StyleWeek Recap Featuring Fashion at Brown (F@B) and Four Regional Designers
The biannual fashion night gives local students and regional designers a chance to shine on the professional runway.
StyleWeek returned to the Capital Grille patio in Providence in mid-October with a series of five shows that featured the latest head-turning fashions from regional designers. The night kicked off with Brown University students presenting their looks in a Fashion at Brown (F@B) runway show. After the epic presentation, four established regional designers marched their latest collections down the runway, including Wow Qing, Born Again Vintage, Lalla Bee and Jacque Label.
Brown University fashion students got a taste of staging a professional runway experience by preparing for their StyleWeek debut, which involved more than twenty looks from twelve different designers. The designers spent all day preparing their looks for the epic show. Some of the designs came from last spring’s Fashion@Brown runway show. The jaw-dropper was a stunning red and gold satin gown with a high slit, but the crowd also applauded a powder blue Cinderella-like gown with layers of tulle. The plaid print coat featured blue-ribboned first place medallions, which I believe is a statement on trying to maintain perfection in today’s competitive society.
The Wow Qing show featured functional fashion pieces, some with two different looks in one design. Many of the garments evolved into entirely different pieces with just a few unzips and buttons. A few stealth assistants dressed in black on the runway helped transform the black quilted jacket into a dress and another long, flowing frock go from sleeveless to cape-like in just a few quick moves. Qing Li’s grandmother was a tailor and Qing Li learned sewing skills from her. The idea for the imaginative fashion series was an extension of Qing Li’s thesis collection, which was based on adults maintaining their childhood sense of adventure. The theme was “Become an adult who believes elephants can fly,” inspired by the children’s books that she would read to her son. “I think a lot of my design inspiration comes from my son, and the time I spend with him, the beauty he believes in, and the silly story he shared with me,” Li says. “I hope I can become the adult who believes elephants can fly after going through all the trials of life.”
Next up was Born Again Vintage, featuring previously loved fashions re-imagined into entirely new pieces. Bridgett Artise creates sustainable fashion by reworking what already exists in the world of textiles and making it fresh and new. She is also the Sustainable Content Creator at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Artise usually works in color, but decided to go monochromatic for this season’s collection. “My collections are usually colorful and vibrant,” Artise says. “I wanted to challenge myself to see how I could still create standout pieces void of color. Hence the All Black Collection.”
International designer Melina Cortes-Nmili of lalla bee focuses on creating timeless fashion in vivid colors and patterns. She featured various designs from A-line to a ball gown and from tea- to floor-length. She uses lush satin featuring bold floral prints to create garments that will stand the test of time. “This is the first full collection I have created since Covid,” says Cortes-Nmili. “While I don’t typically give my collections names, if you wanted to give it a name, it would be considered the ‘Essence’ collection. I went back and took some designs I had played with in the past and brought them back. The designs are comfy, airy, and free-flowing. It is focused on color.”
Jacqueline Monez’s avant-garde creations under her line, JACQUELABEL, wowed the crowd with colorful molded bodices featuring a drip technique and halter pieces combined with hard-edged mini skirts or flowing, romantic skirts. Other looks were structural wonders that looked like orchids and flowers in bloom. The designer is a Council of Fashion Designers in America (CFDA) Future Fashion Graduate 2021 and a graduate of Massachusetts College of Arts and Design with a BFA in Fashion Design and Fibers.