heidi elnora

Birmingham Fashion Week 2016 

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Birmingham, Alabama may not be the fashion capital of anywhere.
Still, as someone who can’t whisk away to New York Fashion week, Birmingham Fashion Week is something I look forward to every year. And I’m sad to say, the curtain may be closing on the entire production.

For the past six years, it’s all been thanks to the founders Heidi Elnora and Jeana Lee Thompson. They have VOLUNTEERED their time to make it happen. They have put their sweat, tears, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they bled a little, to make this fashion magic happen. But putting on multiple shows ain’t cheap. So, Heidi and Jeana are looking for someone to fully sponsor it! If no one steps up, we will have to bid it adieu. In the meantime, I can just look back on another (and hopefully, not final) fabulous year!

Heidi Elnora closed out the three-day event with her gorgeous bridal collection. The show started with a Cirque du Soleil-type performance before the models started filing down the runway. Budding super model Baskin Champion was the line leader (I’m sure there’s a runway term for that, but hey, it’s the mom in me coming out!). It ended with Prince’s Purple Rain” and on the last beat of the song, the show ended with a pyrotechnics and a shower of gold streamers. It was pretty breathtaking. Heidi knows how to put on a show!


Other designers included Abbey Glass

Alice and Trixie


and Hale BobBenjamin JayCharles Ellis Sartorial.. Rails… and by Smith.

Local retailers also featured ready-to-wear looks. The world’s first super model with Down Syndrome, Madeline Stuart, actually opened the show for Pretty Wolf.

The Clothes Tree was one of my fave runway retailers!

Here are some looks from fab’rik Birmingham. Always a fun place to shop!

Other retailers include Alchemy 213, Gus Mayer and  Tom James.

A big part of what Birmingham Fashion Week is about, is recognizing young talent and giving aspiring designers an outlet to show off their creations. There are two competitions: one for emerging designers at the collegiate level and another for middle/high school designers who use unconventional materials to create high fashion looks. Winners are awarded scholarships/monetary prizes!

This was last year’s emerging designer winner:

These were a few of my favorite finalists from this year:

Another fun part of fashion week is choosing what to wear! I admit, being five months pregnant presented quite the challenge! But I’ll be posting how I tried to come up with fashion-forward maternity looks soon!

Hopefully, you can see why Birmingham Fashion Week is important to my community. It’s just another way to give us fashion lovers of all ages a way to celebrate creativity and style! I would hate for this to be my last BFW post, but if this does end up being the last year, I guess that will leave me with no choice than to make it to New York!! ;

As always, thanks for reading!

Vanessa

BFW: Finale Recap

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Birmingham Fashion Week definitely saved the best for last. The finale night was jam-packed and so is this post! The evening’s shows were full of drama, free spirits and flat-out amazing design. I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride! And this ride didn’t get off to a slow start.

Local designer, Project Runway alum, upcoming reality TV star and BFW co-founder (multi-hyphenate anyone?!) Heidi Elnora had the crowd mesmerized with her dramatic, zombie-inspired show. It started with amazing acrobatics and contortions from Alabama Ballet. And what was next…Whoa! I was *this* close to calling World War Z star Brad Pitt to the rescue. But somehow, Heidi still managed to keep it beautiful. Kudos to the creative direction!

My only disappointment was the dramatic lighting was not ideal for my piddly little iPhone camera. I couldn’t capture any of the amazing images during the show. I was able to get video of the final walk and that gives you an idea of what we all experienced.

We also got a final look at the Rising Design Star Challenge finalists and the Emerging Designer finalists. The winners of those contests in a moment.

Then, we saw some ready to wear fabulousness from local retailers Soca Clothing and Laura Kathryn.

Then the ride took a fun twist. Show Me Your Mumu took the stage with their first runway show ever! What a score, Birmingham! I mean, this show…I’m not a Coachella girl, but I sure as heck wanted to be when I watched this show. It was so fun, carefree and effervescent. A true breath of fresh air. One of the designers, Cammy took the time to meet us bloggers before the show (and even after) and I cannot wait to share her take on the brand in an upcoming post!

