Project:Design! Emerging Designer Contest Runway Recap

 In Style

Last evening, Windows on Washington was buzzing with excitement when the six talented Project:Design! contestants made the final reveal of their collections. There were “ooh’s,” “ahh’s” and a constant flood of “tweets” from the audience about what they loved, liked, and had to have. The designers did not disappoint, and with distinguished guest (and NYFW founder) Fern Mallis in attendance and a $30,000 prize pack up for grabs, the stakes were high.

Here is a rundown of the collections and a few top picks we just couldn’t resist.

Photos by Mark Schwigen for ALIVE Magazine and Saint Louis Fashion Week.

Abaya Dake

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Clean lines, bold colors and graphic tribal prints reigned supreme in Abaya Dake’s fun collection. With just the right amount of drama, Dake managed to put a new twist on evening wear by creating silhouettes that are flattering to a woman’s figure and unexpected in color and design. His peek-a-boo pleats, peeks and collar additions have us dreaming of wearing one of these beauties for our next formal event.


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Taking over the runway with a dark Victorian twist was Fouche by Nicole Fouche, who gave us the feeling of being lost in a very fashionable forest. Models sported unkempt braids with leaves and flowers intertwined, dewy and mysterious makeup and beautiful handmade creations that inspired a feeling of wanderlust. Rich colors, lace, velvet and an ode to an earlier era gave her collection a wearable, Gothic feel with a youthful edge.

Miita Collection

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Fresh and young, Miita Collection stood out with their use of transparency, dashes of fur and high shine. Their jackets were a crowd favorite—clean, edgy and wearable, offering refreshing updates on wardrobe staples like the raincoat and the moto-jacket.

Q Liu

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Qun Liu’s breathtaking handmade, felt pieces nearly stole the show as the first wearable art to hit the runway. Her immaculate craftsmanship, vision and execution gave her pieces a classic feel, while the edgy cuts kept the garments youthful and relatable to women of all ages.  The looks appeared to be hand-painted, but were actually created by a technique she used to felt layers of wool and silk, giving each piece the feel of coveting a piece of art.

Black by Maria Silver

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Black by Maria Silver presented guests with a collection that balanced night and day with a combination of pieces that targeted women of all ages. She intermixed updates to old favorites—like the mesh and buckle-accented trench—with unique originals like the peek-a-boo floral dress with pops of polka dots.

Spansen Filles

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Savannah-based Spansen Filles brought avant-garde winter-wear to the agenda with statement pieces that were layered, tucked and pleated, giving them an unexpected edge. The androgynous collection had a heavy menswear feel with an air of femininity, surprise details and cozy cable knits that were chic and eye-catching.

Keep tabs on Style Notes for more STLFW updates, news, reviews and more as we head back to Windows on Washington tonight for the final show. See you there!

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