Phoenix Fashion Week has established itself as one of the most stylish annual occasions in the Valley.
It also has brought together the fashion and business worlds, helped aspiring designers and models take the next step of their careers, launched local brands and showcased international designers. All that work throughout the year culminates with three swanky nights at Talking Stick Resort.
Phoenix Fashion Week focuses on three tiers of designers: established, emerging and hobby-based designers looking for exposure. Each night has a different theme, with “Community” on Oct. 5, “Contemporary” on Oct. 6 and “Luxury Couture” on Oct. 7.
The weekend kicks off with the Fashionably Pink Show, featuring breast cancer survivors and local celebrities wearing designs from top retailers. A live and silent auction will benefit breast cancer charity Don’t be a Chump! Check for a Lump! and its Wig Out program.
Thursday night will also feature 12 local, community designers, each presenting two looks.
“These are designers that are just starting out,” said executive director Brian Hill. “We wanted to give them a platform locally, and are helping them with photo shoots, organizing look books and bringing them on stage…It gives them confidence and exposure to help catapult their brands.”
Rounding out Thursday night are some of the graduates of the Emerging Designer Bootcamp, a three-month intensive program led by True Religion co-founder Kym Gold. The rest of the emerging designers will show their collections the next two nights.
“I met Kym (Gold) at a charity event in California two years ago, and we talked about Phoenix Fashion Week,” Hill said. “I told her what we do for young designers, and she went through the materials…and asked how she could help, pro bono.”
Gold helped run the bootcamp July through September, mentoring the designers, giving speeches, and challenging them to design a red carpet dress.
Friday night will feature established designers, including Barbara Bultman, whose work will close out the evening. Based in St. Louis, Bultman was an emerging designer in 2016 and won Designer of the Year. She is known for her uniquely sculpted women’s wear for work and play.
Dolcessa Swimwear is another emerging-turned-established designer showing on Friday. Based in Las Vegas, the designer’s looks have appeared on Kate Upton and Hannah Jeter in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
The showstopping couture designs on Saturday night are always a crowd favorite and will close out the three-day affair.
“They’ll launch their collections here in Phoenix before bringing them to L.A.,” Hill said. “Here they can record video and take high-resolution photos of the collections, package and re-package them, and send them out to red carpet stylists and celebrity assistants.”
This year, Filipino designer Rocky Gathercole returns as the penultimate designer on Saturday night, whose wild and fanciful avant-garde designs have been worn by Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj and Paris Hilton.
Dubai-based Yas Couture will close the weekend with gowns that feature intricate beading, daring cut-outs and playful fringe. Her looks have appeared on Carrie Underwood and Katy Perry.
Details: 5 p.m. registration and shopping opens, 7:30 p.m. seating begins. Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 5-7. Talking Stick Resort, 9800 Talking Stick Way, Salt River Reservation. $30-$240. Packages and cabanas available. phoenixfashionweek.com.
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