DC Fashion Week: International Couture Collections

DC Fashion Week ended last Sunday with the ninth-annual International Couture Collections show at the French Embassy. The black tie event lured more attendees than party planners had prepared for, and while guests swarmed the first-floor ballroom, more benches and chairs were hauled in.
As the crowd found seating and sipped on Champagne or wine from the bar, the sunset was visible through the Embassy’s stately floor-to-ceiling windows. Glittering gold stars hung from the ceiling, and a barrage of photographers waited  at the head of the catwalk to snap pictures of runway models. The scene was set for a glamorous fashion show—and that’s what guests got.

Seven nations were represented in the show, from as far as Mongolia to as near as DC. Corjor International, helmed by DC Fashion Week host Ean Williams, kicked things off. With high-tempo pop tunes like Rihanna’s “Disturbia” playing in the background, Corjor presented a plethora of designs, from a striking white one-piece bathing suit to sleek ball gowns.

The pace slowed with designer Bayarzul Enkhtaivan of Mongolia. Her spectacular costume design featured rich red, orange, purple, and pink stitching and elaborate headpieces.

In her Washington debut, Uzbekistan’s Lola Babayeva showcased traditional handmade fashions with fabrics in the Ikat style, which looks similar to tie-dye. In contrast, New York’s Darrell Cortez chose a modern and casual approach to his apparel: his male models wore urban garb accented by everyday accessories like a boom box, roller skates, and a basketball.

Some standard event hang-ups occurred. When additional seating was brought in early on, a smattering of male models did the heavy lifting. During the event, it was often hard to hear the host, and many people complained that they could not catch the names of designers. Still, the international display of couture appeared to satisfy the fashion-hungry crowd.

Sunday’s designers also included Hungary’s Barbara Léber, Mongolia’s Bayartsetseg Enkhtuya, Americans Renee France Designs, New Couture, and Thomas La’Vone-Woodard; Italy’s Tony Joshua Sanna, and Mozambique’s Vanda Tique.

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