Fashion Week Cleveland 2011: Black Tie Gala and Runway Show

As we walked up to the two Italianate Renaissance mansions that make up the majority of the Western Reserve Historical Society, it was easy to feel like we were in a different place in our own city. That transformation continued as we opened the doors to the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum for Fashion Week Cleveland’s Black Tie Gala and Runway Show. The Cleveland I know, where jeans and a nice top are sufficient for any range of social outings, was Cinderella at the ball for the night, decked out in evening dresses and tuxedos.

Arriving “fashionably late”, we were still able to partake in the cocktail drinking, mingling, classic car ogling portion of the night. We were impressed by the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT in the lobby—the same model used in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.

Guests pose for a picture before the show:

There was also a Pop-Up Boutique Mall, which I wish I had had more time to peruse. Fortunately, I did get in touch with a representative from Crocs, one of the sponsors and outfitters of the event. Models wore footwear from its YOU by crocs and Translucents Collections. From YOU by crocs, models wore the Babasita, which features an ergonomically designed footbed for minimizing muscle fatigue. I am extremely impressed by how stylish they are. Here is Justinea modeling a pair:

(Above): Translucents Collection on display. (Below): Models wearing the Transluscents Collection.

After navigating our way through the crowd and cars, we realized that getting a seat close to the front row would be more difficult than we imagined. The Plain Dealer estimated attendance of 500+. We grabbed a seat in one of the corners hoping to glance at the models right as they walked out.

The show began with comments from event founder Donald Shingler—and some regrets from city officials including comments from the offices of Mayor Frank Jackson and Sen. Sherrod Brown. Performing on the violin was famed Cleveland Institute of Music graduate, Andrew Sords. Of his selections, I really enjoyed Bhrams’ Hungarian Dance No. 5.

Despite what seemed like some technical difficulties with the sound system, the event had high energy as the crowd buzzed over the knitwear, swim/cruise wear, men’s fashions, and evening and wedding dresses from designers: Corrine Brothers, Pamela Truemper, Tracey Kiefer, Michael Wilson, and Britini Brocker.

Maybe I just love a good floor-length gown, but the gorgeous evening and bridal dresses from BBG Couture by Britini Brocker really caught my attention. One such dress was a blue evening gown with frilly ruffles flowing around the neckline and cascading down the back of the dress. A graduate from Kent State University, Britini started out as a designer for Abercrombie & Fitch. Her experience definitely showed as I thought she had a great eye for creating designs that women would like.

Models wear Corrine Brothers’ unique, funky designs and Crocs’ Transluscents Collection:

One of Tracy Kiefer’s daring swimsuits. Model is wearing Crocs’ Transluscents Collection:

As always, it was nice to see my fellow local bloggers. In the purple is Dina from Dina’s Days:

Stacey from Goodwill Huntingg:

The event ended with a quiet after party at the classy L’Albatros. It seemed that many event-goers found alternative after parties due to the limited seating. Had the weather been better, the outdoor patio would have been perfect.

Overall the event seemed like a fun way for recent grads and newer labels to gain experience and exposure. It was a good showing of artistic and creative talents, and a perfect excuse for me and the boy to get all gussied up.

(Photos: A mixture of my own, Crocs, and BBG Couture)

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