Saturday evening played host to the final night of Waterfront Fashion Week 2012, where glamor, punk rock and fire came together to give Louisville’s first-ever fashion week a proper send off into 2013. The night’s festivities began with a presentation by national chain department store Dillard’s, followed by walks of the top ten models, and the two finalists of the Emerging Designer competition.
Dillard’s sent down ensembles composed of pieces from Michael Kors, Antonio Melani, Ralph Lauren and Jessica Simpson, among other top designers. The theme for the presentation appeared to reflect trends of the upcoming season, faux fur, tweed riding jackets, and sweater dresses taking to the runway. The standouts in my opinion were of the two equestrian-themed outfits from Ralph Lauren, if only for the presentation involving each model cracking a riding crop upon the catwalk, as well as the flame red crepe dress from Gianni Bini.
Following the presentation, the top ten models as chosen by the fashion week judges walked the runway for a chance at a modeling contract with Next Models NYC and $2,000, with Casey Neel taking the prize at the end of the shows. Afterwards, Emerging Designer finalists Damian Michael Pearsall and Edina Ndebele gave the audience and the judges one last look at their respective collections, the punk rock-inspired looks of Pearsall on one end of the spectrum going up against the softer styling of Ndebele on the other side. The judges selected Ndebele as the Emerging Designer winner, and both Ndebele and Neel will appear in a photo shoot for Nfocus – shot atop the Big Four Bridge – in the near future.
If you were wondering what to wear for Oaks and Derby 2013, your inquiry for hats and fascinators would have led you to the runway collections from Formé Millinery  and Gabriel Amar for Frank Olive. My favorites from each collection would include the floral fascinator from Formé, and the pink top hat from Gabriel Amar, both demonstrating their fabulousness in their own manner.
After intermission, Heather French Henry Collection  – founded by Miss America title holder and Kentucky native Heather French Henry – introduced glamorous gowns to the tent, including two metallic fraternal twin dresses in gold and silver as seen in the above image. Waterfront Fashion Week emcee and Miss World 2010 Alexandria Mills also took part in the runway, wearing a scarlet beaded lace strapless gown from the collection by the former Miss America.
Featured designer L'Amour Ameer of Dayton, Ohio threw down the gauntlet with his collection and presentation, mixing theater and high art with each ensemble walking the runway, whether it was a backpack that became a red faux fur coat, black evening gowns with high hair collars, or pinstripe power suits with long tails.
Customs had prevented final featured designer Osmany Laffitta from bringing his collection out of Europe, prompting the organizers to have Emerging Designer winner Ndebele send a second collection out onto the runway, with looks ranging from mini-dresses with yellow houndstooth collars and a Pan-African print ensemble, to zebra print dresses with black panels and black dresses with green neon bell sleeves.
Saturday night was the highest note for Louisville’s first-ever Waterfront Fashion Week, the affair ending in a blaze of glory. Will 2013 take it to another level? Only time shall tell. Until then, have a look at what you may have missed in the slideshow below.
Photos: Louisville.com /Cameron Miquelon