Confession: I was a novice when it came to Fashion Week—that is until I attended FWSD (translation: Fashion Week San Diego). True, I’m a Project Runway devotee . . . so runway shows are no stranger to me. And truer, I love fashion and everything it entails—the clothing, the shoes, the accessories, the hair, the makeup—everything.
Yet, there’s nothing quite like being there. So step into my stilettos and let’s go where you’ll find lights, cameras and aisle action. The five-day event began with Wednesday’s concentration on beauty, specifically nails, hair and makeup and ended with Sunday’s trunk show. But the fun part started with the Thursday, Friday and Saturday night runway shows and each evening’s announcement, “Ladies and gentlemen, we ask that you take your seats. Our show is about to begin.”
As special as the event was its venue, the Broadway Pier, situated between the cruise ship terminal and the USS Midway Museum, a massive aircraft carrier. While getting settled into my seat, tapping my heels to the high-volume music and adjusting to dimmed lighting, an adjacent cruise ship pulled past us from its berth—underscoring that this Fashion Week is indeed in San Diego.
Let’s start the show. While 26 designers participated (local, national and international), here are my highlights:
Love, Charles – Self-described as a combination of “classic bikini styles with edgy street trends,” I detected a 40s vibe and especially loved the black-mesh fabrication of this local San Diego swimwear line created by best friends and designers Jenna McKown and Kimberly Dooley.
Dos Caras – Another dynamic duo, Aida Soria and Syncletica Maestas are San Diego residents who say they “make swimsuits for the beach at the beach” and whose designs have been so well received that they’ve earned a spot at New York Fashion Week. Their predominately mint green and pink collection memorably pranced San Diego’s red carpet with whimsical adornments—balloons.
Greenpacha – A true international operation, this collection of Panama hats is designed by Argentine San Diegan artistFlorencia Gomez Gerbiand created in the Ecuadorian tradition—each item is handmade, from the cutting of toquilla palm to the final product.Ecuador is the authentic home of the Panama hat and in honor of the notedtradition, Gerbi creatively reinvents the headwear for Greenpacha Hats for a Better World. The best part of their runway walk was the three-abreast finale stroll—Gerbi (carrying her toddling daugahter), her partner sister, Julieta Gomez Gerbi and the model—all (including baby Gerbi) wearing custom-made Greenpachas. Note: Greenpachas was recognized as second runner up for the FWSD 2013 Winning Designer designation.
RHCreation – If my assignment were to describe this line through word association, choices would be: delicate, flowing, flower-inspired, watercolor-like and colorful (think Caribbean hues). Like artwork on display, the collection that creators and resort wear partners Richard Henderson (Belize and Central America) and Tim McGee (San Diego) sent down the runway struck such a creative cord with the audience that it was rewarded by a standing O. Thus, it was no surprise to me that this collection was voted by the audience as the FWSD 2013 Winning Designer.
Final assessment: Bravo, San Diego. Bravo, Allison Andrews, director and founder of FWSD.
Bottom line: The city’s third Fashion Week was the kind of success that will beckon me to the fourth.