Photography by Jed Sarmiento
The 10th Annual Fashion Week at the Bellevue Collection began with the much anticipated Independent Designer Runway Show (IDRS), featuring new collections from eight emerging designers. It was an exceptional show with an eclectic range, from beautiful wedding gowns to chic work wear. These collections were created over the past few months, as a panel of industry experts mentored the designers through the creation and presentation process. The winning designer walks home with a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of the Kemper Freeman Family and The Bellevue Collection and will also have looks from their collection on display in a Fashion Frame at Bellevue Square.
And the winner is…
This custom bridal couture line, a first for IDRS, showed one-of-a-kind, hand-beaded gowns with custom embroidery lace patterns and hand-painted and hand-dyed fabrics. Detail cutouts and perfectly placed lacework over tulle showed incredible craftsmanship. A showstopping red embroidery over tulle dress walked with the young designer down the runway after her win. I had the pleasure of meeting Nguyen prior to the show, and we discussed how creating her own wedding gown the previous year has turned into a full-time passion for her. Already a design school graduate, Nguyen channeled her innovative design style into dresses that make me wish I could get married all over again.
With such a stellar group of designers, the panel also chose a runner-up for this year:
“Judges do not always select a runner-up,” says Jennifer Leavitt, vice president of marketing for The Bellevue Collection. “The work of all of the designers made their selection of one winner exceptionally difficult, but the selection of Varsha and her collection that brings style back to the workplace was mutual for both the audience and our judges.”
Varsha Agarwal’s collection was chosen for her innovative take on the modern women’s closet and bringing style to the workplace. Swinging fringe details jazzed up a cream top and skirt, and color-block leather separates over a turtleneck and bell leg pants had a cool ’70s vibe. Beautiful capes, long vests and coats had oversized fur cuffs and fur pockets. The collection was both elegant and contemporary—a well-deserved win.
Here is a look at the other IDRS 2015 designers and their outstanding work:
Ressa has an Associate of Applied Arts degree in Fashion Design from The Art Institute of Seattle and is pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree. His designs were street chic pieces that combined cool comfort with modern edge. Slouchy, oversized coats moved beautifully, and sleeves were exaggerated in length. Pieces like the Kurt Cardigan and the long plaid Anne Button Up made a statement for grunge redux. The minimalist lines and cozy sizing were understated but gorgeous.
Using streamlined designs, strong silhouettes and natural fabrics, this collection packed serious girl power. Black and white print reversible bomber jackets, rain jackets and coats with fur colors were paired with tweed and lace. Oversized fur cuffs made an appearance yet again, this time on the beautiful Sonia wrap jacket with Mongolian fur cuffs. The designer showed leather sleeves on chic jackets, fringe details and a stunning jumpsuit with an open back.
Blufur by Iris Klein
This designer gets my vote for IDRS best-dressed designer. She rocked a killer full-length peach skirt with giant black polka dots and a black lace top that draped behind her. Fabulous prints and bright color are major components of her line. The standout textiles and lux textures showed in the likes of the Asian silk kimono coat and the Blue Croc Short Coat. Klein’s brilliant red patent leather and iridescent leather jackets were amazing, as was the long black fur-sleeved leather cape, bright yellow details on dresses, skirts and coat linings.
It comes as no surprise that Dawson & Deveraux’s designs have been featured on the pages of British Vogue when one sees its sleek, gorgeous pieces walk the runway. Lead designer Sophie Karen’s re-imagines trench coats, leather pieces and eveningwear through cool details, body-con sparkle and fit and flair. Black ball gowns were paired with chic cropped tops, and a full-length patterned dress with a deep scoop back was stunning. Long high-low skirts swept the floor and a clever take on color blocking paired black with patterned fabric and white.
This unique collection didn’t shy away from using components that stood out—from beautiful teal tulle high-waist skirts to silk jumpsuits detailed with ruched legs and lace. The architectural ecru leather jumpsuit and leather dress shown with a fur shawl had a cool rock-and-roll vibe. A dark teal silk jumpsuit was paired with a corset-like, uber-wide red leather belt, and metallic elements, leather and tulle gave great texture to the designs.
Minimalist pieces are given a decidedly feminine edge in this designer’s collection; chunky knits are paired with leather skirts, and oversized sweaters top skinny pants. Flattering wool dresses and details like peplums and braiding give the chic collection its flair, especially when paired with brilliant blues, reds, and black leather. The designer’s style works beautifully with her preferred wool fabrics to create pieces that are understated and modern.
The IDRS Winner, Dream Dresses by P.N.M. by Phuong Minh Nguyen, will be featured in seven free-standing Fashion Frames located throughout Bellevue Square through the end of October. I encourage you to continue to support our local designers through their websites and shopping the stores that carry their pieces. There is incredible talent in the Seattle area and it is so great to see these designers be given a platform on which to launch to the next level of their careers. It is a win-win situation for everyone, and I am already looking forward to next year.