Charleston Fashion Week 2013 is over, and while we are sad to say goodbye to the excitement and glamour, we are relieved we can finally relax in a pair of sweatpants and resume eating carbs. The finale on Saturday night determined the winner of the emerging designer competition and gave the audience a look at the highly anticipated Christian Siriano collection.

The judges decided to bring back Hyemin Cho from Wednesday night to again compete for a chance to nab top designer. She showed more pieces from her collection of watercolor prints, leather laser-cut overlays, and sheer sleeves. It was a cohesive look overall and well-executed.

Katherine Barron’s collection of all-white separates and gowns were accented with splashes of black ink and beading. The looks were a sort of Jackson Pollock or Franz Kline painting come to life. We enjoyed the minimalist approach.

Serena da Conceição showed us more of her lingerie and leather studded collection.  The swiss dot sheer tops and high-waisted pants were wearable pieces for any fashion maven’s closet. The entire presentation emitted sex appeal without being aggressively in your face. She even showed a male model wearing leather leggings, perhaps a difficult sell in the tropic temperatures of Charleston, but alluring nonetheless.

Back from Friday night, Siobhan Murphy carried on with her ballerina and English countryside inspired looks. We loved the first tutu skirt with the gold applique, but thought others looked incomplete in comparison to the skilled draping and pleating of the more formal looks.  The rich velvet jackets were a knockout and the audience loved to see the male model in a tutu.

The crowd was on their feet with excitement for Afriyie Poku’s presentation. The models were transformed into modern-day dandies by the fanciful menswear collection. The pops of purple made us think of Prince, while the gold zipper accents brought Michael Jackson to mind. Poku is a masterful craftsman as every look was perfectly tailored to the model’s proportions.

Christian Siriano, of Project Runway fame, showed his Spring 2013 collection, inspired by Degas and ballerinas. He showed a few commercial-friendly separates, but what we really enjoyed were his over-the-top fantastical gowns. Pearl-embroidered bodices, ostrich feathers, and watercolor-hued gowns were exactly what we would imagine a glamorous ballerina would wear if she were heading to a ball.

After a short deliberation, the winner of people’s and judge’s choice for top emerging designer was announced. From the earlier reaction of the audience, it was easy to guess that Poku would take both. He received a standing ovation upon the declaration of his win and had the biggest grin on his face while accepting his award. We thought everyone did a fantastic job that evening and can’t wait to see what next year’s emerging designers will bring to Charleston.

See photos from the night here.

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