• Austin Nelson

Charleston Fashion Week 2010 came to a riotous close Saturday night with the Fashion Finale. The main tent was completely reconfigured for the party, the chairs and big runway cleared to make way for bars, a dance floor, and food tables filled with yummies like fried mac ‘n’ cheese balls and bacon-wrapped shrimp. (We even spotted a few models indulging.)

Guests crowded around a mini runway to watch the three emerging designer finalists present their final challenge: one look created from men’s dress shirts, inspired by Alexander McQueen. Barbara Beach’s pint-sized model looked adorable in her light-blue frock with a corset-like bodice. Jamie Lin Snider presented a stunning gown with fan detailing across the bust. And Larika Page created a high-necked short dress with a bright blue cut-out in the front. We’ll spare you the suspense: Larika Page was named the winner, while Barbara Beach was voted People’s Choice winner. 

  • Austin Nelson

Last year’s Emerging Designer winner Marysia presented her new line next. From my unfortunate perch behind about 50 other people, I could barely make out the show, the models’ giant palm frond head pieces the most visible things. From far away, the neutral-colored pieces seemed bland and a little disappointing compared to last year’s feminine, fun line. It was certainly a departure for Marysia. But looking closer at the photos this morning, I recognized the impressive attention to detail more in line with the designer’s style: things like scalloped edges, striped inlays, and subtle ruffles. The only thing we weren’t sure about were the unflattering high waists on some of the bikinis. We were definitely sure about the unexpected tribal dance the models did at the end of the show.

After the brief shows, it was time to party. For many of the familiar faces in the tents — from models to designers to volunteers to media — the finale was a much-deserved treat after a very long week. Dancers crowded onto the runway, while others drank and shmoozed until they were kicked out. It was no doubt the most fun finale party we’ve experienced in our three years covering CFW, and it was an enjoyable reward for the week of long hours, late nights, and uncomfortable shoes.

Check out Austin Nelson’s slideshow below. Also, be sure to see our Flickr page for all of the beautiful photos from this year’s CFW.

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