It’s Thursday–and y’all know what that means! It is time to throw it back to a fun VIP blog moment! Whoo hoo!
In celebration of Heidi Elnora’s NEW and FABULOUS television series “Bride by Design“, which will premiere tomorrow at 9PM CST on TLC, I decided to throw it back to when I interviewed the dazzling Southern designer at Birmingham Fashion Week 2013.
Clickhereto check out the VIP Interview with wedding gown designer and reality TV star Heidi Elnora.
To see Heidi’s stunning runway show from Birmingham Fashion Week 2013, clickhere.
Cannot wait until tomorrow night to watch Heidi’s fab show? Check out the preview below:
This Wednesday, I am trading a Weekly Whistle for a What’s Happening Wednesday–yes, I have made this blog into a card game for the moment. Hm…what a fabulous idea…a VIP card game *wink* Okay–this is no time for digression because I have two fabulous Birmingham events coming up SOON that you all should attend. Now, let’s find out what they are!
If you are a Birmingham reader, you know Birmingham Fashion Week is happening RIGHT NOW. If you have not attended, but would like to–there is still time! Check out the Birmingham Fashion Week 2014 schedule here. If you are interested in purchasing tickets, click here.
Want to know more about Birmingham Fashion Week? Check out the VIP BFW archives here and visit the official website here.
Also happening this week in Birmingham–30-A Supper Club author Liza Elliott will be releasing her 30-A Supper Club: The Cookbook (written by authors Liza Elliott and Nancy Dinsomre) at Williams-Sonoma at The Summit Birmingham on April 24 from 5:30–8:00PM. This launch party will provide a delightful atmosphere, complementary samples from the cook book, complementary wine, swag bags, a meet and greet with the author and the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of the book….BUT The festivities do not end there. A silent auction of a gift basket filled with Williams-Sonoma goodies will take place benefiting the “Delicious Nutritious” Program at Children’s Hospital.
To learn more about Liza Elliot, check out the VIP interviewhereand visit her Facebook page here.
Hello, my fabulouses! Today on the VIP blog, I am going to chat about Project Runway Season 12 and contestant Ken Laurence, who is a talented fashion artisan from Birmingham, Alabama. Out of the four fashion designers from the great state of Alabama that have competed on Project Runway in past seasons, Ken Laurence is one out of two designers who has successfully made it past the first challenge. Other Project Runway stars from Birmingham include Heidi Elnora Standrige Baker (2005), Anthony L. Williams (2010, 2012 “All Stars”), and Amanda Perna (2011). Congrats, Ken! The VIP is cheering for you!
To see the VIP’s interview with Ken Laurence, please click here.
To learn more about Ken Laurence, please visit the VIP blog post here.
When Heidi Klum announced that the designers were going to be creating evening gowns to showcase 30 million dollars worth of shimmering jewels from the Diamond District…my jaw dropped. I knew right then and there that Episode 2 of Season 12 was going to be absolutely fabulous!
As Ken Laurence was choosing the fabric for his garment at Mood, I immediately fell in love with the emerald green. Ken went with a Satin fabric made up of 80% Polyester, 20% Nylon which was only $8.00 a yard. I kept thinking to myself, “I hope he chose the emerald green! I hope he chose the emerald green!”
BAM! When Ken’s model appeared on the runway sporting an emerald green gown and strutted it gracefully down the Project Runway catwalk…the VIP was mega happy! He had picked the green!! It was beyond breathtaking…and the fact that he only used $75.00 out of his $4,000 season GoBank budget made my jaw drop even more! Ken’s emerald green gown is a fine example of the design over the dollar. It is not about how expensive the fabric is…it is about the designer knowing how to make something look like a million bucks! Ken Laurence definitely did that with his gown in the second challenge of the season. Fabulous, fabulous, FABULOUS job!
The Diamond District jewelry that Ken chose looked beyond glamorous with his evening gown. “It is sexy, classic, sophisticated, but at the same time there is a wow factor that is breathtaking and demands attention. I am extremely confident,” said Ken Laurence on Season 12, Episode 2 of Project Runway on Lifetime.
Oh, I am so ready for episode three next Thursday…I do not think I can wait that long….
Come back next week for another VIP blog about Project Runway! Whoo hoo!
Saturday night’s finale was full of excitement and anticipation from the heidi elnora bridal runway show to the announcements of the Emerging and Rising Design Star winners–not to mention the headlining designer Tibi.
Birmingham Fashion Week 2013 concluded with a big, dazzling bang! The finale began with wedding gown designer and co-founder of BFW Heidi Elnora’s collection, which was inspired by the movie Snow White and the Huntsman. “Brides-to-be can find heidi elnora gowns across the world and in Nordstrom Bridal Salons as she has dressed hundreds of brides from L.A. to Dubai.” (www.bhamfashionweek.com)
Big round of applause to the 2013 Emerging Designers! All of their designs were incredibly creative and aspiring! I am so glad that I did not have to pick winners…It would have been pretty much impossible because each collection was truly breathtaking!
