By Mary Ann Omoscharka
On a cool Thursday afternoon, I wandered into a magnificent hall full of young, energized people with expressive makeup and rollers in their hair. They were running around and taking selfies. Something was about to happen and I was going to be part of it.
Yes, I volunteered at KCFW this year, and let me say it was just fabulous!
Who said that people in the midwest have no sense of style? In fact, one of the greatest fashion happenings took place during Spring break week in the grand hall of the Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri. The atmosphere was more than spectacular. It was my first visit at the venue and I could not keep my eyes off the breathtaking architecture of the ceiling. The organization staff and committee did an amazing job preparing three stylish nights from Thursday through Saturday and the runway shows were completely sold out. The crowd could enjoy 22 not only local designers, who presented their work for the upcoming winter and fall season.
Thursday was the evening of the Charity Runway Show. When I arrived to the venue, everything was already running smoothly. The models were having their hair and makeup done backstage. I and several other young women and men were dressed strictly in professional black, which I was excited about, since my wardrobe basically consists of 99.9% black items. We were assigned positions and started preparing the seatings, the gift bags and anything necessary accordingly. The doors opened at 6:00 pm and the guests began to arrive. Everyone looked phenomenal.
KCFW opened with seven designers that night. The first one, called The Little Line by Liz, is a local brand located in Olathe. The designer presented a beautiful artistic collection made from natural fibres. The show continued with T. Michelle Designs, which was an absolutely adorable and colourful retro collection for children. The next brand, More Than Just Figleaves, is Brooklyn-based and showcased a mixture of classic and contemporary designs in rich colours and fabrics. The fourth one, Ola Style, was a designer based in St. Louis, Missouri. She created stunning resort dresses in delicate floral patterns. Another brand from Missouri and my personal favourite of the night was Gypsy Blaque, who brought modern rebellion on the runway with some bold combinations. As next, KJ Clothing Design from Gladstone, Missouri was the only brand of the night displaying architecture inspired wedding gowns. Last but surely not least, The House of Khai, who came all the way from San Francisco and introduced an edgy street wear collection.
The Friday Evening Runway show brought another seven names on the catwalk. My Heirloom, a brand from Kansas City brought one of a kind romantic wedding dresses. The second Kansas City based designer that showed her collection was Present. by Rachel Anne Gottlieb. I absolutely adored her chiffon based, high fashion creations in combination with flamboyant jewellery, such as glorious headpieces. Her work spoke to me like no other on that event. As next, Kiana Godsey from Overland Park in Kansas, who designed a stunning gown collection, made from luxurious airy materials with a lot of movement. The tones that prevailed were black, gold and beige. The fourth one to show his products was Michael Drummond from St. Louis, who is a Project Runway Season 8 alumnus and no newcomer when it comes to KCFW. Michael brought clean lines, lots of monochromes but print as well. Another name from St. Louis in Missouri, Lauren Bander, revealed a highly feminine collection of classic and crop top dresses with lace and colors like black, red or chocolate brown. The sixth name of the night, Paulie Gibson, is a St. Louis located menswear brand that came with a variety of casual and formal clothing items in black and blue shades. The night ended with the designs of the amazingly talented 15-year-old Madison LaRae Durant, whose collection is inspired by the 30’s era in one of the most fashionable cities in the world: Paris. I fell in love with her timeless couture gowns but also with her definitely wearable chic pieces. Sequins, leather and faux fur at it’s finest.
The Saturday Night Runway was the closing night of Kansas City Fashion Week bringing six local KC designers. The expectations were high and the aura was cheerful. The first brand on the runway was Architexture, which brought diversity in structures, fabrics and colors for those with laid back, yet elegant preferences. The show continued with Tomboy Design Studio and their ethically produced futuristic pieces. As third that evening, Andrea Marie Long Designs, whose work took us back to the Roman Empire with her rich textures color intensities that deliver instant confidence. Next in order was Erin Paige, who showcased her fresh and distinctive jewellery collection that would be the cherry on top of every outfit. The fourth name to appear that evening was christianMICHAEL, a designer of modern, extravagant menswear bringing interesting patterns and bright prints. At the grand finale, we saw Lucia Sarto by Nataliya Meyer. A mesmerizing collection of couture gowns made from dreamy and sparkly materials. And of course, lots of lace and attitude!
Someone probably very wise once said that “for some people, fashion week lasts all year.” If playing dress up is one of your favorite parts of the day, it might be your turn to volunteer as well. Applications open in August. Are you up for the challenge?
Photography courtesy of Kansas City Fashion Week