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It’s finally here!! The Day 1 Recap of Charleston Fashion Week. So let’s pick up where we left off…

Tara (@misstartabelle) and I arrived to Charleston Fashion Week in Stella, a beautiful 2016 Mercedes-Benz SLK 300. Heads turned on Calhoun Street as we pulled up to the tents. People on the streets, guest of Francis Marion Hotel, and attendees of Fashion Week were curious as to who the two blondes were jumping out of a convertible with a photographer snapping shots. We quickly had our outfit shots taken by @current.visuals and rushed to get our media passes and assignments for the evening. We rushed inside the Style Lounge tent, only giving a few people a glimpse of our Opening Night Outfits and collaborations that had taken months of work. We wanted our opening night entrance to set interest for the entire week. We think we accomplished just that, give us your opinion…

 Above 3 images by @Current.Visuals​

Of course, we teamed up with some of the opening night retailers for our outfits. So let’s go head to toe:

Hair: @AllureSalonInc

Sunglasses: @SeeEyeWear MineTara’s

Outerwear: @ShopTaxidermyMy Cape & Tara’s Varsity Jacket

Bow Tie: @BrackishBowties – The Lotus

Tops: My Shirt – @SouthernTide & Tara’s Body Suit: @BitsOfLace

Bags: @ShopTaxidermy – My Portfolio & Tara’s Antler Clutch

Arm Candy: @ColibriCollections

Trousers: @CalvinKlein Skirt: @BeckettBoutique

Shoes: @SteveMadden

 Above two images: @clayustin

Enough about us! Let’s get to the real stars of the night, the local retailers and emerging designers. The night began with a group of dancers to pump up the crowd.

The opening night show included local retailers: Bits of Lace, Shoes on King, and Taxidermy. The runway show highlighted luxury lingerie, exotic bags, and stylish shoes. The crowd enjoyed 20 looks down the runway from the retailers. Aside from the lingerie, Bits of Lace also showed swimsuits and body suits. Shoes on King, a popular shoe retailer in the Charleston Fashion District, showcased this coming seasons biggest trends. Taxidermy treated the crowd to never before seen designs and colors in her exotic skins. With an enthusiastic music playlist and great products, the opening night show geared the crowd up for an exciting night! Check out looks in the gallery below:

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Next, the crowd was introduced to the Emerging Designer Competition. A chance for one of 16 designers to share a handful off pieces from a collection to a panel of judges. The judges pick a winner from the showing Emerging Designers each night and they present their complete collection on final night. The winning Emerging Designer receives a check to jump start their line. 

Destani Hoffman (@dhfashiondesigns) kicked off the competition on Tuesday night. Learn more about her Avant-Garde evening wear designs in this short Charleston Fashion Week Clip:

Hoffman’s preview of her full collection brought an edgy dark side to the runway. Her looks were adorned by crosses and crowns that added to her beautifully made dresses. Here are my top two favorite looks from the preview:

The third look down the runway was this double high slit ensemble. The high slits are a trend that we are seeing more and more of in gowns on red carpets and in the big design houses. The light color of the gown keeps the look simple and elegant. Hoffman’s looks are heavily inspired by religion and one will notice the cross adornment on the front of the gown.  

The final look of the preview was my other favorite. Why? Myself, Andre (@CharlestonShopCurator), and several attendees were wearing capes, so obviously, I was drawn to this gown. The high neck, long sleeves, and stacked skirt gave the gown a “royal black swan” feeling. Again, staying consistent with her religious and avant-garde inspirations, we see a cross around the neck and a crown on the models head. Destani was the emerging designer that was picked by the panel of judges to move on to the final night and present her full collection.

The second Emerging Designer to present was JD Noble (@byjdnoble). Hear more about her ready to wear collection in the video below:

The preview of Noble’s collection showed her eye for detail and understanding of fashionable ready-to-wear pieces. Most of her looks featured some sort of beading or lace to add detail to her pieces.   

The look above was Noble’s start to the preview of her collection. She is obviously aware of the upcoming trends as we have seen various variations of the “bell bottom” pants making a comeback. Noble’s Satin take on them showed a great look for a lady going out on the town with her girlfriends or to a dressier event. The shirt paired with the pants shows Noble’s time and passion that she puts in to each of her pieces.  

Noble gave us a preview of pants, shirts, dresses and skirts. This look was one of my favorites because there is a combination of several different elements that seem to be a lot, but work well together. The lace, the heavy patterned skirt, and the color block across the chest create a great cocktail dress attire. The pieces as separates could also be worn to dress up a look or to give something extra to a more laid back outfit.

Next, local retailer, Ibu Movement (@ibumovement), treated the crowd to a live upbeat performance. Ibu Movement is located on King Street in Charleston’s downtown fashion district. I love the concept behind this store/brand. If you aren’t familiar with Ibu, they are a movement that supports the work of women around the world by showcasing they’re intricate work in Ibu’s brick and mortar location and online shop. In return, this supports the creative minds of these women, their economies, and raises awareness for women’s talents around the world. Susan Walker founded Ibu in 2013 with a passion for textiles and art. Since then, the movement has taken off in incredible ways. Check out the work of many women’s hands from around the world and their passion for creating beautiful pieces:

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Not only was there live entertainment and great clothing shown during the Ibu runway show, but great textiles and different products (pillows, headwear, jewelry, shoes) were also showcased. Check out more of their story and empowering movement on Instagram (@ibumovement) and their website here.

