Location is all.
Austin Fashion Week started out a bit awkwardly at the oversized Long Center for the Performing Arts. It moved to multiple locations, including the sad, old Austin Music Hall, although this event came closest to making the doomed venue work.
Now it’s at the JW Marriott, where I caught the Friday night edition.
Good to be almost all in one place. (Remember running around town to scattered events?) Great to have all the support, equipment and staff of this three-ring-circus convention hotel at one’s disposal. Comfort, centrality, elbow room and a chance to spread out in the future all recommend the place.
You’ll have to ask others about the parking situation. I walk, if not always from home, at least from the American-Statesman.
The organizers, including Fashion X headman Matt Swinney, gave guests plenty of time to mix and mingle. Then we sat down for 10 full collections, three capsules, some swell singing by Kenny Williams and a loving exposé of the closet contents of the evening’s honoree, Bobbi Topfer.
Why Williams and Topfer along with their friends and fans? Each night of Fashion Week this year is dedicated to a local leader, such as philanthropist and event planner Topfer, and a portion of the evening’s proceeds go to that leader’s top charity, this time out Zach Theatre, also Williams’ artistic home.
Among the local designers, I was most struck by Linda Asaf‘s supremely at-ease looks and Gail Chovan‘s edgy radicalism, which included identical breathable bags hung over the models’ heads.
A protest? A statement? We don’t need to know. It was memorable for whatever reason.
From the “Project Runway” stable — always a draw — no question that the runaway hit was Korto Momolu‘s bold creations which included elaborate wraps but only one big splash of her signature coloring at the end.
I also liked the swirling curves by Sonjia Williams and the ultra-simple unisex outfits from DtE by Jeffrey Sebelia.
OK, so what’s the tiny fly in the ointment? The patterned carpet. Hey, it didn’t look so bad through my little iPhone lens, but I’m sure fashion purists cringed. Cool white next year?