I attended my first Tampa Bay Fashion Week at International Plaza and Bay Street with my beautiful mom as my date! Ironically, she hasn't been to a runway show since she used to coordinate/model in them, which I discuss in In My Veins. Last year, Hurricane Irma caused the event to be postponed and I couldn't attend the rescheduled dates, so I was excited for this year!
Get Into My Look:
I wore a beautiful black tulle dress (latest obsession) from Forever 21 that was accented with ruffles and silver rings. It was under $40 but I don't remember the exact retail price. It was a lucky find so I didn't mind waiting patiently to put it to good use. I layered it over a 4SI3NNA lace trim bodysuit with silver/nude underlay, which retails for $55. I finished the look with silver monochrome Calvin Klein 'Dolcita' sandals that retail for $115. These comfortable beauties have Velcro ankle straps.
A few large brands participated: Free People (hipster chic), Johnny Was (boho chic), Lilly Pulitzer (resort chic), Fabletics (active chic), and UntuckIt (business casual chic). However, the local talent is what stole the show for me, personally.
The first local designer, Invisa'U Intimates, should've foreshadowed what was to come; confident models serving bold looks flooded the runway. I loved the vibrant prints mixed with the feminine elements of well fitting, sexy cutouts.
Essence Flowers Design displayed a clean-cut, romantic collection. There was a fair amount of black.. no complaints here, it's my favorite color! The other looks were soft either in color, design, or texture. There were a variety of looks with floral details, lending some insight to the brand's name. My favorite: a beautiful blush jumpsuit with a floral applique top.
For me, Nyhira Bridal Couture was the catalyst, sending jaw dropping bridal couture looks down the runway to a soundtrack laced with heavy drums. The fluid, whimsical gowns had lace detail often with nude underlay. After previewing Eko Anderson's collection, she was definitely added to my short list of possible wedding dress designers.
Jaylani's Boutique brought the drama with unique formal wear. There were adorable kids wearing beautifully bedazzled pieces and let's be honest—nothing is cuter than a mini-fashionista. While the line is more on the glamorous side, the pieces can still be practical for everyday use if dressed down. Don't be afraid of a little bling!
Elizabeth Carson Racker Design closed the show and what a finale! To call it a simple runway show would be a disservice—it was a performance! Bold prints, designs, and textures were accompanied by beautiful accessories, perfect hairstyles, and another great soundtrack. There was a tribal feel and if you didn't notice via the runway looks, you had to take heed by the time the show wrapped up. It closed with an African inspired dance number, the perfect touch to the cohesive showcase. As if her perfect preview wasn't enough, the designer stole the show in a beautiful ombré gown when she thanked the audience!
It was fun discovering local designers in the Tampa Bay area and connecting with the creative community!