While the first two nights were reserved exclusively for designers, day three was all about beauty panels, education, and you know—parties. The night was dedicated to the art and beauty behind the runway shows, with experts in the field explaining what exactly goes into the hair, makeup and nails behind the scenes to give models that look of perfection. Which, as it turns out, it’s a lot.
Jan Nordstrom Arnold of CND Nails, Claudio Lazo of Wella, Kevin James Bennett of MUD and Marylle Koken of Sebastian International were all on hand to give us a blow by blow of backstage beauty. Coifed coils, pointed ponytails and fishtail braids were shown and explained in detail—which left us feeling much better about our messy buns, as it apparently takes a ton of teasing, twisting, product and sometimes multiple stylists to create a look. And we’re not going to do all work in our bathrooms every morning.
Needless to say the model’s makeup looked flawless and we got a few pointers on how to pull off that look at home. (We don’t need a team of experts, yay!) Kevin James Bennett of MUD first and foremost advised that we "don't stress about makeup. Anything that washes off that easily cannot be taken that seriously." Wise words. So if you’ve been hording an orange lipstick or electric green eyeliner that you had to have, but are now hesitant to wear—give it a go. We’ll just say we were less resistant to trying bright blue eye shadow and emerald eyeliner after that night.
The first evening of runway shows happened halfway through fashion week, but better later than never! C-Venti, Laced with B, Collections of Kathryn Elizabeth, Second Star Designs, CG by Cynthia Gutierrez, Mahogany Blues, Isabel Vianey, and designers from Bravo’s Styled To Rock Dexter Simmons, Cecilia Aragon, and Andre Soriano all premiered collections that evening. While it was clear it was the first time for some designers, other showed promise and a few seriously brought the house down.
Isabel Vianey designs were the epitome of ready to wear—we could have literally snatched an outfit right off those models! And with a bright pink and turquoise palette the collection is cool for summer, plus we loved all the metals she incorporates into the pieces. Everyone is grooving on street style (a.k.a. pile-on-as-much-as-you-can), but Kathryn Elizabeth achieved a whole new level of layering. Models came out in skimpy minis and dresses that were transformed mid-runway into floor skimming gowns. Two-in-one dresses? Yes, please.
While the swimwear that night from brands like Laced with B and Mahogany Blues was outstanding, (and made us wish it was the middle of summer), the designers from Styled To Rock pretty much stole the show. And how could they not with the amount of patent leather, taxidermy hats and bare-chested models?
The Dexter Simmons show, despite its creepy skeletal motif, was very pulled together with designs that ranged, channeling everyone from Galliano to Comme des Garçons. Andre Soriano went head-to-toe hardcore leather, complete with cops, handcuffs and more skin than anyone else would have dared to show during Fashion Week San Diego. The crowd loved it.
The second night of runway shows felt like the middle of summer with designers showing swimwear, light separates and bright tropical colors. The lady-like frocks at Diestra were so wearable and trendy that there were more than a few we wanted to take home. Even with crop tops and cutaway shirts the collection seemed easy to layer in cooler seasons.
A dog runway show (yes, it’s as cute as it sounds) was the favorite of the night with models trotting down the runway with a slew of adoptable pups from the local Humane Society. And personally we can’t think of anything better than hunky models holding puppies. But while the adorable dogs pretty much stole the show, on the fashion end nothing really came close to Maegan Stracy, whose collection was cohesive, conceptual and ambitious. Sure, it would be totally hard to wear those vinyl and mylar bodysuits and clear coats, but come winter we wouldn’t have to hide our outfits under heavy wools or worry about umbrellas. It’s a win-win.
The last night of runway shows they pulled out the big guns. Yuwei Designs sent gaudy metal jewelry down the runway that transformed the solid leather dresses each model was wearing into a full on fashion statement. Ashley Raymond evening dresses and bridal gowns were nothing short of stunning with different silhouettes for each type of bride, from chic to traditional to princess ballgowns. And the cuts and patterns at A’Doreus were flattering and on-trend, which is hard to pull off in plus size fashion. Making a statement on body image in the industry, she even selected her own full-figured models to walk in her show.
But because we love a good cocktail dress, the party frocks from Wish Now were undoubtedly the best of the night. Models danced around in mini puff dresses with bright colors and Betsey Johnson-esque details, giving us sweet bon-bon hues and sugar plum fairy shapes as inspiration for our next Christmas party.
The final day was a trunk show, dedicated to buying all the things we coveted on the runways over the past week. And despite there being a limited number goods, no one was hurt in the scramble to snatch up new duds. The winning designers of Fashion Week San Diego were announced, and as voted by the audience was the RHCreation team, with Wish Now and Greenpatcha coming in second and third, respectively.
The whole week was a fun, local event that offered a platform for aspiring designers to showcase their work in a way that they may not have had available to them on their own. We can always get behind new designers and emerging talent. And of course now we have a whole new week's worth of designs we want to cram into our closet because, you know, we have so much space.
Marissa Stempien graduated with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Asian Studies from San Francisco State University. Previously a beauty editor, Marissa now utilizes her love and passion of luxurious fashion everyday as Fashion Editor of JustLuxe. Originally from Santa Barbara, CA, Marissa has traveled to various cities across the globe, most recently returning from living abroad...(Read More)