Day 4 Emerging Designers CFW

by Mikelle S

label isobel and cleo
Fall 2011 at Charleston Fashion Week

If you’ve ever seen something and known with a sort of innate certainty that you were privvy to something right before it hit mainstream and blew up, then you may have an inkling of what it was like to watch Charlotte Hess‘s Fall 2011 collection walk down the Charleston Fashion Week runway. The whispers were incessant, and during the finale walk, the crowd rewarded Hess with a standing ovation so there was really no need to even announce that Hess had in fact won both the Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice award of the night. The collection was done entirely of knitwear and in her preshow video Hess admitted in her own quirky way,

“I hope Stella McCartney sees my knitwear and says ‘You are friggin awesome!'”

While Stella McCartney may not have been present, Najee Wilson of Vent Magazine was and didn’t hesitate in tweeting “Vent Magazine needs everything Charlotte Hess just sent down the runway!!” He wasn’t the only industry person excited as even a few of the judges snapped a few pictures of Hess’s collection. Filled with a tribal/ethnic overtone, the collection was majestic in feeling, and made even me swell with pride even though I had nothing to do with it’s production.

label Althea
Fall 2011 at Charleston Fashion Week

Thea Calnas‘s Fall 2011 collection was most certainly eye catching. Full of bold prints and colors, the collection is composed of Filipino textiles that create what Canlas herself describes as “a more modern take with avant-garde shapes and textures and hints of Victorian details.” Canlas, who found out about the competition through Craigslist, cites Hussein Chalayan as well as Alexander McQueen as influences, and always likes to juxtapose concepts and find a healthy meeting point in collections. The collection was most certainly not the first of the night to remind me of a few London designers, and wasn’t the last. I did find myself pleased though as the soundtrack featured M.I.A. and Rye Rye.

label La’Daska Mechelle
Fall 2011 at Charleston Fashion Week

The collection that La’Daska Powell sent down the runway was the second swimwear collection of the competition. Composed of neutral tones with sheer cutouts, the collection seemed to hearken back at some points to Mugler, with the grey one piece that had small shoulder flaps, but throughout seemed to contain an underlying strand that seemed very Versace. While there could have been more editing to ensure cohesion, the collection was still a notable one. Powell’s start in evening gowns makes little appearances throughout the collection with little tweaks for the sleeves of the garments.

label Life During Wartime
season Fall 2011 at Charleston Fall 2011

Isabel Crosby‘s collection was labeled as “women’s and men’s contemporary/street-style wear.” While I wasn’t quite sure what that was I found myself liking a few pieces. A collection that was one of the most ready to wear of the collections presented, pieces seemed a bit more of the “great thrift store finds” variety than the “standouts on the runway” type. That being said, the pieces were solid pieces, with a hard working seersucker, and even a good bit of military overtones. The cape to me was the most covetable.