#STLFW Caleres Emerging Designer Competition

Some of my favorite local blogger babes: Julia from Oh, Julia Ann, Cassie from Style Cassentials, and Psyche from Economy of Style; Photo c/o Alec Wallis
Saint Louis Fashion Week got off to a phenomenal start with a runway show at Union Station featuring 5 talented, up-and-coming designers. A snazzy crowd of over 1200 people was wowed as each artist presented their unique points of view. To add to the excitement, the runway show was a competition hosted by Caleres (formerly known as Brown Shoe company). One designer took home a whopping $25,000 presented by the Saint Louis Fashion Fund. Which artist won the prize? First, I'll give you my thoughts on the collections and let you be the judge:

NOVIS by Jordana Warmflash
First up was NOVIS. As soon as I saw the shirt with the house pattern stroll down the runway, I wanted to take it off the model and wear it home. (Don't worry, I restrained myself.) The collection featured a cool color palette of blues, oranges, and white, and the patterns had more than enough whimsy for my taste. The collection felt upbeat, fresh, and sophisticated-with-a-wink, so I knew it would be tough to beat.    
Photos by Mark Schwigen
Azede Jean-Pierre by Azede Jean-Pierre
The next designer's collection of minimalist garments was in stark contrast to the punchy prints from the previous artist. I liked the effortless feel of the denim jumpsuit, but simple and monochrome is admittedly not my aesthetic. That said, women who appreciate clean lines and neutral hues would definitely be impressed by this designer's ability to add interest through unexpected silhouettes. 
Photos by Mark Schwigen
Haus Alkire by Julie Haus & Jason Alkire
The third collection started out with a floral print, so of course I was eager to see the rest. Including lots of separates and coats, this collection presented enchanting, striking patterns. I was intrigued by the wide range of styles and silhouettes. My only critique is that the hats were somewhat distracting, but they helped tie the collection together. Overall, I saw several pieces that are more than welcome to join my wardrobe. 
Photos by Mark Schwigen
Houghton by Katharine Polk
It's not easy to create a riveting collection using a monochromatic color palette, but Houghton managed to do so - and then some. The diverse textures were a clever way to give the illusion of a pattern while still using only one color. From casual to flirty to showstopping, this collection had many people in the audience spellbound. My favorite dress was the vintage-inspired lace one, but there was a collective gasp when the tiered white gown came out.
Photos by Mark Schwigen
Eckhaus Latta by Mike Eckhaus & Zoe Latta
Finishing up the spectacular show was an artistic collection. Most of the garments featured seemingly-haphazard-but-carefully-planned cutouts. Interesting? Yes. Not-seen-before? Yep. Wearable? Hmmm. . .Despite the deconstructed nature of the garments, the collection was cohesive. And, even though I didn't understand all of the outfits, they were anything but boring (always a positive in my book).
Photos by Mark Schwigen
So, my prediction was that either NOVIS or Houghton would win the prestigious title, and I was right! Katharine Polk of Houghton was deemed the 2015 Caleres Emerging Designer Award winner and won the cash prize. All of the designers were talented in their own way, and I commend them for having the courage to share their work with us. Congrats, Houghton!
Photo by Mark Schwigen
Which collection was your favorite? Who do you think is the top Emerging Designer among these artists?

Thank you to the Midwest Influencer Network & Explore St. Louis for hosting me as an STLFW VIP Blogger!


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