And, finally, headlining designer Rebecca Taylor closed things out. Talk about another twist! We went from the footloose, fancy free, music festival girl to the cutting edge, polished, professional woman. It was great to see Birmingham Fashion Week cater to such a broad spectrum of fans. Here are some highlights from Rebecca Taylor.

At the end of the night, winners of local competitions were announced. Congrats to Emerging Designer winner, Lauren Ledford; Rising Star Challenge winner, Sarah Foret and Fresh Face model competition winner, Anna Marie Parrish.

 

 

And, once again, I had to take some snaps of some of my fave looks off the runway.

 

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That’s a wrap! Birmingham Fashion Week 2014 left me waiting impatiently for next year’s shows! I can say Project Runway alum Anthony Ryan Auld has said he’ll see us again next year, so it looks like we can look forward to more amazing designs and entertainment from him! If you weren’t able to make it, I hope I successfully recapped the big events to make you feel like you were there! Thanks for reading!

Birmingham Fashion Week Kick-Off

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Birmingham Fashion Week starts tonight! I’m more than ready to see famed designers show their hottest Spring trends. Young, local designers also get a chance to show off their innovation and creativity! It will be awesome!

To set the tone for this week of fabulosity (yeah, I stole Kimora Lee’s catch phrase, don’t judge me), show organizers held a kick-off gala at the Alabama Ballet center for dance on Saturday. In attendance: show organizers Heidi Elnora and Jeana Lee Fleming, models, stylists and one budding fashionista!

It was a perfect night to get dressed up and also get an inside look at the Alabama Ballet costume shop!

I love seeing what everyone is wearing, so my goals for the night were to meet new, fashionably-invested people and to see what people were wearing!

I didn’t even take my own pic, but I did manage to get in front of the camera with fashion week co-founders!

Because I couldn’t shop for anything new, I wore a two-year old lace dress I purchased from Lotus Boutique (a local business), my Charlotte Russe Outlet necklace featured in a recent blog post, Madden Girl heels from DSW and a sequin clutch from Forever 21.

Here are details of the organizers’ fabulous outfits!

Heidi Elnora, along with Birmingham Fashion Week co-founder is a bridal gown designer, future TLC reality show star and former Project Runway designer! So, I thought it was fitting she could barely tell me about her outfit! She doesn’t have to remember brands/designers. She is a designer. All she remembered was her skirt and alligator bracelet were from Nordstrom Rack, her other bracelets are by Shalla Wista. About the pic, Heidi..I thought I had a good front view from you! Sorry for the candid shot! But you still looked so fab!

Jeana Lee Fleming, Birmingham Fashion Week co-founder, dressed to the nines in a backless dress by Alexis, flea market clutch!, Lisa Kerns cuff and Jimmy Choo heels. Talk about high-low mixing!

Jeremy Stephens, Creative Director/Lead stylist for BFW, owner of Aia the salon

Stevi Mahaffey, Fashion Week junior board member: Free People skirt, self-styled T-shirt (I should have taken a pic of the back, because it was shredded)

Rachel Rohler, assistant to Heidi Elnora: Billy Reid dress, Steve Madden shoes, thrifted bag. (By the way, I wasn’t familiar with Billy Reid, but after searching through the designer’s site, I’m officially a fan!)

Ashley Burgess, model (winner of last year’s BFW Fresh Face model competition): Urban Outfitters dress, Aldo shoes

Anna Marie Parrish, model: Charlotte Russe dress, shoes from Burlington Coat Factory

Brantley Willis, hair stylist: Christian Dior Blazer, Gap shirt, Frye shoes // Brian Avery, hair stylist: Brooks Brothers blazer, button-down, Izod pants, Del Toro loafers.

Islara Vazquez, Alabama Ballet finance manager: Ann Taylor loft top, vintage skirt, Worthington shoes from DSW

And, last but not least, new fashion blogger buddy, Rachel Tindall from To Hell In a Handbag. Go check out her blog!! ASOS dress, Boutique 9 heels, Target bag.

Here are a few other pics from the night! Included, are images from the costume shop tour (which was absolutely breathtaking!)

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I will be there for the first round of Birmingham Fashion Week shows from: up and coming designer Elizabeth Singleton, retails from Birmingham Fashion Truck, as well as featured designers Three07 and Harold and Mod. Can’t wait to share with you!!

Thanks for reading!