The Renaissance of Harlem will never diminish; and that was made clear through “Harlem’s Fashion Row” S/S 2010 collections. HFR Advisory member’s Harlem Height’s Briana Bigham, Ground Crew founder Audrey Smaltz, Michaela Angela Davis Urbanista’s and many more attended to enjoy the festivities! PR Noir housed the event of the night; at the lovely Harlem’s Gatehouse venue. As I walked in to take my seat I was overcome by how amazing the space was. The beautiful archways over the stage, marvelous lighting, and a youthful, yet talented pianist providing elegant music; set the standard for great things to come.
“Dream dreams that no one else can imagine and take chances that only God can see you through because your reality is not everyone elses.”-Creative Director Randal Jacobs
This to me was the theme of the night. Aspiring individuals should live by this creed daily; that was evident by the innovative, stylish and peculiar designs presented. Showcasing for the night was four designers ready to put on a show!
Romanians of romantics’ designers Julia and Natalia Alarcon, who presented Lialia, a well crafted line, blending elegance and enchantment. Breaking in the runway with a beautiful champagne lace and neon green lining cocktail dress; made the audience take notice of these novel designers. This line brought Europe to Harlem, by not just displaying the trend of a Jumpsuit or romper, but by presenting these pieces with complementing blends of fabrics and techniques. One of my favorite garments from this line was a chic yet seductive black metallic cocktail dress. The deep v-neckline with pleating collar and just below the knee hem-line; made it age appropriate for any women in a sexy disposition!
Dinna Soliman took a whimsical approach to her designs by using soft colors and light airy fabrics. This collection was classically playful for the everyday women. Great contemporary pieces were revealed and could easily be paired with a pant, blouse or accessory to take your simple wardrobe to the next level. For instance, a great puffed vest with descending pockets exhibited the innovative talent Soliman really is and will continue to be.
Designer Jose Duran presented a menswear line that told a barbarian’s story; so uninhabited and edgy, like a rebel opt to be! Duran “Mad Maxed” the runway with his avant-garde creations. Powdery make-up, braids, leggings and corset’s never looked so masculine, before Duran show! The music was as resilient as the clothes and hard-body models wearing them. He showed cut-outs, netted tops, extremely loose-fitted button downs, bold shouldered cropped jackets, and vintage aviator pants; abruptly putting to rest, that women are the only sex with the ability to dress daring!
Harlem’s own Rodney Epperson from season 6 Project Runway closed the show with an amazing collection; nodding to African culture and mastering worked-cotton. This designer truly took the customary meaning of cotton and transformed it into epic! Epperson single-handily reinvented the classic Audrey Hepburn white shirt; with his patchwork and tiered methods. Swaying gracefully, a beautifully executed fitted white rough ruffled gown, caused the audience to applaud in the middle of the show. An African inspired Kente back-less halter dress left me in a trance as I revered the; low v-neckline with rough ruffled detail on collar and hemline. The deep forest greens, reds and bright oranges on the dress brought out the intricate detail. There’s no doubt Epperson designs for the individual who needs a little sophisticated eccentricity.
After all designers had presented their collections, we were treated to a brief film honoring one of the great pioneers of Fashion; Mr. Stephen Burrows. Being the first African American to achieve international acclaim, it is safe to say Burrows paved the way for many designers of color to reach the success and platform we see them at today. Pat Cleveland, Iman, and Naomi Sims are only a few careers he helped blossom within the Fashion industry. Burrows was nominated for a Coty Award in ’71 and ‘72, which until it’s discontinuation in 1985 was Fashion’s most prestigious award. The video featured Fashion history architect Audrey Smaltz, PR Noir’s Founder Danita King, Creative Director Randal Jacobs, Mr. Burrows and many more, highlighting his attributes within the industry.
When the video concluded, the screen arose to expose models and clothes from the four previous showcasing designers. This staged as the pivotal moment of the night; sending the industry a message; that we are creative, we are beautiful beyond all measure, we are intelligent, we a diligent, we are confident, we are dreamers, and we are people of color!