February in New York City is a rough month. It’s bitterly cold, blustery, and often, there’s lots of snow on the ground, to boot. But there’s a bright ray of sunshine that pierces the winter gloom around Valentine’s Day, and that’s Fashion Week.
By Nathan James
On February 10th, the Rogues’ Gallery took Midtown Manhattan by storm as they presented their spectacular runway show at the landmark Hotel Pennsylvania. The program, showcasing “emerging designers”, filled the Shy Top Ballroom on the eighteenth floor of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s towering edifice, and was well-attended by fashion industry bigs and celebrities alike.
On hand for the presentation were BTE TV’s Sofia Davis, and magazine mogul John Blassingame, as well as fashionista B. Smith. The two-hour Fall/Winter 2013 Collections event, according to Rogues’ Gallery CEO Ron Cooke, had the designers “showing their heart and soul on the runway.”
The program comprised the works of eight up-and coming designers, each with their own distinctive style, as depicted by the models on a nearly 60-foot long runway. “Designer-to-the stars” Willie Hall, whose raiments have graced the likes of Diana Ross and Madonna, led off, with bold hues and rakish cuts that got the show off to a vibrant start. “Designers are not made, they’re born, “she says, reflecting on her three decades in fashion.
Following Hall was Diane Linston, who has created ensembles for screen actress Jazsmin Lewis. Her clothing line, The N.G.U Designs, lit up the runway as her creations were met with applause. “My dreans,” says Linston, “are more than just being a fashion designer.”
Sehar Prazada’s designs added an international flavor to the show. Her looks, using hand-printed “natural fibers”, invoke the styles of Africa, Asia, and Europe. Her lines, Sahara, Urban Masala, and Ric THe Bloc have found their way to the racks of such big retailers as Nordstrom and Strawberry’s.
Next up was Brehon williams’ woMenswear line, “with emphasis on the ‘men’ aspect of the word.” A “high-end” designer, Williams’ unconventional approach to fashion was evident on the runway. “Each piece has a distinct point of view,” he noted.
No designer put more models on the runway than Torique Tabani, whose 7T7 line was the largest segment of the entire program. Each piece in his collection is handmade for the person wearing it, and reflects Tabani’s studied craft. His designs are aimed at “high-profile” individuals, such as politicians or corporate executives.
Fashion is a family affair for Tabani, whose father and uncle were both prominent in their native Pakistan’s design circles. After Tabani’s 30-minute display, came Mikasa La Charles, whose dreams are becoming reality as she tours Fashion Weeks all over the country. Her refined collection shows a personal touch, with soft lines and quiet colors. She operates her own boutique in Norfolk, Virginia, where she also gives classes on sewing.
Designer “for the modern woman” Corinne Monique rolled out a fresh, contemporary look at Rogues’ Gallery, with the launch of the Corinne Monique label. Fashion has been her lifelong passion, and her eye-pleasing selection of luxurious, elegant works was a show highlight.
The finale was a collection by Franklin Rowe, a native New Yorker whose credits range from the classic soap opera One Life To Live to design work for top stars such as Grace Jones, Queen Latifah, and Chris Webber. Capturing the sophisticated elan of modern style, Rowe is establishing himself as a designer to watch.
For more on the Rogues’ Gallery, visit www.roguesgallerypresents.com