All photos by Brian Chilson.
This year’s Designer’s Choice Preview
, at the Metroplex, proved to be a strong follow-up to last year’s hit inaugural event. Fashion-lovers crowded around the white-silk draped catwalk eagerly awaiting a favored designer. Though the show started late, hosts Kortu Momolu and Jerrell Scott, were worth waiting for, as they provided the crowd with witty jabs toward one another, insight on each designer and plenty of shout-outs to Little Rock.
The hosts’ collections, which book-ended the event (Momolu designs were a surprise showing), were the obvious standouts. With no introduction, Scott’s models stomped down the runway to upbeat world music. The mix of urban and tribal looks included lots of color with an emphasis on a lime green and grey stripe and black-and-white kaleidoscopic print. Though heavy-handed with the trim and embellishments, Scott’s collection was an energetic jump-start to the evening.
The show continued with collections from eight other designers, each showing a handful of looks that included something for everyone. There was a party-ready white-tiered dress with a high neckline and short hemline, from Nicole McGee, a classic black trench with blouson sleeves from Linda Thomas and breast-plate jewelry displayed on energetic models by Star Akel.
Backstage, in a relatively calm atmosphere, the designer and talented artist Marcus Lewis described his collection as “moving art.” Later, during his segment, he was the clear crowd favorite, wheeling onstage on a bike. His models came out in eye-popping designs displayed on street-wear such as jeans, sneakers and denim jackets. Lewis even managed to customize a one-piece bathing suit with his use of graffiti-like color and design. Recognizing the benefits of styling his work, Lewis’s models had some of the best hair and make-up of the group.
Much of the evening’s talent came through the hair and make-up artists. Each designer had their own team and one hundred plus models between them. Every model sent down the runway had been given a thoughtful makeover, in line with the designer’s aesthetic. The trend of the evening was eyelashes. Feathers and sequins curled up past temples adding color and drama. Each designer seemed very grateful toward the artists, often giving accolades by bringing them onstage. Make-up artist Sandy Polano even had time to enjoy the fashion, citing Lewis’s bathing suit as a definite favorite.
Momolu ended the evening with her collection. Keeping her signature looks such as colorful and figure friendly maxi dresses and horn-handled handbags, Momolu added to the mix by bringing in new color to her bags and weightier fabrics to her dresses.
The still-energetic crowd was moving on to the after-party as Timmons-Nooner was assuring everyone that there would be a third Designer’s Choice Fashion Preview and even named the date as the last weekend of March.
A regular fashion show in Little Rock could give local talent something to work toward as well as a chance to make crucial connections in the industry. Also, assuming Timmons-Nooner can only accommodate so many designers, it means the possibility of competition, and if Momolu’s success is anything to go by, competition can only be a good thing.