The Designers and Special Guests of Saint Louis Fashion Week Sound Off

 In Style

Amid the hustle and bustle of Saint Louis Fashion Week, ALIVE managed to catch up with the designers, jurors and special guests of the Saint Louis Fashion Fund Emerging Designer Competition Presented by Brown Shoe Company and the STLFW headlining runway show featuring Yigal Azrouël, Tess Giberson and Timo Weiland.

Behind the scenes at multiple events, from the Saint Louis Fashion Fund Emerging Designer-Juror luncheon, hosted by William Shearburn Gallery, to backstage at Union Station’s Midway before the runway events and while attending the inaugural Fashion Fund Gala, we got the 411 on what some of the fashion industry’s most influential leaders and talents had to say about fashion, St. Louis and the collections featured on the STLFW runways.

Exclusive video interviews are coming soon, but we couldn’t resist sharing some of our favorite outtakes….

Special Guest/Lead Juror and New York Fashion Week creator Fern Mallis

On what she looks forward to at Saint Louis Fashion Week: “Seeing someone emerge who you say, ‘You know, they’re gonna make it.’ They really have the chance to succeed, whether it’s here locally or to move on from here, but to know that St. Louis was a platform that helped move them to another place.”

On her advice to designers: “My advice to designers has always been to be nice. People want to work with people who are nice. Work with the challenges; it’s not easy. Nobody’s a success overnight. Not one designer who has been successful has had it easy. Marc Jacobs wound up being bankrupt four or five times before he had a business. Keep the faith.”

Fern Mallis, center. Photo by Mark Schwigen

Fern Mallis, center. Photo by Mark Schwigen.

Saint Louis Fashion Fund Honoree and Influential Editor Derek Blasberg

From Instagram: “This is my best “gee whizz, who me, oh you shouldn’t have, c’mon guys” face. (Nailed it, right?) It was an honor to have been honored by the St Louis fashion community last night. Best homecoming ever!”

(P.S. Find more of his STL love in our October STLFW issue!)

Instagram, Derek Blasberg

Instagram, Derek Blasberg


Special Guest/Juror, Renowned Designer and Former CFDA President Stan Herman

On what St. Louis could become: “I never expected to be in St. Louis. But the beauty of it is that St. Louis is trying to become a part of the big scheme of fashion in America, which I think is the healthiest thing that could happen to the industry. Talent isn’t about region. It’s not just in New York.”

Photo by Mark Schwigen

Renowned designer Stan Herman. Photo by Mark Schwigen.


Special Guest/Juror and Refinery29 Editor-in-Chief Christene Barberich

On the importance of the Emerging Designer Competition: “It’s a great opportunity for anybody who wants to launch a really successful fashion business because it’s not enough to be a great designer. You really have to know how to design for a customer and how to do something that is essential in the marketplace, not just fulfilling a whim. It’s really exciting for an aspiring designer to be in a place like this and have that attention and visibility.”

Emily Koplar (left) and Refinery29 Editor-in-Chief Christene Barberich (right). Photo by Mark Schwigen

Designer Emily Koplar (left) with juror and Refinery29 Editor-in-Chief Christene Barberich (right). Photo by Mark Schwigen.

Special Guest/Juror and Brown Shoe Company Vice President of Marketing for Naturalizer Marci Ranger

On seeing Saint Louis Fashion Week for the first time: “We really believe that it’s about great product, great design and fostering new talent, because that is the lifeblood of this whole industry. I loved the individuality. Each of the designers had a great story to tell and point of view that really came through. I really appreciated their creativity, their passion and their resourcefulness in their designs.”

Photo by Mark Schwigen

Marci Ranger. Photo by Mark Schwigen.

Headlining Designer Yigal Azrouël

On the collections he showed: “It’s an idea of individuality more than the trends. I’m showing part of my resort collection and part of my spring and summer collection. My resort collection is about architecture and construction, because I did the collaboration with the Guggenheim a couple months ago, and the construction and the tailoring was influenced by that. For spring, it was a little bit more influenced by a surfing mood because I grew up a surfer, and I used the color, the palm tree idea and little things that make it very luxurious, without losing the architectural part of it.”

STLFW Style Director and ALIVE Fashion Editor Sarah Stallmann, Yigal Azrouel, and ALIVE Executive Editor Jennifer Dulin Wiley. Photo by Matt Kile.

