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Deal Divas

Stephanie Hayes, Katie Sanders, Kameel Stanley, & Keyonna Summers

Tampa Bay Fashion Week is here and I stopped by last night



Never have I had a more satisfying excuse to make my way through the design palace that is Neiman Marcus than I did last night on my way to Tampa Bay Fashion Week at International Plaza.

Let’s get right to it and talk about this year’s changes.

You may have read here or here about Fashion Week’s new format. The main runway show has been replaced by several trunk shows and fashion installations, the idea being that designers will have a better opportunity to sell their pieces. Organizers are calling it PURE Haus. PURE stands for Pop-Up Retail Experience.

If you don’t know what a trunk show is, it’s a more intimate, interactive look at a designer’s collection. You can order items for yourself, and buyers show up to scout the looks. At the trunk show I attended last night, models walked a small, elevated runway and rotated around the venue for about 15 minutes, giving guests ample opportunity to view each piece up close. Afterward, customers and buyers were able to touch and inspect gowns they were interested in.

Now, about the fashion:

The Rhonda Shear Couture collection was stunning. There was something for everyone in the evening wear line by the famed TV personality and intimates designer: effervescence, sex appeal, elegance. Scallops, sequins, Swarovski.

I absolutely could not keep my eyes -- or my iPhone -- off the sparkly beaded number with an asymmetrical, draped top and peacock-feather bottom. I think I even saw it in my sleep last night. It's the dress I've always known I've always wanted.

In the bummed-out wake of making it to only one show, I was thrilled during the Model Behavior After-Party at Ocean Prime to be able to eye collections by other designers and chat about their work. I have to tip my hat to recent IADT grad Jessica Martinez, who debuted her edgy, convertible ready-to-wear -- pants that zip into shorts, dresses that transform into separates. She shows again today at 2:30 p.m. I’d also advise my fellow pin up enthusiasts to take a look at the buzz-generating retro Be-Bops Custom Swimwear collection by designer Priscilla Kidder. Her shows are at 7 p.m. Friday and 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

While this year’s Fashion Week is missing that grand runway show of dreams, I’m still a total fangirl. The opportunity to talk to designers and so closely view their work is really special, and there are some exciting shows on the lineup. Be sure to check back with the Deal Divas soon because Stephanie and Robbyn (Hi guys!) will be writing about their Fashion Week experiences as well.

Here's the remaining schedule:


1 p.m.: Rhonda Shear Couture

1:30 p.m.: Allison Elizabeth Designs by Allison Bailey

2 p.m.: Caite by Karyn Seo

2:30 p.m.: Jessica Martinez

3 p.m.: Accessuri by Rachana Suri



6 p.m.: Magenta by Wendy Ohlendorf

6:30 p.m.: Cerulean Blu by Desiree Noisette

7 p.m.: Be-Bops Custom Swimwear by Priscilla Kidder

7:30 p.m.: Oscar de la Portilla Escandon

8 p.m.: Elizabeth Carson Racker Designs



12:30 p.m.: Magenta by Wendy Ohlendorf

1 p.m.: Cerulean Blu by Desiree Noisette

1:30 p.m.: Be-Bops Custom Swimwear by Priscilla Kidder

2 p.m.: Oscar de la Portilla Escandon

2:30 p.m.: Elizabeth Carson Racker Designs

3:30 p.m.: Sanford-Brown IADT School of Design Student Showcase

[Last modified: Thursday, September 17, 2015 4:31pm]


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