Story by Julia Bratu
Photos by Victoria Frank
The RVA Fashion Week Boutique Fashion show was hosted by the charismatic Jonathan Copeland, boutique manager for Dress for Success RVA. They strutted out onto the runway before each collection with a new 60’s inspired outfit from each designer and boutique, as well as a fun tidbit of fashion history and knowledge of the highlighted designers.
The first designer on the runway was “Designs by Michelle Livigne.” All of the designs down the runway were hand sewn and inspired by drag costume. Each piece was magnificently crafted with emphasis on true glamour. Leather, sparkles, sequins, and feathers made their way down the aisle wrapped up in dresses and bodysuits that stretched across every color of the rainbow. There was a daring allure with this line; one dress featured a ski mask set with a large bow on the back, turning the typically foreboding accessory into a picturesque expression of femininity.
Another dress innovatively incorporated a gorgeous rainbow of butterflies that fluttered as the model walked. Michel Livigne’s line had onlookers breathless, and their was a sense of loss as the last models made their appearance on the runway.
The next designer was announced excitedly as Daphne Maxwell Reid. Some of our readers might remember her as Aunt Viv from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. We were able to speak with her after the show, and found out that each of her pieces was overseen by her personally– and amazingly, her mastery of design could be attributed to the fact that she had been sewing since she was nine years old. As luck would have it, Richmond was host to Mrs. Reid’s second collection.
Her line included an array of Chinese inspired jackets with strikingly colored brimmed straw hats. Beautiful floral and traditional Chinese patterns woven with metallic thread flashed against the silk fabrics of the jackets. Each design that made its way down the runway had an air of elegance, but also of comfort. The most marvelous piece was showed last, sporting a fur collar and cuffs- a design fit for royalty.
Rumors boutique of RVA was the third line to show, exporting a different attitude entirely with their bright button up shirts and geometric patterns. There was a healthy mix of classy and casual looks showcased. Night life inspired-outfits featured shiny and iridescent fabrics, or sequined bodycons.
The theme for daywear was based around Red, blue, yellow, green, and orange colors all juxtaposed around a shirt or dress with a geometric or palm leaf pattern. These looks in particular were summer ready and showed how rumors is able to keep up with the ever evolving cycle of fashion.
A boutique based in Carytown followed. Clementine focused their line on looks with florals on top of white. Thin satin chokers were juxtaposed against exotic patterns and bright colors, and fringe dominated the runway for this stretch of time. Every look down the runway had a sense of bohemian summer sophistication, with refreshing style that was reminiscent of a sweet Hawaiian sunset.
After a brief intermission Salome Styles made their way down the runway. The designer, Salome, is also an actress and model herself. RCFU had a brief moment to speak with her, and found that she went to school in Milan and has travelled all over the world. Her own designs were inspired by her home country, Ethiopia, which is where all of her hand woven fabrics are sourced. Salome wanted the opportunity to be able to bring Richmond something different and fresh, and her cultured line is a wonderful example of her talent.
She featured designs with earthy tones, simple lines, and small elegant details. Some of the designs had small amounts of metallic gold embroidery that did not overpower the look but enhanced it and gave the model a natural glow. Turban head pieces were a showstopping addition to the outfits, bringing added charm to the already beautifully constructed clothing.
Ashby, also based in Carytown, had their moment as the next in line to show their styles for the season. Thin satin chokers with floral maxi dresses were bountiful, along with palm tree patterned shirts. This collection was interesting because it showcased more earthy tones and cool toned floral patterns mixed with black pieces. Worn in kimonos and dresses that moved like water enhanced the runway experience. Ashby was able to focus on what Richmond does best in keeping their style down to earth. There was definitely something for everybody down the runway this time.
The last featured boutique to show was yet another one based in Carytown. Eurotrash featured much darker colors than the previous boutiques.
Their colors consisted mostly of navy blue and white, with pleated weaves and floral and palm tree patterns. Some fringe highlighted the vintage craze that has been on trend in the recent months. Each of these looks were focused more towards appearing fun, but maintaining the idea that they could mean business.
Speaking of business, Dress for Success surprised show attendees with one last treat, a Devil Wears Prada inspired collection styled from their own stock of garments. In the words of the host, each of these looks emulated the “empowered business woman with a fashion edge.”
Blazers, satchels and sunglasses were plentiful on the runway. Button ups and cheeky, chunky jewelry gave off fierce vibes. Bodycon dresses paired with stylish blazers and lots of red accessories and clothing were an excellent addition this last collection. Each woman looked as if she were ready to buy out her opposing companies, write her memoir, and fire 10 employees all over a light lunch.
Each of the boutiques showcased in the RVA Fashion Week boutique show further established the bond that our local businesses have with their customers and fashion followers, and showed that each of these businesses is unique in style and ready to embrace that within the community.