Park Avenue Fashion Week 2015:
The Emerging Designers Competition


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Park Avenue Fashion Week, Park Avenue Fashion Week 2015, Park Avenue Fashion Week Emerging Designer Competition, Winter Park, FL, Stephanie Ziajka, Diary of a Debutante

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” I know, it’s the most exhausted fall quote of all time, but I had to say it. October is my favorite month of the year for a multitude of reasons, one of which being the celebration of Park Avenue Fashion Week. The Central Florida region isn’t typically on the top of anyone’s mind when discussing the most influential fashion scenes of the southeast; however, I’m a firm believer that our reputation, or lack thereof, is a-changin’.

Prior to the Park Avenue Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer Competition last Thursday, the area’s most prominent up-and-coming designers were narrowed down to an elite Top Ten. Then after a closed interview by the Emerging Designer Competition panel of judges, each contestant showcased three of their original designs in a poolside runway show held at one of the most stunning Winter Park mansions I’ve ever seen. Oh, and in addition to watching the show, I got to hang out, catch up, and dance awkwardly with some of my favorite fashion bloggers and fellow PAFW15 brand ambassadors– Ashley Brooke, Upbeat Soles, The Shoe Maven, and Mods Manor!

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Mad shout out to Shel Marks PR for masterminding the entire Park Avenue Fashion Week phenomenon, Maxine Earhart for hosting and directing the show, in addition to opening one of my all-time favorite Winter Park restaurants called Maxine’s on Shine, and Winter Park Photography for capturing these nighttime fashion moments so effortlessly.

Park Avenue Fashion Week, Park Avenue Fashion Week 2015, Park Avenue Fashion Week Emerging Designer Competition, Winter Park, FL, Stephanie Ziajka, Diary of a Debutante Park Avenue Fashion Week, Park Avenue Fashion Week 2015, Park Avenue Fashion Week Emerging Designer Competition, Winter Park, FL, Stephanie Ziajka, Diary of a Debutante

And now for the exciting stuff— my favorite designs of the evening! As a former pageant queen, you may assume that I have a predisposition to favor evening gown couture; however, it is quite the contrary. Given the fact that my go-to evening gown is a custom-made Sherri Hill that was bedazzled with Swarovski crystals by Regalia Magnificent Apparel and could easily double as my wedding dress, my standard for quality formal wear and my distaste for poorly made prom attire are admittedly high– yet I was still in awe of some of these wearable works of art from the talented emerging designers.

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The girls and I literally gasped when we saw this stunning dress emerge from backstage. The quality of the a-line skirt, the unique yet equally flattering modern neckline, and the enchanting metallic pattern easily make this my favorite look from the entire show. Get.in.my.closet.

Park Avenue Fashion Week, Park Avenue Fashion Week 2015, Park Avenue Fashion Week Emerging Designer Competition, Winter Park, FL, Stephanie Ziajka, Diary of a Debutante Park Avenue Fashion Week, Park Avenue Fashion Week 2015, Park Avenue Fashion Week Emerging Designer Competition, Winter Park, FL, Stephanie Ziajka, Diary of a Debutante

And not to sound overly biased, but they definitely saved the best for last. The standout designer of the evening was Designer #10, Christina Alves, a New York Pratt Institute graduate and current stylist for The Collections Bridal on Park Ave. Her genuine affinity for bridal couture is palpable, and her unique use of taupe and pink make these unconventional wedding gowns easily transitional into black tie/red carpet attire. I can confidently say that nobody was surprised when she was called into the Top 5.

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In addition to Christina, the other four designers to advance to the Emerging Designer Competition finals were Inna Rudenko, Terrence Henderson, Raul Castillo (*my 2nd favorite designer), and Nailuj Villarroel. The only other comment I want to make is that the outdoor night lighting did wonders for some designs, specifically those which utilized metallics, while it photographically destroyed others. *Raul Castillo, although I didn’t like or feature any images of his work, is another designer to watch. Orphaned at age 3 and raised by his grandmother, he has the most inspiring back story, and he created my favorite non-traditional cohesive collection with his unique utilization of vibrant colors, flowing fabrics, and the art of drapery– aka the unfortunate formula for see-through designs under bright lighting at night. I’m really looking forward to seeing what he comes up for the {indoor} runway show on October 17th!

If you’re looking to join in on the Park Avenue Fashion Week 2015 fun, and if you’re not, you totally should, here are some other important dates to save:

PAFW15 Kick-off Brunch (October 11) : https://www.facebook.com/events/1621920034719032/
PAFW15 Fashion of Cocktails (October 12) : https://www.facebook.com/events/724968274295716/
 PAFW15 Runway Show (October 17): https://www.facebook.com/events/417480315090001/

Hope to see y’all there!

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4 thoughts on “Park Avenue Fashion Week 2015:
The Emerging Designers Competition

    1. [email protected] Post author

      I know! Trust me, the last thing a retired pageant queen needs is yet another evening gown, but It’s SO HARD to say no when they’re this gorgeous! I know, I have a disease. Have a great rest of your weekend, Katie!

      Reply

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