Sunday night carnies hijacked Chai’s for the third annual Local Color Fashion Show. Organizers went all out with the circus theme — guests noshed on mini corn dogs and popcorn, a giant clown face surrounded the door out to the patio, and the emcee and his “assistants” very much looked the part of a ringmaster and his sexy helpers in sequined get-ups and top hats. But ah, the ringmaster. He very well may have just fallen out of a clown car for all his stumbling, bumbling, and mispronunciation of names (including the name of the show and several of the designers). But after quite a few raised eyebrows and a late start, the show began and his awkwardness was forgotten (until he spoke again). Rachel Gordon, Ashley Reid (now known as Clewis Reid), and Mew Designs (Megan Waldrep) — all Emerging Local Designers at Charleston Fashion Week 2008 — and Marysia — the 2009 CFW Emerging Designer winner — presented shows with mostly new designs. Ann Chambers-Wright offered up resort-wear and some cute bikinis. Sarah Maxwell is another newcomer we haven’t had the pleasure of hearing about, and her bright, flirty designs were some of our favorites (they’re the outside shots in the Flickr gallery). Models strutted the circuitous runway down the length of the patio, out onto the sidewalk, and back into the front door and out the back. During the intermission we checked out the designer sale in the back, which featured Marysia’s swimwear, Rachel Gordon’s gowns, Julie Wheat’s handbags, Library’s vintage accessories, and more. The crowd seemed small and subdued considering the status of most of the designers and the huge reception they got at CFW. I shared the makeshift photographer’s pit with just one or two other photographers throughout the night. Where was the hype? This show definitely deserved it. Check out the (updated!) photo gallery here.
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