By Kharisma McIlwaine
After a year of being grounded and having to go completely virtual, Philly Fashion Week 2021 came back in full force and in person.
Philly Fashion Week (PFW) took place from September 21-25. The festivities kicked off with the Virtual Fashion Summit — the only virtual aspect of the show. On September 22, there was a Kick Off Party held at the Fashion District, deejayed by Philly’s own DJ Hollywood. All the models participating wore Primark.
On September 23, the Haute show took place at the Crane Arts Building, and on Friday and Saturday, the Runway I and Runway II shows took place at 2300 Arena respectively.
Arriving at the Runway I show, one couldn’t help but notice the line of people eagerly waiting at the entrance of the building. Before entering, guests were asked to show proof of vaccination and were then given color-coded wristbands.
The VIP lounge, sponsored by Macy’s, was decorated with beautiful flowers and grass and offered guests a charcuterie board, as well as an array of gifts on behalf of Jim Beam. People were visibly excited to partake in the fashion event that was soon to come. Elissa Bloom, executive director of The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, opened the show.
“We are so excited to be celebrating our 10-year anniversary, empowering Philadelphia fashion entrepreneurs here,” she said. “I’m so proud of our alumni, two are showing tonight, Jovan O’Connor and her bridal collection and Prajjee Oscar. Finally, I just want to give a big thank you to Kevin, Kerry, Angela, Julie, Prajjee and the whole PFW team for all their hard work and putting this amazing event together tonight — enjoy the show!”
The show began with Madison Chamberlain, who found ways to incorporate various shades of pink with mixed patterns, peace signs and hearts for a vintage 70’s feel. Samsara Sari brought the frills with blazers with intricately decorated collars. Juno Jones (The Stylish Safety Boot Company) brought construction chic to the runway with their boot line, while Sew Elevated showcased their use of sharp lines with long, sleeveless waistcoats.
Some additional standouts were Kovid Kapoor which featured a variety of layered pieces and sleeves that mimicked wedding trains.
Burning Guitars made an artistic choice to incorporate masks into their lineup. Their models wore an assortment of Halloween masks to accompany patch and hand painted jeans and leather work. In one look, a “Chucky” mask was paired with jeans prominently featuring Elsa from “Frozen.”
O’Livis Couture (The definition of timeless elegance) showcased feminine vintage looks and combined sequences with a number of patterns, including a 50’s inspired tiered skirt. J Pratt offered a variety of men’s suits, prominently featuring stripes, hats and vibrant shades of blues.
Jovan O’Connor showcased gorgeous fairy tale like wedding dresses and set the mood of wedding season with a live cellist playing on the runway. Dope Tavio highlighted androgynous fashion with both men and women wearing dresses and heels in his lineup.
The Runway I show was incredibly enjoyable to watch. The set design was beautiful and creative — it felt like watching high fashion in a secret garden. Additionally, the designers who participated in the show executed their looks with precision and there was literally something for everyone!
Every year, Philadelphia Fashion Week continues to grow and surprise audiences with their contribution to the fashion world. There is no doubt that the 2022 season will be even better. To see more pictures and recaps of PFW 2021, follow @phillyfashionweek on Instagram, Philadelphia Fashion Week on Facebook or visit: www.phillyfashionweek.com. The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator is accepting applications for the 2022 residency season. To find out more, visit: www.philadelphiafashionincubator.com.