In the past two years of covering Kansas City Fashion Week (first show review here), I’ve never walked away thinking that every single designer was solid.
Sure, the shows improve every year and there are veteran designers who captivate the audience.
But this year, every single designer who showed on Saturday brought some serious style game that made me think “Wow, I’d buy that.”
Below, I’m sharing a small selection of my favorite looks from Saturday’s daytime and evening shows.
Note: I was under some sort of curse this season. Not only was I super-sick before the show and had to miss the opening parties, but I also lost 500+ pictures I shot on my DSLR. Below is what I could salvage from my iPhone — what a heartbreaker! I can’t wait to see all of the professional shots on the Kansas City Fashion Week Facebook page soon, though!
Olathe, Kansas, designer Elodie Auvray of L.O.D kicked off the Saturday afternoon show strong-bodied dancers and tribal music, which set the tone for her gorgeous island getaway collection of swimwear and resort dresses.
The large leaf patterns that dominated her collection had me wishing I was sipping juice from a fresh coconut and being fanned by one or all of the nice dancer men who opened the show.
Her banana-yellow dress was the most interesting piece in the collection; the dramatic bust commanded my attention from the moment the model stepped onto the runway.
I’m a sucker for romantic gowns, and Omaha, Nebraska, designer Elda Doamekpo of Elle Inspired captured my heart with this look.
From the ringlets and ladylike neckline to the jeweled waist and mermaid bottom — all in my color crush, blush pink — this dress begs to be taken to the ball.
Kansas City designer Andrea Long of Andrea Marie Long Designs had me craving fall and a Clueless marathon with her collection dominated by classic prints. I wanted basically everything she showed (though maybe with a longer hemline on the skirts to make them office appropriate).
Andrea gets bonus points for choosing to have Beyonce play in the beginning of her show.
Of all the designers who showed on Saturday afternoon, Sara Kahrs of Springfield, Missouri, got me the most excited for fall.
Rich oxblood, tar black and smoke gave her collection a moody yet approachable feel, and the textures and fabrics she chose had me wanting to reach out and touch each garment as they came down the runway.
Saint Louis, Missouri, designer Ola Hawatmeh of Ola Style showed some flowy, fun dresses, but the best one by far in her collection was this gilded number.
The combination of an incredible baroque print with whimsical lines and the perfectly tailored fit made this piece a showstopper. More of this, please!
Bennington, Nebraska, designer Kate Walz opened the Saturday evening show with her Beatles-inspired collection.
I was pleasantly surprised to see her depart from the ultra-girly and super sweet designs and show a collection with some edge and maturity. This dress, named “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” floated down the runway and had me dreaming of a Boho escape.
You must check out Kate’s Instagram for more fabulous shots of this collection; I’m also in awe of “Lovely Rita” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
Crowd favorite Lauren Bander of Saint Louis, Missouri, stayed true to her tulle but also stepped out of her comfort zone to show some other chic ways to embrace your femininity.
I personally loved the oversized, bejeweled sleeve on the navy number. I could use a little more length in the front, but I get the spirit of the idea. I like.
Jumpsuits are hard. Sure, sometimes it’s all on the body type (and these are models we’re dealing with here!), but sometimes it’s the cut and lines of a jumpsuit that can just be all wrong.
Olathe, Kansas, designer K. Clemence Lawson of Koko Clemson got it right.
Her patterned jumpsuit fit in all the right places — natural waist, arm holes and leg length — and drew several approving nods from the crowd.
Whitney Rorah of ByWhitney from Boone, Iowa, had every woman in the room fawning over her sweet dresses.
While she showed traditional wedding dresses, I was most drawn to her flirty pink dresses — who says you have to wear white (or a dress, for that matter) for your wedding?
There’s no wedding plans in my near future, but I’d totally wear this piece to the grocery store. And to walk my non-existent dog. And to some fancy event downtown.
I want to live in this dress. How can you not feel pretty in it?
Congratulations to all the designers, models, hair and makeup artists, planning and production teams and amazing sponsors Kansas Clean Distilled Whiskey, Ulta Beauty, The Pitch, Hotel Phillips, Union Station and KC Magazine for making the spring 2014 shows an incredible success!
And, of course, big thank you to Project Runway star (and Saint Louis gal) Laura Kathleen for participating in Kansas City Fashion Week. You know your collection was off the charts! Thanks for making the Midwest proud.
Did you attend Kansas City Fashion Week? What were your favorite looks you saw at the shows or via social media? Tell me in the comments section!