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DC Fashion Week Returns

Designers from as far away as Colombia and Ukraine showed at this year's event. Photographs by Rachel Cothran.

Fashion enthusiasts spanning all ages and nationalities packed the main hall of the French Embassy Sunday evening to cheer on the work of designers in the closing show of DC’s third annual Fashion Week. The event was created to promote the development of fashion-design professions and to mark the nation’s capital as a center for international fashion.

Executive director Ean Williams brought in designers from Africa, Italy, Atlanta, Colombia, and the Ukraine, among others. Only Williams’s own Corjor Couture and Renee France Designs represented Washington designers in the final show.

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Models took to the runway in outrageous hats, vintage-inspired gowns, intricate menswear jackets, pajamas, furs, and bras.

Amore’s line of hats—representing Nigeria—kicked off the evening with large black feathers decorating a white topper and a 1920s-inspired crocheted cap holding together the designer’s blinged-out and Mad Hatter tea-party-inspired line. Among other choices: an oversize, novelty Southern Bell-style hat and a wedding veil.

Williams’s Corjor line started out with a black gown reminiscent of vintage Ralph Lauren. Elaborate chiffon neckpieces and menswear—from basic three-piece suits to sheer-topped maroon pajamas—followed. Williams stuck to heavy purples and greens, ending with a green gown whose billowy train almost tripped up the model.

Other standouts were a bright-yellow dress with a pleated chest by Liberia’s House of Leevean and menswear by Ray Vincente of Trenton, New Jersey—specifically, a striking white jacket with front detailing at the closure. Renee France also produced a solid menswear line, including a bold motorcycle getup and a highly structured casual jacket with cuffed sleeves.

Glamfurs came from Atlanta to bring leather and fur into the mix, while Favala  of Lynn, Massachusetts, showed graffiti-tagged cotton outfits with candy-striper hats and summer dresses in lavender and white. Five Ukrainian designers ended the show.

Sound problems kept the audience from hearing the designers’ names and some designs fell flat—Yobit Tibebu of Ethiopia showed too many bright-yellow looks while Divaista, based in Charlottesville, took an Asian theme too literally.

Has Washington created its own version of Project Runway? As that show’s host Tim Gunn would say: “Carry on, designers.”

What did you think of the looks or models at DC Fashion Week? Let us know in the comments section.

Were you at DC Fashion Week? What did you think of the runway shows and designers? Let us know in the comments.