Runway Ready for MV Fashion Week
September 17, 2013 | MV Times
This is the time of year for a little pampering. Congratulate yourself for getting through another summer of traffic, parking woes, crowds, lines, and stressed-out tourists (it should be an oxymoron, but unfortunately, as we all know, it’s not).
Luckily, there’s an event coming up that will give folks the chance to dress to the nines, catch up with friends, enjoy a fun spectacle, and maybe even indulge in a new fall wardrobe purchase. Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week 2014 will feature events through September 20, all with the focus on creativity in the realm of personal style.
Lest one think that Fashion Week is all fantasy and frippery with no substance, keep in mind that all of the proceeds go to a very worthy cause: Angel Flight Northeast, an organization that provides free flights to and from medical appointments for those in need. It’s a privately funded organization that serves a huge need for Island residents. The pilots are all volunteers who donate their time, fuel, and aircraft to the effort. While Angel Flight NE has operated for 18 years, they have served folks on Martha’s Vineyard somewhat under the radar.
M.V. Fashion Week, the brainchild of writer/editor Trena Morrison, was launched four years ago in an effort to raise funds and awareness for their beneficiary, and also to bring a little splash to the Vineyard off-season.
This year, the event has been reined in and streamlined considerably. The six days — Monday through Saturday — will include seven events in three towns. Fashion Week will feature three movie screenings, one trunk show, two runway fashion shows at Dreamland, and a sit-down dinner/fashion show. Monday through Wednesday will be devoted to fashion-centric movie screenings at the M.V. Film Center.
The gala event, An Elegant Affair, to be held at Lure on Thursday, Sept. 18, will please both gourmands and fashionistas. For $125, guests will be treated to a sumptuous sit-down dinner while previewing the latest fall fashions from two local designers as well as some of the Island’s premiere boutiques. The former include Stina Sayre, whose high-end line features great fabrics and simple lines with unique tailoring details. Ms. Sayre’s clothes are eminently wearable, yet eye-catching. And for the fourth year in a row, Kenworthy Designs will roll out its latest line. The mother/daughter team of Marlene diStefano and Randi Sylvia always manage to surprise audiences with their continually evolving line of hip, artistically rendered women’s clothing.
On Friday, Sept. 19, Fashion Week will take a turn for the casual with In the Company of Angels, a show at Dreamland featuring sportswear, Vineyard casual attire, and bathing suits from two different local designers. SeaLove Swimwear, which has been parading bikini-clad models since year one of Fashion Week, will be joined by new-to-the-fashion-scene designer Liane Fitzgerald of Roy Swim. Ms. Fitzgerald, who studied studio art in college, started up her line of two-piece suits last summer, and has been selling them at the Chilmark Flea Market. She was inspired to design her own suits during her nine years working at Lucy Vincent Beach. “I basically lived in bikinis,” says Ms. Fitzgerald. Last winter she took some classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, and worked on expanding her sewing and design skills.
Another newcomer to Fashion Week will be featured in Saturday’s show. Lauren Morgan has only recently begun designing clothes, but has had a passion for fashion for a long time. Her new line draws inspiration from the Island landscape, as well as the Vineyard lifestyle. “I’m trying to create dresses that can go from day to night for women who want to dress smart. The looks are inspired by stone walls and the lichen that grows on them.” Ms. Morgan’s pieces are all made from linen and fine silk. She has workrooms lined up in New York City, giving her the ability to mass-produce her dresses. She hopes to find a Vineyard outlet for her beautiful and unique designs.
Saturday’s benefit runway show will spotlight some trend-setting looks from local stores, including the boutique/art gallery Mikel Hunter (formerly PikNik Art & Apparel). Mr. Hunter always puts on a great show, and has an eye for pairing layers and accessories in fun ways. The grand finale will be provided by Karen Trotier of Menagerie. Ms. Trotier, a onetime Project Runway finalist, has a flair for drama, and you can certainly expect something fun and very cool from this highly creative designer who has been a star of Fashion Week since the first year.
In the days prior to Fashion Week, Ms. Trotier was still working on her line, but she did give a few hints as to what we can expect. “The show is based on shells and stuff from the sea,” she said. Stuff from the sea may include wampum and, surprisingly, horseshoe crab shells. A true nature lover and repurposer, Ms. Trotier says that she is also incorporating branches from her backyard sassafras tree to complement some 1940s print fabric. Appropriately in keeping with the “found on the Vineyard” theme, the designer also salvaged some of her yardage from the Chicken Alley Thrift Shop, and she will be recruiting a few local artists to help hand-paint — and model — a couple of menswear looks.
This year, once again, all the runway shows will feature professional models from Boston’s Dynasty Models, Inc., as well as locals. Music will be provided by DJ Pretty Ninja, and hair and makeup by SeaSpa Salon, Wavelengths, Maggie’s Salon, and Companhia de Belleza Salon. The two Dreamland shows will both feature a Chilmark Chocolate tasting bar, a photo booth with local photographer David Welch, and something new to Fashion Week: a vendor area where guests can purchase items like handcrafted jewelry, clothing, cosmetics, and skincare.
Fashion Week is unique and enjoyable — like a New York or Paris Fashion Week without the attitude. And it’s always just as interesting to see what the audience members have pulled out of their closets as it is to admire the runway looks.
An Elegant Affair dinner and fashion show: Thursday, Sept. 18, 6 pm, Lure at the Winnetu. Table of 4: $480; adult: $120. Includes dinner, tax, tip, and ticket to show. Does not include alcoholic beverages.
In the Company of Angels fashion show: Friday, Sept. 19, 8:30 pm, Dreamland, Oak Bluffs. VIP: $40; general seating: $20; general admission (sold at the door): $10.
2014 Fashion Show Benefit: Saturday, Sept. 20, 8:30 pm, Dreamland, Oak Bluffs. VIP: $40; general seating: $20; general admission (sold at the door): $10.