After eight years, Austin Fashion Week (AFW) has certainly found its niche. Not only was the organization one of the first to bring a full week of professionally-produced runway shows and glam receptions to Austin, they’ve now expanded across Texas … with bigger and better things coming down the road. To celebrate its success, the 2016 edition included parties, a brunch, galleries showcasing designers and three consecutive nights of extravagant runway shows.
Planned to coincide with the Driskill Hotel‘s 130th birthday, AFW producers held a brunch to showcase 130 years of fashion. The show featured vintage looks from throughout the last century anchored by Big Bertha’s Paradise. Alexandra Dieck of Lexicon of Style provided scarves, along with items from brunch sponsor John Hardy Jewelry.
The Sunday Brunch honored AFW Style Setter Aida G. Dieck and benefited the American Heart Association, Capital Area Division. Dieck works to build happier, healthier lives in the community through education and advocacy of key health issues. On display both before the meal and during the show were gloriously divine collection pieces from American-born and Bali-based John Hardy and his team of master craftsmen.
Spotted: Sofia Avila, Lance Avery Morgan and Rob Giardinelli, Johnna Jones, Cassandra King Polidori and Manuel Polidori, plus Ana Ruelas.
The week’s festivities ended on a high note with 800 guests taking in Saturday night’s Runway’s & Gallery’s at the JW Marriott. Designers from Project Runway, including Melissa Fleis’ RESURFACE, Michelle Lesniak’s Peruvian-inspired “ALT / ALT” collection and Amanda Valentine’s color-blocked perfection of flowing silhouettes. Saturday’s emerging designers, Bentley + Lace and Tinsley Radix, came in from Dallas and showcased bold couture pieces.
Saturday also honored Style Setter Andrea McWilliams,who wore a show-stopping, custom gown designed by Franco Hererra. Constructed with fresh, violet-hued flowers from Mandarin Design Lab, the dress was created by Coutures by Laura. AFW recognized McWilliams for her generous work with a number of local organizations, including Ballet Austin, who received a portion of the night’s proceeds. The runway show also highlighted McWilliams’ best looks from Oscar de la Renta to Carolina Herrera … straight from her own closet!
Spotted: Linda Asaf, Victoria Avila, Ross Bennett, Abby and Chris Hendel, Franco Herrera, Donna Stockton Hicks, Samantha Plasencia – who was presented with the 2016 BERNINA Fashion Fund Award, plus Joe Ross and his lovely fiance Kirstin Ericson.
* Photography courtesy of Carlos Barron, Gregg Cestaro and Brianna Moore