After a short intermission break, we all returned to our seats and prepared for the next show by local retailer, Tres Carmen Boutique (@trescarmen). Located on James Island, the women’s boutique showcases the best in women’s apparel, accessories, and shoes.

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This show was full of looks that really touched based with an everyday woman. They were all stylish pieces that seemed easy to wear to any occasion. From a day at the office to lunch with your girlfriends or date night with your husband. Tres Carmen has you covered for any occasion at great prices. 

The third Emerging Designer for the night was Storm Dorris (@stormdorris). Dorris creates beautifully detailed evening gowns. Here’s his story:

The unique shapes, layered materials, and detailed hand work caught the eye of everyone under the tents. As Dorris’ gowns made their way down the runway, the sense of elegance and beauty filled the room.

Deciding on my top two looks from Dorris’ collection was a little difficult because I was taken back by the amount of detail and work that each gown portrayed. The look above really caught my eye as it involved a lot of beading and positioning to make a beautiful piece that would make any girl feel like a princess. As it came down the runway, it flowed perfectly, almost as if the model was hovering down the runway.  

 This next look was another one of my favorites because of the edginess to the gown. The beaded top and off the shoulder straps with a carefree skirt all worked beautifully. A gown like this would allow any edgy girl to keep her sense of style and still be dressed for the occasion.

This final look closed out the preview runway show of Dorris’ collection. Above is the designer’s simply elegant take on a gown for a lady’s very special walk down the aisle. Again, this gown embodies exactly who the designer is, his attention to detail, the love and passion that goes into each piece, and his eye for making a woman feel even more beautiful than they are for any occasion. I had to include two pictures for this gown because as soon as it hit the runway, the crowd was mesmerized by the gown, and on its way back down the runway, our eyes were still locked on the piece as the gown was topped off with a long veil. The movement and flow to this piece were what one thinks of during a fairy tale story.

The final Emerging Designer of the night was Elias Gurrola (@eliasgurrola). His contemporary designs were our taste of menswear for the evening. Learn more about Gurrola and the preview to his collection in this short intro video:

 From opening look, Gurrolla prepared the crowd with his choice of music and individual faces of his models painted.

 Gurolla’s first look was such a unique concept. The all black ensemble gave a sense of mystery and edge to kick off the show. I found the adding of the pleated skirt around the back and half the front interesting and a cool concept. Later in the show we also saw this idea used again in an all-white ensemble.

Alright, so obviously this next look hit the runway and shinned. The metallic looking pieces gave me a feel for a modern day fashion armor. If you look close enough at the image, each garment had some sort of underlying pattern or texture within the fabric. I love garments that have subtle details hidden within the construction.

 So, let’s just take a moment for this final piece…now that you’ve taken it all in (pick your jaw off the floor). Yes, we’re all on the same page, “WOW!” I think everyone in the tent on opening day thought the same thing. The construction and unique design of this piece was incredible. I honestly do not think that the pictures give this ensemble justice. The moment it hit the runway, Tara and I both looked at each other and we both thought the same thing “you need that” and “I need that.” I know what you all are thinking, “that’s so out of your comfort zone” or “it’s not really your style.” Well, I’ve got news for you, this year, we’re breaking all the stereotypes around my comfort zone or style (just wait until you see some of the other outfits I wore during the week). I love garments that I’ve never seen before and that have unique factors to them. 

I would obviously only wear this to a big event or for a photo-shoot, but it’s definitely something I have my eye on. I’m hoping to have the opportunity to work with Gurrola in the future to really push all boundaries for my blog with his pieces in a never before seen photo-shoot for BTG. Keep an eye out for it…

The final presentation of the night was by local retailer, 7 Gypsy (@7gypsy). The Mt. Pleasant boutique’s name says it all. The runway showed boho and on-trend looks to close out the night.

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The show had me wanting to be on a tropical island and reminded me how badly I wanted to be on vacation. From hair, to make up and head pieces. This show stayed true to the 7 Gypsy brand and showed the range of pieces the boutique carries. 

Day 1 of Charleston Fashion Week (@chasfashweek) did not disappoint and I was honored to have so many opportunities throughout the day. Come back tomorrow as I give you a look into the second day of Charleston Fashion Week. I can assure you it’ll be just as good as opening night. In the meantime, enjoy this galley full of street style, behind the scenes, and under the tent images of opening night:

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Behind the scene images by Jonathan Balliet (@jonathanballiet)

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About author / The Bow Tie Gent

The gent behind the bow tie goes by Louis, a 24-year old graduate of Wofford College, a small private institution in the South. His passion for International Business and Marketing drove him to pursue a degree in Business Economics, Spanish, and French. He currently resides in the beautiful city of Charleston, SC. In a town with only a handful of male bloggers, Louis brings his refined style with a hint of big city living. 

The gent’s drive for success allowed him to launch GRAND PR Firm, a full service public relations firm. Becoming a CEO at 19 years old was a highlight in his career, but there are other high goals he still wants to achieve. His initiative, determination, and hustle will allow him to surpass the expectations for himself, clients, and brands. He welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with you today.

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