Saturday was the big finale show of Cincinnati Fashion Week (CFW) and it was like Christmas. I woke up like a little kid with a big smile on my face, hopped down the stairs, and pranced in front of the mirror holding up my new dress. I was so excited.
I had really done my homework on the designers this year. (I did a sneak peek of CFW designers here, here and here.) And I just got a really good vibe from new aspects of this year’s show versus last year’s. The venue, for example, made a dramatic difference. Last year, it was in a cookie-cutter event room in the Hilton. This year, it was a very raw space – in an unfinished floor of The Edge condos downtown – and it had a very underground “say the secret password to get in” feel to it. Much like a space you’d find a New York Fashion Week show taking place.
My hubby and I get all dolled up, GPS it to the venue, get out of the car… and wouldn’t you know it, Mayor Mallory is walking down the sidewalk heading toward the show. So, we walk in with him, and find out he’ll be co-emceeing with my sister-in-law (Melissa Scalia who was the super fab emcee of the event!). So, several more great vibes about the night to come…
We were of course fashionably late, so the show started right after we got there. Looking back, I wish I had more time to brace myself. It was an incredible show and I’m still reeling. It was so difficult to choose my favorite looks from the show to share with you (watch the below video to see ALL the looks from the show, thanks to the talented Annette Navarro).
Last year, I easily picked my top 10 favorite looks from the show. This year, I had a VERY difficult time narrowing it down to just 20 looks. That’s how good the show was! Below are the notes I took at the show about each designer and below that are my favorite looks in order of 20-1, #1 being my favorite. Enjoy!
Laura Dawson – oversized silhouettes, strong shoulders, 80s color palette
Jonathan Mezibov – “cowboy chic” menswear, interesting mix of tux shirts with western belts/jeans/boots
Amy Kirchen – (my overall favorite) designed a playful new paisley pattern, all the looks were made with the posh professional in mind
Avani – eco friendly, Indian influences strong throughout collection, interesting necklines – even incorporated scarves onto garments
Cala Ossidiana – has one- and two-piece suits, but excels at making one-piece bathing suits “chic,” customizes fit w/knots for couture fit, incorporates strategically placed sheer, color palette of solid pink/blue/teal
Amanda Valentine – Nashville meets Egyptian meets African. You’ll find everything from denim to ethnic graphic prints in this collection.
Melissa Tabor – (my new obsession) business professional chic, perfect for the work hard/play hard YP – business by day chic by night, Jackie O in front/party in the back, exposed zipper down the back of most backs
Arbitrage – all items hand sewn by Josh Stevens, leather details, short sleeves, leather glove accent
Lindsey Lusignolo – (I wish she would have gone last – it would’ve ended the show with a bang… she got a standing ovation.) intricate backs, formal/bridal, unique and fabulous cocktail attire
Amaresinh – “boardroom cavewoman” (fur on shoulders/forearms/sleeves made silhouettes look a little monkey/neanderthalish), great color palette mix of black/gold/red, strong shoulders and graphic patterns, lots of sheer (a little too sheer for me to wear though, definitely saw some nip slips… okay for the runway, but it might be frowned upon in the workplace). : )
#20: Barefoot in the boyfriend’s shirt… I just love that this look was thrown in a menswear portion of the show. Reminds me of all the times I’ve run around the house in my husband’s clothes. Gives me inspiration to throw on a belt and some cowboy boots next time and make an outfit out of it.
#19: Collar me bad… The attached scarf-as-collar to this dress was just so interesting. I don’t know if I could personally pull this look off, but it really intrigued me. Keep in mind that, as Avni told Cincy Chic in her sneak peek interview, all these items are handmade and dyed using century-old methods. Ah-maz-ing.
#18: Knotty by nature… One of the things I learned in my interview with Anne Pachan, the brains and beauty behind Cala Ossidiana, is that these knots can be adjusted for the perfect couture fit. And I just love how her design actually makes a one piece swimsuit chic versus shlumpadinka.
#17: Jackie Ooooh My, look at that back!… This is the first of many Melissa Tabor looks in my “top 20” rundown. She’s definitely my new obsession. I love the “professional in front, party in the back” design (although it was a little big on this model). I could easily wear this to work. Every single day. Because I love it so.
