Some of the retail stars of Charleston’s fashion community took over the runway tonight, giving a great overview of what’s new and hip in Holy City stores. I’ll admit that last year I didn’t appreciate the retail part of CFW as much, but Ayoka Lucas explained it well in our interview earlier this week: “We are a premier shopping destination. Our retail stores make up the majority of our fashion community. Until designers become the majority, it’s inevitable that we would have our retail community involved.” And so for the first of three nights, local store owners presented the best of spring and summer wear. (See our flickr feed with pics from myself and Angela here.)

The night kicked off with Boutique NV, a King Street shop that strives to be comfortable and affordable. They cited Audrey Hepburn as a huge influence, but honestly, I saw the icon nowhere in their clothes. Fun, night-on-the-town clothes, yes. Classic, last-forever stuff? Not so much. They did however show a pale pink sequined dress that was one of my faves. And the glittery cigarette holders and giant hats were nice touches.

Mary Porter Couture was next, and I knew from the first few seconds of her introductory video that it would be one of the night’s best. “Glamorous Hollywood Legends” was the theme of her show, drawing from the style and silhouettes of classic ’40s and ’50s film stars. Audrey Hepburn could be seen in these clothes (b&w gown with giant hat: Breakfast at Tiffany’s), and Marilyn Monroe too. She cited Michelle Obama as a more modern influence. Best of all, Porter actually did create all of these gowns. It really does take it up a notch. My only qualm is that some of the dresses were a little promy/pageanty. But I’m not big on formal-wear anyway.

We couldn’t wait for Stylexchange, but alas, they apparently backed out at the last minute! After an intermission and a few strong margs, II Brunettes took the stage. Led Zeppelin set the classic rock vibe of the fun show (probably the most energetic of the night), and the clothes were West Coast-style, effortlessly chic. Light, unstructured, cut-offs, fringey shoes, and beachy hair with headbands.

Copper Penny was next. We love them, even though we could never afford them. Simple, easy-to-wear, but always stylish, high-quality dresses etc. Pink, girly, silks and glam shoes. Not much to say except we’d wear just about every piece.

The much-anticipated Billy Reid rounded out the night with a “lounge luxe” show. Reid is an Alabama-based designer with a store on King Street. The stilettos were sky-high, the womens-wear body-conscious, and we got our first and only taste of menswear for the night with some hot and very popular models. Linen suit with lavender shirt, tablecloth-check shirt, long boxer-like shorts. Nice to have some testosterone on the runway.

This reporter fought the margarita/champagne-induced need to party and headed home to write for you, dear reader, while our intrepid scenester Angela Hanyak checks out the after-party at Torch. (We hear the lines are brutal, though there’s lots of room inside. Weird…) We’ll hopefully hear from her soon, and you’ll definitely hear from us tomorrow, reporting on Day Three of Charleston Fashion Week. Very excited about Seeking Indigo, K. Morgan, and Hampden!

Thanks Kevin Hoth for braving the photogs pit yet again. I’ll be posting my pics on our flickr page tomorrow!


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