion Star show. Ross Bennett, Season 1 designer for NBC Fashion Star, Priscilla Barroso and Amber Perley, Season 2 designers for NBC Fashion Star and Daniel Esquivel Season 11 final four designer.  While the lights of hollywood put the twinkle in each of these fashion reality stars eyes, it was very apparent each designer felt right at home under their won runway lights in their own backyard.  Showing at Austin Fashion Week allowed these designers to relax and show their own creativity to the audience without Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia or Jon Varvatos to critique them. (now we would invite either one of them to join us for the the front row for sure!)
Austin Fashion Week founder Matt Swinney said, “It’s great to have so many local designers on fashion reality television.  It’s all happened within just in the last couple of years.   I think it’s a real testament that our fashion scene is growing, that those shows even want to come to come here and interview our designers.  Having three (designers) on Fashion Star in two seasons is amazing, and then Daniel Esquivel on Project Runway making it , not just being on the show but being one of the stars of the show, I think is a huge testament to someone who quite honestly, in the fashion scene locally , at lot of people didn’t know.”
The weather for the entire fashion week was gorgeous, so that meant that the odds were on Mother nature  to give us a little reminder that it’s May in Austin.   The heaven’s parted with a downpour as the  first few models took to the runway complete with hail, wind and lightning. The show did go on, but I have to be honest, hearing the hail come down on the roof at La Zona Rose was a bit concerning for me and the photographers standing by me as emergency alerts went off on our phones.   I was watching live weather radar in between models but the rain subsided and it was back to shooting the runway shows.
For each of the Austin designers told me their personal excitement about showing at Austin Fashion Week.  Priscilla’s collection was inspired by her travels and living out of a suitcase for the last year and Dream Pop. Priscilla Barroso also told me why this runway show was so special, “what is so exciting about this and about tonight is that it’s my first official runway show besides Fashion Star. I just launched my line last year so this is all new. This is a storyline of my life, coming from the beginning launching of the line, you’ll see some original looks seeing some of that, some of the fan favorites moving into Spring and you’ll see some new pieces from my Fall collection.”
Amber 1Amber Perley’s show was an extension of her in-store event held at Hemline on 2nd Street earlier in the week complete with a candy theme. Her bright sorbet colored dresses and flirty, simple and wearable summer sportswear, bounced down the runway accessorized with models holding brightly colored candy.
The audience expected to see the traditional side of Ross Bennett but got something much different. His collection entitled, Classical Chaos, infused a much more playful and youthful feel than what we have typically seen in the past. Ross also showed prints which is way out of his comfort zone. “It’s all inspired by all the chaos that is in in my life and all the different projects that I’ve been doing since Fashion Star”, Bennett added.   This collection was interesting and tailored for a multi-generational fashion taste. My personal favorite was a black and white plaid halter (and super short) dress with a corset with a red lace up.  Adorable and a crowd favorite.  Ross also mentioned, “I”m really trying to grown my business, where my heart is and that’s here in Texas and then branch out to New York, LA, wherever I need to go .”
Project Runway Season 11 Final Four designer Daniel Esquivel was right at home backstage finishing up some work at his sewing machine, “My fittings were this afternoon, so it’s just tapering and hemming, EASY!” It’s not a competition, it’s showing my point of view for Spring and Summer and having Fun! His collection was very entertaining sending a black and white polka dot strapless gown accented with bunny ears on the bodice. Other pieces included a short shift dress with appliqued silver lazer cut dots and a finale gown with layers of pink chiffon and silver leather straps worn by the CW Star Taylor Ellison.
Vian Hunter, also from  the NBC Fashion Star show showed her collection to the Austin crowd complete with looks in animal print, bright spring colors of coral and yellow and my personal favorite, the micro mini in black lace.  The three gal design trio, April Moore, Melissa Grimes & Courtni Tyre have deep southern fashion roots.  They all met at The University of Alabama and graduated with degrees in Apparel & Textiles Design in 2007.   They formed Three07 and the business made its debut in 2010.  The pieces were adorned with Kendra Scott jewels and their simple, Bohemian Romance collection is perfect for a hot, southern afternoon…just pair it with your favorite fruity drink and you look will be complete.
I got to see the Lilly Lorraine collection in New York in February at Nolcha Fashion Week.  This is an independent fashion event that gives up-and-comers a place to show their collections.  Designer Christi Craven has created a wonderful lightweight, luxurious fiber called Bambli consisting of cashmere, merino and bamboo.  While it may sound like it’s a heavy as a heavy blanket, think again.  There were a few pieces added to the collection the collection and this was truly one of the more fashion-forward and elegant collections I saw on the runway at La Zona Rosa.
We bit a fond farewell to the 2013 Austin Fashion Week.  We embraced the changes, we believe the in the Austin Fashion community and can’t wait to talk about new successes amongst us all.
article picture: top photo – Ross Bennett Collection / Gregg Cestaro
article picture: side photo – Pearl Southern Couture / Sparky Anderson

Click Here to see Amber Perley Collection, Pearl Southern Couture
Click Here to See the Ross Bennett Collection
Click Here to See Priscilla Barroso’s Collection Crowned Bird
Click Here to See Daniel Esquivel’s Collection
Click Here to See the Lilly Lorraine Collection
Click here to see the Three 07 Collection
Click Here to see the RNV by Young & Fabulous collection
Click Here to see the Vian Hunter Collection

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