#16: Pretty in Paisley… This is the new fabric print Amy Kirchen designed herself. Several pieces in this collection feature this fun print. My husband wants to get a vest made with this print on the back and a dress shirt made with it inside the collar and cuffs (I’ve trained him well!). I love the silhouette of this dress. Could be belted for a more fitted look, or flow freely as pictured (great for hot muggy Cincy summer days).
#15: Peekaboo LBD… Melissa Tabor gives this classic LBD a flirty twist with a slightly lifted front, cascading to the back, with a contrasting white fabric to add interest. What a great wardrobe staple.
#14: Singing the blues… I don’t sing, but I would if it would bring back this blue pinstripe ensemble. I love how effortless this “casually business casual” look is. I especially love the baby blue fabric peeking out of the back pockets. Nice touch.
#13: Get the scoop(neck)… I love the deep scoop on this neckline and the cute capped sleeves. I personally would have paired it with a statement necklace, but it’s one of those necklines that doesn’t need accessorizing. It’s a statement in and of itself.
#12: Falling in love… This is a great look for fall. I’m definitely going to steal this styling by belting an otherwise boxy longsleeve dress with a great pair of tall boots. The feminine ribbon is a nice touch to this thick fabric and structured silhouette.
#11: Like a glove… Arbitrage makes this one-glove look fit like, well, a glove. I really like the blue buttondown paired with this rust-colored leather jacket. The shorter sleeves give it a crisp look and draws attention to that statement glove.
#10: Jump(suit) to it!… Jumpsuits have the tendency to look a little silly if they aren’t done just right. Well, Amy Kirchen designed this one to perfection. From the feminine spaghetti strap, gathered neckline and belted waist, I’m in love from head to toe.
#9: Short sale… Just like the jumpsuit, shorts can go tragically wrong. But Amy brilliantly balanced out the sexy shorts with a billowing blouse. Amy must have designed this collection with the businesswoman in mind. I can literally see myself taking a client to a summertime lunch in this outfit. I’m going to justify the purchase of this outfit by all the sales I’ll make in it. See, it’s an investment.
#8: Sheer genius… A simple triangle string bikini taken to an extreme with a little sheer. So smart. Now, excuse me as I diet for the rest of my life to fit into this.
#7: White out… I don’t know what it is, but there’s something so special about this little white dress. It’s so classic, but with fun fashionable twists like the pockets. I want it. I need it. I must have it. “And your little broach, too!”
#6: Belt it out… I love the dress. But I love the way its belted even more. I would have never done that in a million years. But now that I see it styled that way, I’m completely wooed.
#5: Get the Dert… Denim + skirt = dert! I just made that up. But what I didn’t make up is how adorable this skirt is – love the piping! The sheer blouse and knitted sweater were also very cute. I wouldn’t have paired these colors or items together, but they really work!
#4: Silver lining… Light catches the outer tulle fabric of this couture cocktail dress, revealing a slim silhouette underneath. Gorgeous. I love how it looks simple and not overdone, but you’d clearly feel like an absolute princess in it.
#3: Tuxas… Tux shirt + western wear = Tuxas. Yes, I’m getting a little giddy (for good reason, we’ve almost reached the top of the list!). But this particular look ranks so high because: 1) the bold color choice is amazing. I love how it just jumps out at you and demands attention (as every metro man does). 2) pairing a tux shirt with wrangler-fit denim, a western belt and cowboy boots. I don’t know how, but it works.
#2: Birds of a feather… I’d flock to anyone wearing this cocktail dress, that’s for sure. The feathery bodice has a structured, yet satiny tan overlay. It’s like a buffet of contrasting texture. The overlay gives a beautiful hourglass figure, but the silhouette is essentially a classic strapless A-line dress. Love.
#1: Drum roll please… This look gave me butterflies. And I think I might have drooled a little bit. I just love ab-so-freakin-lutely everything about it. From the belted high-waisted pencil skirt in tan, to the structured yet sheer chiffon black blouse with barrel sleeves and ascot collar. Then bold black shades and a ravishing red lip. It’s a little Audrey, Marilyn and Jackie O… all weaved into this #1 look from Cincinnati Fashion Week!
Hope you enjoyed my top picks! Now, check out the video below to see all the looks from CFW to see which ones are best in your book!