Last fall, I was lucky enough to receive a press pass to the 10th Anniversary of Fashion Week at the Bellevue Collection. It also happened to be my first time attending the event so I had to make sure I was fully prepared to immerse myself in the awesomeness that is the Bellevue fashion scene.
The five-day event kicked off on a Wednesday night with the 4th Annual Independent Designer Runway Show. The show featured eight up-and-coming designers showing their finished collections after six months of mentoring by the fashion week panel. The featured designers included Cute Like Mad by Jeanette Svensk Li, Daniel Ressa by Daniel Ressa, Dawson & Deveraux by Sophie Karen, Dream Dresses by P.M.N. by Phoung Minh Nguyen, Iris Klein by Iris Klein, RO2 by Rana Ottaviani, VARSHA by Varsha Agarwal and Victoria Postolit by Victoria Postolit. This year’s board consisted of Bruce Pflaumer of Michael Bruce Image Consulting, Marj Turner of Fashion Group International, Amanda Zurita, style editor of Seattle Met Magazine and fashion industry veteran Patricia Wolfkill.
Before the shows, VIP guests were treated to drinks and hors d’oeuvres in a stylish party setting with lush seating and beautiful illustrations by fashion illustrator Blair Breitenstein, a native of Mercer Island, WA. Taking my seat in the press section gave me a perfect view of the runway so I could get some snapshots of my favorite looks. I even found myself sitting next to Kim Peterson, correspondent for the Seattle Refined television show and founder of Uniquely Savvy. From beginning to end, I was in complete awe of the level of detail and craftsmanship of each item of clothing. Each look was cohesive to the overall collection, which made it hard to choose a fan favorite at the end of the show. I had to go with my gut and pick Dawson & Deveraux because those sequined dresses gave me life. However, the fan favorite award went to my third choice, VARSHA (my second choice was Dream Dresses by P.M.N.).
Designer Phoung Minh Nguyen was chosen by the panel as the winner of the show with her wedding gown collection titled “Autumn Glamour” for its stunning beauty, creative design and extraordinary attention to detail. She received a prize package including $5,000 furnished by The Bellevue Collection and the Kemper Freeman family and the opportunity to have her collection featured in seven free-standing frames located throughout Bellevue Square. Designer Varsha Argarwal was selected as the Runner Up by the panel. She received a total of $3,500 in prize money for her collection.
Thursday morning was the Media Luncheon that included a Fall 2015 Trend Presentation and Discussion with Cara Crowley of Vogue. While snacking on a light lunch, invited press and bloggers were treated to a presentation of the season’s trends.
The Posh Party Trend Show, hosted by the one and only Rachel Zoe, was held on Friday night. I can’t remember the last time I saw an actual celebrity in person, let alone a style icon. I was definitely excited to just be in the same room as her. The sold-out show featured themed collections such as Glam Rock, MOD Squad and Touch of Luxe with looks from Intermix, Macy’s Diane von Furstenburg, Free People and many more. The show was also a fundraiser for Bellevue LifeSpring with 100% of the ticket sales benefiting the non-profit organization supporting Bellevue families through food, clothing and education programs.
The final event on Saturday night was the Front Row Fashion Runway Show presented by Vogue. Another sold-out show, Front Row Fashion featured fall trends straight from the glossy pages of Vogue with themes like Endless Shades of Grey, Amazing Lace and After Dark to name a few. Seattle Children’s Hospital, the beneficiary of the show received 100% of the ticket sales.
In total, over $100,000 were donated to both Bellevue LifeSpring and Seattle Children’s Hospital. “Each year, we strive to produce the best shows possible to support the beneficiaries that play such a crucial role in our community and beyond,” says Jennifer Leavitt, Vice President of Marketing for The Bellevue Collection. “The funds raised at these two events go to two outstanding beneficiaries and we are proud to be able to continue our philanthropic culture of giving back to our community.”
Fashion Week at The Bellevue Collection also hosted many complimentary events in Bellevue Square such as Fashion Forecast with Rachel Zoe and Cara Crowley, FAB IN FIVE and Peek Kids Runway Show.
Overall, I’ve never experienced such exhilaration in a truly fashion-motivated atmosphere. Not only did I make some amazing connections, but I also got to meet Rachel Zoe (and sit right behind her at the Front Row Fashion Runway Show!). Kudos to The Bellevue Collection team for hosting an amazing week of fashion shows. I can’t wait to see how they top themselves this year.
Fashion Week at The Bellevue Collection 2016 will take place September 21st – 25th. Tickets are now on sale at fashionweekbellevue.com. Also, be sure to check out this year’s complimentary events. See you there!
The Bellevue Collection
Located in the heart of Bellevue, Washington, The Bellevue Collection, owned by Kemper Development Company and its Affiliates, includes Bellevue Square, a super-regional upscale shopping center, Bellevue Place, a mixed-use property featuring the Hyatt Regency Bellevue and small boutiques and Lincoln Square anchored by the Lincoln Square Cinemas, restaurants, home furnishings and The Westin Bellevue hotel. With a distinctive collection of 250 of the finest shops, 30 destination restaurants, a 16-screen premier cinema, 1,100 luxury hotel rooms and 10,000 free retail parking spaces, all in one location. The Bellevue Collection is a shopping, dining and nightlife and entertainment experience unlike any other in the region. It is located on Bellevue Way between NE 4th and NE 10th Streets in downtown Bellevue, just across Lake Washington from Seattle.