• Austin Nelson

Class Clown: Monkee’s

Daniel Island retailer Monkee’s took to the runway in a playful rock ‘n’ roll-themed presentation that featured models with big up-do’s, rebellious yellow lips, and thickly painted eyeliner. Black splashed with sequins was the prevalent trend on garments ranging from form-fitting mini dresses to cotton tunic tops to big-shouldered blazers. Leggings abounded, and included styles with daring zippers running up the length of the leg, racer strip cut-outs filled with mesh, and a particularly rowdy pair that unexpectedly turned into sheer tights mid thigh.

Least Impressive:  Banana Republic

Banana Republic, the large national retailer, covered familiar ground Wednesday night. An unexciting runway presentation washed the crowd in a sea of office-appropriate beige, brown, and taupe neutral hues. While Banana’s stylists did a good job of layering and belting ensembles in clever ways, it did little to mask the faÇade that we were seeing anything other than looks pulled directly from the store windows that decorate malls across America.

  • Sean Money

Biggest Surprise: Sucker Jeans

Sucker Jeans, the local avant garde “southern” denim label, made its mainstream debut with an unexpectedly good CFW runway presentation. Signature seersucker fabric revised typical jean styles and added a subtle texture, which was surprisingly flattering. Flare leg styles were reminiscent of True Religion cuts, and bold color combinations such as navy with red and yellow with turquoise were right on trend. Standouts included vests on men and leggings on women, all of which were extremely wearable. But, with a name like sucker, it has to be good.

Runway King: Chelsie Ravenell

Leave it to Mr. Ravenell to boost the crowd even when he’s down. His design participation in CFW may have ended after Tuesday’s Emerging Designer semifinalist round, but Ravenell — the experienced model cum Kenneth Beatrice designer — thrilled the audience with a shirtless comeback walk during the retro-chic, Converse and Wayfarer-accessorized House of Sage show.