STLFW Style Director and ALIVE Fashion Editor Sarah Stallmann, Yigal Azrouel, and ALIVE Executive Editor Jennifer Dulin Wiley. Photo by Matt Kile.

Headlining Designer Tess Giberson

On her collection: “For this collection, I was taking these very classic pieces and twisting them. I was inspired by the idea of  ‘Operator,’ where you take a word and whisper it around the room, and by the end, it’s something different but has a connection to where it started from. I was applying that to the actual clothing.”

Tess Giberson on the right. Photo by Matt Kile

Tess Giberson (right). Photo by Matt Kile.

Headlining Designer Timo Weiland

On St. Louis’ fashion potential: “I’ve made a few key hires from St. Louis.”

Timo Weiland backstage. Photo by Matt Kile.

Timo Weiland backstage. Photo by Matt Kile.

Emerging Designer Competition Winner Daniella Kallmeyer

On her win: “I am beyond overwhelmed. I am honored. My mind is racing a mile a minute. I’m surprised because I was among amazing talent, and I really think it could have gone to anyone. I’m so, so honored to have the chance to move my brand forward. Development costs are really high for a collection that’s really about quality and simplicity, so it will give me a little room for a margin of error for the experimentation I do—like for the pleating I did this season. [The award will help me] be able to explore those things a little more so I continue the uniqueness the brand has on its subtleties. I’m really, really excited to sit down with the judges and have their mentorship and advice on which direction to move.”

Photo by

Danielle Kallmeyer. Photo by Mark Schwigen

Emerging Designer Runner-Up Charles Harbison of HARBISON

On his collection: “The colors were derived from Jean-Blaise Martin, who was one of the thematic references for the season. I love his use of graphic color-blocking and wanted that to be a foundational aesthetic reference for the collection.”

Photo by Mark Schwigen

Charles Harbison. Photo by Mark Schwigen.


Emerging Designer Contestant Hillary Taymour of Collina Strada

On the woman she designs for: “I design for someone who’s effortlessly cool. It’s still easy but a lot of pieces will fit different body types, but they’re something they can grab and say, ‘This will fit in my closet!’ and wear with a chunky sweater. It doesn’t have to be so much a ‘look’ — it’s nice and luxe, but you don’t have to really try too hard. That’s what I’m going for.”

Photo by Mark Schwigen

Taymor shows her collection to juror and fashion financier Gary Wassner at the Saint Louis Fashion Fund Emerging Designer luncheon. Photo by Mark Schwigen.


Emerging Designer Contestant Emily Koplar of Wai Ming

On how she designs: “I’ll start out with one iconic design for the season. I’ll know what I need, and then I start figuring out what other fabrics are going to go with this, what colors. One idea kind of flourishes into all of these other things. I love the marble print we did for this season: It’s a print inspired by Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, this astrological sculpture park. You have all of these sculptures that can tell time, track the sun, track the stars, all built in the 1700s.”

Emily Koplar. Photo by Mark Schwigen

Emerging Designer Contestants Lisa Panza and Liz Patelski of Remi Canarie

On their design aesthetic: “It’s ours together. It took us a few collections to get there, but we’ve taken it and run with it now. Liz really looks more to timeless beauty and earth tones, very elegant, very detail-oriented. I was studying menswear so I was more interesting in a little bit more functional clothing and textiles that were really colorful and out-there.”

Photo by Mark Schwigen

Lisa Panza and Liz Patelski of Remi Canarie. Photo by Mark Schwigen.


Emerging Designer Contestant Jessie Liu

On her collection: “I collaborated on this collection with a Chinese modern artist. I took parts from his artwork and reconstructed them into prints to apply to my designs. The whole collection is about the prints and the colors, printed onto high-quality silks.”

Jessie Liu. Photo by Mark Schwigen.

Presentation Designer Neil Bardon of Saint Rita Parlor

On his love for St. Louis: “St. Louis has always had a special place in my heart. My grandmother’s from here; I’m from here. I spent so much time away and developed myself, my craft. The next couple of years for St. Louis are going to be super-exciting. We used to have all the big production here, and that’s a huge part of it, but it’s also a really amazing space. That plays a huge role in it, in how the veins go across the country; it’s really important to be influential.”

Photo by Matt Kile

Neil Bardon of Saint Rita Parlor. Photo by Matt Kile.


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