D.C. Fashion Week Review by Mahika Bhatt

This September, Loudoun County Magazine attended D.C. Fashion Week with Student Fashion Editor Mahika Bhatt. Bhatt attends Woodgrove High School in Purcellville and is representing Woodgrove HS as a candidate in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) 2022 Students of the Year campaign. Below, read Bhatt’s review of the dazzling D.C. Fashion Week which she so professionally covered for our Loudoun publication.

The 35th season of D.C. Fashion Week swept its audiences away in a whirlwind of lush textures, sparkling accents, and statement styles. The week was split into three showcases featuring over 40 designers launching their fall and winter collections.

Like its host city, DCFW was nothing if not diverse. From y2k inspired simplicity to intricate patchwork dresses, each show revived style with an original sense of passion and conviction. As unique as the pieces themselves were the stunning models draped in them. Each of the 120 models working the event owned their looks; the uniting feature among the various ethnicities, body types, and sizes being their unwavering ferocity. The participating designers, ranging from ages 9 to 80, built their collections to represent their distinctive visions of design. 

The week began on Friday night with the Washington Menswear Collection. It was followed by Saturday’s Emerging Designers Showcase and concluded late Sunday night when the International Couture Collection Showcase heard it’s final round of applause fade out. Each event was emceed by both Mr. D.C. Fashion Week Ean Williams, the executive director and founder of DCFW, and Miss D.C. USA 2021 Sasha Peara. 

We settled into our seats at the International Couture Collection Showcase on the final night of fashion week. Here’s a glimpse of what the night held, from the minute we received our press identification to the final valet check.

Preparations for the showcase ran as close to the debut as possible. Even before the venue had turned the lights on, models were marking the runway, practicing their walks. This show was especially interactive because the models sashayed between rows of seated audience members. The energy of the room resembled an ant-farm as models, workers, vendors, influencers, and press worked simultaneously in organized chaos. 

We got the exciting opportunity to chat with some of the models as they relaxed during a small break before the night’s events commenced. A few of the night’s most striking models— from seasoned veterans to first-timers— indulged us with how they got into the right headspace before their final 2021 DCFW walk:

“Music for me,” male models Clarence Mcmorris, who has been modeling since 2017,” respectively, agreed. 

“Hmm I don’t know, [my] top artist? Who’d you pick?” Mcmorris asked [], who replied with Lil Baby. 

“I’ve been on the new YoungBoy album lately. The new YoungBoy album and some more of Rod Wave,” he decided. The duo left us with more opinions on the hip hop scene and plenty of excitement to watch them strut a little under an hour. 

We spent the rest of the hour talking to as many of the attendees and models as possible. While everyone we spoke to had an air of confidence and happiness around them, the sunniest person we talked to that evening was singer, songwriter, and runway model Hannah Grace. Grace has been modeling for about two years and in that time, she’s gained plenty of catwalk experience. Before showcases, Grace makes it a habit to laugh and talk to everyone. She says that “when everyone else is in a good mood, [she] can be in a good mood.” When asked what her favorite part of DCFW was, she shared: 

“I love meeting other people [and] seeing other people. So I love seeing people in their looks and getting to meet people and experience them and learn from them. And I just love the thrill. The thrill that you get from walking down the runway is just something that you don’t get many other places; it’s a really good feeling.”

The FK X ADE collection featured denim patchwork, simple silhouettes, and a y2k aesthetic. Many of the pieces layered different washes of denim in various geometric designs. The pieces were visually appealing mono or dual-chromatic designs. 

Ramona Atelier, the creator of Ramona Designs, presented a collection of evening gowns. As an Egyptian designer, elements of the unique culture were featured throughout. The showstopper on the runway was Rania Younis wearing a stunning satin, off the shoulder, asymmetrical slit gown with a cleopatra inspired headpiece and matching jewelry.   

The African Fiesta Cafe was by far the most vibrant collection of the night. Combinations of crocheted accessories and bold patterned fabric in traditional drapes made up the modern African clothing line. Wife and husband duo Peggy and Mutombo Kankonde aren’t exclusively designers, however. In addition to creating their fusion clothing line, they also run a cafe in El Paso, Texas. 

House of Sky had the most eccentric designs of the night. All of the pieces in the show featured bright splashes of color, a variety of textures, and multiple layers, fabrics, and garments. The best part of the runway collection, though, was seeing the designer’s accomplished smile as she walked out alongside the featured model, who was wearing a gorgeous emerald, lime, and purple tulle gown and headpiece. 

Heydari Design produced an almost futuristic collection through a series of bold geometric designs. The clothing line featured bold accessories and sharp silhouettes. Heydari markets itself as “Artsy Clothing for Women” and we can agree that the 2021 runway show was certainly art. 

Foberini was our favorite collection of the night. The designs were entirely vintage style evening gowns and dresses in pastel colors. All of the dresses held impressive amounts of detail with statement collars, intricate lace, and signature sleeves. Foberini is based out of Ukraine and although designer Iryna Lymarenko shied away from speaking at the end of her show, we think her collection speaks for itself. 

The International Couture Collection Showcase was a night filled with design, passion, diversity, and love for the craft. No one sums up DCFW better than founder Ean Williams:  “We’re all about diversity, all about love, all about celebrating the creativeness that D.C. has.” 

Read this story in its digital magazine format below.

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