Saint Louis Fashion Week: Backstage Pass

Insiders guide to the citys most anticipated fashion event, including what youll see, what goes on behind the scenes and whythis yearmissing even one show would mean missing oh-so-much.


Saint Louis Fashion Week tickets on sale now!

As the lone soul to have ever braved the role of Saint Louis Fashion Week Style Director, to state that I know what goes into putting on the fashion-fueled extravaganza presented by Brown Shoe would be an understatement. Every year, we make it our mission to introduce local fashion enthusiasts to clothing not yet in stores, fall trends they’ve only seen in glossies and previously unheard-of young designers that can legitimately be labeled as the industry’s next big stars. It’s a team effort to ensure that everything—from the models (many of whom walk international runways) to the music (aka, what you’ll be downloading next year)—not only meets, but exceeds the hype. It’s an exhilarating, fashion-filled frenzie after which some serious Zen time will likely be necessary. Apparently, exhaustion brings out the best in fashion folks, and—let’s just say—this year, we’re jonesing for a nap more than ever.

Brown Shoe Presents Project:Design!

Tuesday, Oct. 11
2720 Cherokee St.

Jill’s take: A first-time STLFW venue, 2720 will serve as the launch pad for the week and—if history repeats—many a career. The six designers who’ve earned their spots on the runway via online votes will present their collections to a packed house. PD alums like “Project Runway” cast members Michael Drummond, A.J. Thouvenot and Laura Kathleen Planck have gone on to experience much related success. As one of five judges, I’ll have a say in which designer walks away with the title. Taking advantage of a time I’ll actually be sitting that week, I plan on wearing my highest heels on Day 1.

Find Your Magic Presented by Macy’s

Wednesday, Oct. 12
Macy’s, Saint Louis Galleria

Jill’s take: For those who are of the mindset that fashion shows are too often heavy in clothes that are “out there” or unwearable, the Macy’s show is a breath of fresh air. Rather than clothes that you’ll dream about wearing this fall, it will feature the pieces you’ll be excited to actually see in your closet. My appointment as the week’s Style Director doubles as a pass to preview Macy’s hottest fall merchandise— including the latest by I.N.C., Rachel Rachel Roy and Bar III. Getting to style the “real” looks for the runway is one of my favorite perks of the job.

Fall 2011: Rebecca Taylor Presented by saks Fifth Ave.

Thursday, Oct. 13
Saks Fifth Avenue, Plaza Frontenac

Jill’s take: Popularly featuring the best of what’s new in luxury fashion, the annual Saks Fifth Avenue runway show is set to be more impressive than any before. The event’s loyal audience has come to expect a show-stopping lineup of looks, and this year is no exception. Rebecca Taylor herself —a New York Fashion Week regular best known for her celeb-beloved line of flirty-urban, vintage-mod wear—will be showcasing her latest work live, in front of countless fans. I, for one, cannot wait.

Indulge at Plaza Frontenac

Friday, Oct. 14
Plaza Frontenac

Jill’s take: After weeks of working with most every store manager in Plaza Frontenac, it all comes down to Friday. Then, our choice fall looks from each retailer—including Eileen Fisher, Ann Taylor and more—will play out in one runway show, which is always among the week’s highlights and is never lacking in variety. Though accustomed to manning a crew of backstage dressers and answering to the dozens of shop persons involved, I typically end up feeling like a ringmaster—admittedly motivated by Britney Spears’ “Circus.” With even more stores onboard this year than last, I may need a whip.

Liquid Style

Saturday, Oct. 15
HoteLumiére in Downtown St. Louis

Jill’s take: One of the longest standing STLFW traditions, the Liquid Style show is once again the week’s finale. ALIVE’s crew will return to HoteLumiére to stage an impressive showing of ready-to-wear looks from the city’s favorite boutiques. Spending much time and effort teaming with my friends at Apricot Lane, Brown Shoe, Epiphany, The Eye Bar, Ivy Hill, Meka and Sole and Blues to help choose which looks make the cut, I will likely regard the show as “my baby” and will watch like a proud parent— on tape, after the fact. They don’t call it behind the scenes for nothing.








Photo credit: Photos by Derek Felman

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