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Vampires on the Catwalk: Designer Turns Heads at DC Fashion Week

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Van Niece Johnson—Smooth Jazz 105.9 radio personality and DC Fashion Week cohost—opened Sunday’s International Couture Collections Show saying Washington’s fashion scene is catching up to New York’s.

“DC is on your heels!” Johnson exclaimed.

Although it was a rousing introduction for Fashion Week’s closing night, the statement was a bit of an exaggeration. Each of the eight international designers showed promise in at least several designs, but only one took the audience’s breath away.

A techno beat signaled the start of Alek Risimnic Couture’s line, but the music gave way to hard metal as the models started stalking down the catwalk. Dark and sexy, the clothes were high-fashion vampire.

A male model wore a black top hat and brandished a cane, and a female model twirled a fringed black umbrella. Platform black boots were heavy and buckled. Other models belonged in an underworld masquerade with big hair, wild makeup, and sequined masks. Many runway watchers gave Risimnic a standing ovation as he took the stage after his show—he was clearly the favorite.

Ean Williams of Corjor International was this year’s fashion-week director and sponsor. Williams’s lines both started and concluded the five-show fashion week. From piece to piece, his designs seemed like non sequiturs, but as a whole they were unified with serious embellishments: peacock feathers, beaded designs, and silk flowers.

Sunday’s designers also included Argentina’s Yosoy Fashion, Ghana’s Studio D-Maxsi and Kustom Looks, Botswana’s Motlapele, Kazakhstan’s Symbat, and Ethiopia’s Sophia Ali.