BFW 2013 Emerging Designer Winners:
1st Place: Elizabeth Singleton showcased an eye-catching collection that wowed everyone! She is this year’s Birmingham Fashion Week Emerging Designer Winner.
2nd Place: Sarah Winford exhibited a tremendous collection that crowned her runner up of BFW’s Emerging Designers competition. The VIP would love to wear her garments!
3rd Place: AnnaKay Winford (sister of Sarah Winford) and Allison Mills tied for third place in the competition. Both designers displayed marvelous garments–it would have been hard for me to choose just one!
Let’s give a grand congrats to the 2013 Rising Design Star competitors! These talented rising stars designed garments using nontraditional items (garbage bags, paper, can tops, bubble wrap…) and assembled these upcyled frocks with glue, tape, and staples. The eighteen finalists displayed their designs one last time on the Birmingham Fashion Week runway during the finale. “Birmingham Fashion Week wants to help promote and inspire teenagers to follow their dreams….It makes me happy to involve these students in BFW.” exclaims Jeana Lee Fleming, co-founder of Birmingham Fashion Week.
To learn more about the Rising Design Star competition, click here.
Want to see more photos from the 2013 Rising Design Star Competition? Check out the VIP Facebook page here!
2013 Rising Design Star Winners:
Annie Bloomston (age 16) of Mountain Brooke High School was named Birmingham Fashion Week’s Rising Design Star of the year. Annie was also the “People’s Choice” when the competitors garments were on display at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
Preston Mills (age 17), runner up of the BFW Rising Design Star competition, created a garment that weighed a whopping 35 pounds!
Bradford Billingsly (age 11) won the third place prize in the competition. He designed a fantastic hand painted piece!
Featured boutiques of the night were Laura Kathryn, Shaia’s (menswear), and Gus Mayer. Each store exhibited superb spring attire that had the whole crowd ready to shop!
“Laura Kathryn is an exclusive women’s boutique located in Crestline Village. Dressing the city’s women for the past twenty years, it carries one of a kind items and select designer labels,” www.bhamfashionweek.com
Shaia’s displayed sexy and sporty men’s attire on the BFW runway. “Shaia’s is a men’s wear retailer in the finest sense of tradition. More than a shop that sells suits, sportwear, shoes, accessories, and formal wear; it is a destination for camaraderie,” www.bhamfashionweek.com
Gus Mayer featured marvelous fashions that made every lady ready for a shopping trip! “Gus Mayer is one of the premiere shopping destinations of The Summit Lifestyle Center. It sells designer, contemporary, bridge clothing, accessories, shoes, and jewelry for women,” www.bhamfashionweek.com
Headlining designer of the night was Amy Smilovic (Tibi). “Tibi’s contemporary clothing line is sold at more than six hundred retailers worldwide, including Neiman Marcus, Harrods, and Saks Fifth Avenue.” (www.bhamfashionweek.com) ” I love it when I see an individual’s personal style reflected in the way they dress. And I always think a woman should dress in contradictions – youthful and sophisticated, masculine and feminine, bold and muted colors,” http://www.tibi.com/about/inspiration/
Hello, hello, hello, fashionistas! I have a fabulous interview to share with y’all today…the interview with the darling designer, Mandi Faulk! She was the winner of the 2012 BFW Emerging Designer Competition. So, without further ado, I present to you, the interview with the fantastic Mandi Faulk!
Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m a twenty-seven year old fashion designer from Oxford, Alabama. I grew up with three older sisters and a huge passion for design.
I began my apparel design degree when I was nineteen at The University of Alabama. My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer shortly after, so I moved back to Oxford when I was twenty-one to help my family.
While back in Oxford, I worked in retail management for four years and took Esthetic classes at a local college. Once my father was able to work his consulting business again, I moved back to Tuscaloosa in April 2011 to finish my degree in apparel and textile design at UA.
Who inspired you to become a designer?
Growing up, my mother designed and made jewelry. She allowed me to create whatever I wanted, and I believe that was the beginning of my apparel design obsession.
When I was about six, I would set up my bedroom like it was my clothing store instead of playing “teacher” or “tea party”. I took clothes from my closet and displayed them all over my room for my sisters to come shopping.
In 5th grade, I began drawing my own designs. I was a fan of the Spice Girls, and their unconventional sense of style inspired me to design new looks for them.
In 6th grade, I started redesigning my own clothes. I would put something on and couldn’t help but imagine it looking better “like this.” My parents were always supportive of my designs and encouraged my imagination.
