South Walton Fashion Week Dazzles the Catwalk
By Jordan Staggs | Photography by Sheila Goode
The sleek white runway stood out in a sea of chairs topped with exclusive swag bags. Lights flashed in time as the bass pumped. The energy was almost palpable as tensions and butterflies rose among models and designers backstage. The same could be said of anticipation levels out front; the impeccably styled members of the audience, the media pit, and the esteemed panel of judges anxiously awaited the first look to saunter down the catwalk. It cannot be denied; there’s nothing like fashion week.
Couture connoisseurs from around the country flocked to Grand Boulevard at Sandestin’s Town Center in Miramar Beach, Florida, for the area’s most fashionable event of the year, South Walton Fashion Week 2014 in early October. The second annual event was preceded by a week of designer trunk shows, special shopping events, and preview parties, not to mention months of hard work put in by the featured runway designers and stores, hair and makeup specialists, event organizers, and models.
In addition to events and runway shows put on by local boutiques, SWFW featured runway shows by Nicole Paloma, 51INC, and Mychael Knight, as well as the Emerging Designer Competition.
Presented by Visit South Walton, South Walton Fashion Week (SWFW) was produced by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County in conjunction with Briane O’Dell and Hillary Fosdyck of Monark Events, and Grand Boulevard at Sandestin.
In addition to events and runway shows put on by local boutiques, SWFW featured runway shows by Nicole Paloma, 51INC, and Mychael Knight, as well as the Emerging Designer Competition, during which designers from around the country vied for a cash prize, a spread in VIE’s 2015 Food and Fashion Issue captured by renowned photographer Sheila Goode, and his or her own featured runway show at SWFW 2015. America’s Next Top Model Cycle 2 winner Yoanna House emceed the main event.
The competition was fierce between these emerging designer finalists: Maria Bailey (MZK Designs), Quieesha Fanesse Burns (Bodii Bii Corii), Andi Eaton (Hazel and Florange), Annie Etzel (Annie E. Apparel), Nayoung Grace LaPerriere (Amazing Grace Couture), Nikki Manuel (American Prep Clothing Company), Tara Skelley (Dilettante Collection), Caroline Smith (Janie G. Couture), and competition winner Romey Roe, whose collection, Retrospect Introspection, beguiled and impressed the three judges: Project Runway alumnus Mychael Knight, New York City designer Jin Seo of 51INC, and VIE publisher Lisa Burwell.
And no runway would be complete without the models. South Walton Fashion Week’s Model Competition was full of beauty, grace, and talent, enhanced with hair and makeup provided by Vivo Spa Salon and MAC Cosmetics at Belk in Destin Commons and Pier Park. The winning model, Maleena Pruitt of nearby Niceville, Florida, won a cash prize and an interview with Click Models of Atlanta, will be the face of South Walton Fashion Week 2015, and will be modeling Romey Roe’s designs in the photo shoot with Sheila Goode for VIE’s next Food and Fashion Issue. Model judges included America’s Next Top Model Cycle 19 winner Laura James, photographer Sheila Goode, makeup artist Yvette Nation, and VIE art director Tracey Thomas.
Outside the runway, the SWFW Style Lounge featured pop-up shops, signature cocktails, a beauty bar, and the VIP lounge for guests to enjoy while they waited for the main event, all presented by dedicated local sponsors. Congratulations to all on making SWFW 2014 a success, and VIE can’t wait to see you again next year!
Look for an in-depth story on SWFW featuring Romey Roe and Maleena Pruitt, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be an SWFW model, coming up in VIE’s March/April 2015 Food and Fashion Issue!