Tag Archives: Patti LaBelle

Runway: Clearing for Takeoff, Destination Fashion Oz – and Zang Toi International Designer Fashion Show Reviews – Some Thoughts on Pittsburgh Fashion Week

29 Sep

Pittsburgh’s Fashion Week is consuming my life this week, and, I’m 110% okay with that!

Monday’s inaugural Pittsburgh Fashion Week event, “Runway: Clearing for Takeoff, Destination Fashion Oz” delighted me… and slightly disappointed me.

Most (and I do say “most” and certainly not “all”) of the fashions rocked. However, the event had a little bit of…dare I say it…cheesiness going on. Cardboard gold party stars dangling like dollar-store decorations and actual park benches for media to sit on were one thing: but the confusing, trite, and just….BAD…opening monologue and overkill of the “Oz” theme were quite another.

That being said, it WAS the first-ever Fashion Week event held in Pittsburgh, and so things like a cheap-looking banner and slight feel of disorganization have to be overlooked.

Even despite these relatively small missteps, I give the overall event a B-grade!

I personally was intrigued by the costume-couture designs of MJ Whalen. The outfits were unique, beautifully made, and reminiscent of the late, GREAT Alexander McQueen. They were artsy and interesting, and brought to mind an idea of deconstructed Victorian Goth. From the lace, to the blinged-out gas masks, and candelabra ensemble, Lady Gaga would have been in fashion-heaven!  (WHAT raw-meat dress? THIS is Gaga-chic.)

Every designer had some definite hits, though. There were so many pieces coming down that runway that I wanted to own, including items from Jupe Boutique, Sugar, e.b. pepper, Kari Kramer’s iroNiece, and more! The dancers and musical performances were a nice added touch to the night’s event, and, despite my disdain for SOME of the “Oz” overkill, the ruby red shoes on the Jupe girls were, in my mind, a “hit!” 🙂

Overall, I’d say it was a success. It’s hard to have cohesion and harmony when featuring different lines by different designers at one event, which may have led to some of the feelings of “what’s going on” – especially when you’re trying to tie it all in to a not-so-relevant Oz theme. For the first night, at the first ever event, I say “good job” to all involved!

Tuesday’s event, which was held at the John Heinz History Center and featured the works of internationally-renowned designer Zang Toi, who is the so-called “headliner” of Pittsburgh Fashion Week, seemed much more organized, cohesive, and upscale. It’s no wonder – the guy’s a pro, and he killed it last night in Pittsburgh. His clothing is featured in the couture department at Nordstrom, he’s been around for 20 years, and all of his clothing is hand-made and unique. He’s dressed the likes of Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, Sharon Stone, Eva Longoria, Ivana Trump, Heather Graham, Patti LaBelle, and more.

In addition to attending the esteemed Parsons School of Design, he’s won multiple awards and boasts a long list of personal and professional achievements and has put on fashion shows all over the world. Of course, I was excited to see his collection.

It didn’t disappoint. The looks were inspired by the Oscar-winning movie, Giant, and most had a fashion-forward Western/cowboy feel. Others were very fashion-forward takes of 1950’s housewife meets 1950’s glamour. His more casual ensembles were chic and elegant while still looking comfortable and wearable; and his skirts and gowns were luxe, well-made, with lots of billowy, flowing skirts and beautiful accents. Many had a floral motif, none disappointed. There were many surprises including a sexy backless black dress adorned with a pink bow, and an all-white take on menswear-for-the-ladies featuring a sheer top under a long white coat.

His collection, though not “shocking” by any means, was elegant and refined, showing a high level of taste. At first, I thought that the “cowboy” theme would be hokey. At first, it was. (But the male models WORKED those outfits and those abs, and the ladies ROCKED the “BIG” hair!)

However, after the show got going, each look transitioned perfectly into the next, resulting in different looks that somehow meshed together without being totally matchy-matchy….and isn’t that what a “good” collection should do?

I give last night’s event a solid A! Kudos to the Pittsburgh Fashion Week to really stepping it up with the House of Toi show. I’m glad that we left Oz and stepped into a more “grown up” era of fashion fun.

Please check out all of my Pgh Fashion Week photos on the Glitzburgh Facebook page by clicking here! Please note that my camera is NOT of the best quality  by ANY means – so, my apologies in advance! Approximately 7 of the shots are not mine – and I do give credit where credit is due!

Last but not least, I met a fan of Glitzburgh last night, who also happens to have a really cool name (also Ashley) and who has her OWN Pittsburgh Fashion blog called, “Where We Hang Our Pretty Things” – so check it out at http://a-dom.tumblr.com!

I won’t be attending tonight’s show (The PINK! Fashion Show at the John Heinz History Center) – but I should be at the rest of the events on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – so look for more “Fashion Week” reports soon to come!