It is hard to believe it has been a year since you won Birmingham Fashion Week Emerging Designer 2012. How has your life and designs changed since winning that competition?
Since BFW 2012, I graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in apparel and textile design.
Winning the competition boosted my design confidence, and I have visually designed too many things to get down on paper. Since winning, I have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people in the industry and have been recognized locally. It’s very surreal and I’m so thankful for such a wonderful blessing.
Also, I am currently seeking a fashion design job and building my website.
Tell us about your design philosophy.
My foundation for design is to be innovative and fresh by using a commixture of fashion-forward styles. I constantly seek inspiration, whether it’s obtained through architecture, nature, textures, or timeless icons. My dreams have been crucially beneficial as an element of inspiration and manifestation.
I like the idea of embracing the beauty of grunge while preserving the sexy, urban sophistication of today’s modern woman. The woman I design for is chic, trendy, and appreciates a fresh dynamic esthetic. I want my customer to feel confident, strong, and beautiful while she makes it look easily natural to others.
I adore your “Wanderlust” collection! What is the inspiration behind it?
Thank you! The inspiration behind Wanderlust came from the idea of combining different styles from different locations. When someone is asked about their style, I don’t feel they should be limited to just one. Wanderlust is a mixture of textures and natural colors. It’s bohemian sophistication with an edge.
What is the best advice for aspiring designers?
Don’t second guess yourself. If you visualize something, draw it. If you end up not loving it, you can determine what it is that you like about that design and incorporate that into something better. Second guessing yourself is a good way of bruising your imagination.
To be a designer, you must be self-motivated and really live, breathe, and dream design. If it’s there, it will only intensify. If you’re interested more in clothes that you in see in stores rather than ones that pop into your head, you could become a stylist. It takes just as much creativity and talent to become a stylist as it does a designer. Some of my friends in design school said that they too had been faced with this life decision.
On your website, you talk about “Alabama Forever” and “Operation Prom Dress” charities. How did you become involved with these organizations, and how can the VIP readers help support them?
Alabama Forever is a charity founded by Alex Sokol and Chris Nix. After the April 2011 tornadoes in Alabama, this charity was formed to help those communities. I had the pleasure of meeting Alex Sokol at BFW 2012, and his passion for this charity is contagious. The Emerging Designers from BFW 2012 were asked to design a tshirt for this charity. This is their mission statement: “The mission of Alabama Forever is simple-to help our communities in need. Alabama Forever was founded by tragedy, developed by necessity, and inspired by the beauty and strength of what makes Alabama special, its people. Our efforts will all be community based with the sum of the whole being far greater than its parts.” –Alabama Forever www.alabamaforever.org/
The University of Alabama has a club called Fashion Inc. I was the Vice-President for that club, and we got involved with Operation Prom Dress. We wanted to do something for the high school girls in Tuscaloosa that were affected by the tornadoes, as well as those that were financially unable to buy a new prom dress. Every girl deserves to feel beautiful on prom night, so Fashion Inc. partnered with Operation Prom Dress and we held many dress drives. Over 170 dresses were donated to us. I’m beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a humbling experience. I’ll never forget the profound appreciation and genuine smiles of the girls when they came to pick out their dresses. www.opdproject205.org/
What are you bringing to the Birmingham Fashion Week runway this year?
This year, I will be showing new designs from my Wanderlust collection. It is my spring line that covers different types of styles. It’s a little more casual than my Catching Dreams collection that I showed last year. I incorporated browns and blacks, which, for whatever reason, has gotten such a bad rap. Rusts and burnt oranges aren’t typically what you would see for a spring collection, so I incorporated those as well. I want to encourage people to think outside the box instead of limiting their wardrobe choices.
When you are not designing, what do you enjoy doing?
When I’m not designing, I try to spend as much time as possible with my family and friends. My family is a huge part of my life and spending time with them reminds me of what’s important in life. I’m a Southern girl at heart, so I really enjoy being outdoors. Whether it be fishing, boating, hiking, or kayaking, I’m going to love it. As far as my guilty pleasure: ice cream. It could be snowing outside and ice cream would always sound like a delicious idea!
VIP QUESTION: What is one item in your closet you would never toss out and why?
As superficial as this might be, I refuse to throw out my “skinny” jeans. Not skinny as in the fit, because they’re flared, but skinny as in the jeans I wore when I was at my fittest. The knees are worn out with authentic holes and other places have been patched up like a champ, but I refuse to throw them out. They remind me that it is important to stay active and healthy. Plus, they hold some really good memories.
To learn more about Birmingham Fashion Week, take a gander at their website: www.bhamfashionweek.com. If you are interested in purchasing tickets for Birmingham Fashion Week, click here.