The culmination and finale of Boston Fashion Week 2009 was The Emerging Trends 2009 show at The Park Plaza Castle.

The show was put on by Synergy Events and ceremoniously hosted by Miss Massachusetts USA, Alison Cronin. It was divided into three segments: The first featured eight designers showing five designs each. The second showed three designers with 10 designs each, and the third segment featured the final two designers, then headline designer Keith Lissner.

With such a long program, Synergy provided intermission entertainment from singers Sophia Moon and Marcie. Despite high energy and good beats from both performers, the crowd in general was only mildly enthused.

The up-and-coming designers, though, definitely excited the crowd.

The first segment showed Skylier A. Blanchard (California), Crystal Noe (Boston), Claudiana Baranenko (Venezuela), Emily Hancock (Boston), Christel Akouri (Boston), Angela Chen (New York), J’aime Lizotte (New York) and Zach Lo (London). The standouts and crowd favorites were certainly Christel Akouri and Zach Lo.

Akouri’s pieces were heavy-looking gowns with intricate beading and often open backs. The final gown, in particular, drew gasps from the audience when the model turned to reveal a very low-dipping back with a trail of beautiful beading and embroidery.

Lo’s collection was highly editorial. The eccentric outfits incorporated plenty of animal print and elaborate hats. And to top it off, the models – two of whom were petite twins – were done up in white, mime-like make-up. All together, they looked a bit like they belonged in the Cirque de Soleil – in a good way.

During the first intermission, Miss Massachusetts USA spoke with a rep from Zach Lo who said, “I’m so impressed with the talent of the young designers coming up. It’s incredible.”

The second segment featured Caitlin Allen (New York), Andy Jacques (Boston) and Heather Luca (Minnesota).

Allen’s collection was described as “comfortable and stylish for everyday wear,” and while the light-weight fabrics looked comfortable, the styles did not seem likely to be worn off the runway.

Jaques and Lucca showed collections that were quite the opposite of Allen’s. Jacques collection included men’s and women’s styles that used a lot of bright blue, particularly in the form of metallic spandex for the women. Lucca described her collection as “neo-Victorian” and each look used a corset and ruffles.

Next Cronin brought Caitlin Allen back out to chat, where she talked about the struggles new designers face getting their names out and competing with other established designers.

The third portion featured Katie Dunn (Portland), whose collection is “constructed to flatter” and aims for “enhancement of the female form,” and Nadia Ivanova (Lodon), who looks at fashion as “a way of communication.”

Dunn’s collection achieved its goal, at least on the easy-to-flatter bodies of models. Several of the dresses fit snug through the waist with flowy or puffy skirts. Others had dipping neck and back lines.

Ivanova’s collection had a common theme of large, pastel sequins on the shoes. The women’s pieces were pretty, but a little plain, while the men’s mostly involved cropped pants – a style that has never really broken into the mainstream.

Finally, headline designer Keith Lissner, who was a contestant on Bravo’s “The Fashion Show,” showed his fall collection.

The collection was described as “feminine, unique and exuding a great sense of self.” The styles were certainly feminine – with flowing satins and puffy tulles, and the collection as a whole fit nicely together. In the order they were shown, one piece seemed to inspire the next. Certain fabrics, colors or lines carried over from dress to dress, making it all look almost evolutionary.

Cronin spoke with Lisser afterward. He offered advice to the up-and-coming designers, saying, “Always stay true to yourself. Stay the course, don’t stop, don’t quit.”

Overall, the show was a success, especially for an event in only its second year. The goal is to establish a more prominent fashion scene in Boston, but it’s too soon to see any real results. With another year like this one, though, the city might stand a chance.

Photos by Madeleine Smith for Blast. Licensing.

About The Author

Ashley Dean is a Blast staff writer

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