I admit, I’m a total Elona Mitchell fangirl. I’ve seen her work as a model, where she always kills it with a true natural presence on the runway. However, her modeling work is only a precursor for where she really shines. She’s an accomplished visual artist, and she brings her talent to the runway, as a fashion designer showcasing a diverse range of looks.
When she kicked off the Saturday night show for Atlantic City Fashion Week Season 12 at the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City on Saturday, February 17, they couldn’t have picked a better collection to start things off in a big way. Her hand-painted work, unique way of cutting fabrics, and the edgy vibe she brings to everything she does, is always memorable. In her third collection, she mixes both cute urban styles for young kids, along with gritty, hardcore takes on music, comics and pop culture. She’s so creative and has an amazing energy that’s great to be around. I always love it when I see her, and she picks me up two feet in the air!
I’m especially excited to now have my own Elona Mitchell original! She took one of my denim jackets, and designed the most perfect teddy bear holding a heart, to transform it into a work of art that I’ll treasure forever. Now I need to figure out the best place to wear it so I can take photos, photos, photos! Thank you, Elona!
Here are some of my photos from this collection. The work is amazing and it was a pleasure seeing it live!
My one-of-a-kind Elona Mitchell teddy bear jacket!
I told you she picks me up when she sees me. She can hold me up there forever!
Atlantic City Fashion Week Season 10, you saved the best for last! I have watched John Leon’s amazing work for a couple of years, and I had been eagerly anticipating my first chance to see one of his collections on the runway, and these spectacular bridals did not disappoint. His breathtaking 2017 Bridal Collection was the finale of the couture show and it was an absolute show-stopper.
After the show, I had an opportunity to ask him about why now is the right time to launch his bridal collection.
“I believe in taking your time and releasing your art work when you naturally feel it’s the right time,” John told me. “It’s been three years since the last time I showcased a new collection. I did not want to release a collection because I had to, I wanted to release a collection I feel strong about. I need to emotionally feel a connection with a collection. A purpose.”
And what were some of his goals and inspirations behind the new collection?
“This process started a few months ago when I began sketching a few designs here and there. Not enough designs for a full collection, just a few. The full collection came to me when I went to last year’s Philadelphia Flower Show at The Convention Center. I saw this beautiful presentation of lavender hydrangea and chrysanthemum, ivory peony and ivory roses with black tips, black vines and twigs and white orchids behind this soft gray mountain-like texture background. It was absolutely stunning! I took some pictures, went home and designed the entire 10-piece collection in just a few hours.
“I knew from the beginning that I wanted to take this collection into a more modern direction. Bridal wear for the modern bride. The cuts are new, it’s a little more relaxed. Not so traditional. I believe that the modern bride wants to look elegant, sophisticated, confident and weightless on her big day, and not feel heavy in a big Cinderella-like gown. I wanted to break the boundaries by making bridal soft, elegant, modern and sexy. That’s the JNL Woman.”
Why did he want to debut his new collection for the modern bride at Atlantic City Fashion Week?
“I decided to do it at ACFW because I’ve been doing it for years. I first started showcasing at their shows when they were doing Pink Fashion Week for breast cancer a few years back. Because I’ve been showcasing for ACFW for so long, Lamont and Jeana Bowling have become close friends. I’ve also designed many looks for Jeana throughout the years and because of it, I’ve designed custom for many more.”
I asked John how he wants his clients to feel when wearing his clothes.
“Many things I’ve heard my clients say are “I’ve never felt so beautiful,” “This is the best dress I have ever worn,” “It’s fitted and comfortable.” Cut is very important in a garment of any size. You can easily give someone shape, a waist, transform their body. I want my clients to feel confident and happy.”
And is there something different that goes into dressing a bride?
“As far as brides go, it’s a whole different story. For brides, you need to bring it! My goal as a designer for the bridal client is to make them feel light and weightless on their special day. I want to take away all the tulle and corsets, complicated closers and make it comfortable, flirty, sophisticated and timeless. I made a lace jumpsuit with a five-yard train attached to the shoulders. It’s sexy, but at the same time it’s daring and fresh! You never think jumpsuit for bridal but that’s the new modern bride. Traditional is boring! Out with the old and in with the new!”
I wish I knew John when I was looking for my wedding dress six years ago. Then again, John told me he could do these in any color, so maybe it’s time for a second wedding! Your work is absolutely amazing, John, and I have no doubt that you’re going to be a major player in the bridal space in the years to come.
Here are some of the looks from this breathtaking collection on the ACFW runway. You can learn more at John Leon Fashion Designswww.johnjnlleon.com.
Model Andrea Graham.
Model Samantha Grandy is looks magical this magnificent piece, one of the highlights of the show and a crowd favorite.
This past weekend was Atlantic City Fashion Week (ACFW), and that event continues to be one of my favorites each spring and fall. The number of amazing designers featured each season keeps getting better, and Jeana and Lamont Bowling do an amazing job and take such good care of us.
One of the highlights of this season was the debut couture collection from designer Tirusha Dave (Designs by Tirusha). Tirusha, who people may know as editor of Bravura Magazine, has done other collections in the past, but this was her first time working in high-end couture and the results are amazing.
After the show, I asked Tirusha why she chose to debut the new couture line at ACFW, and she said it was because that was where she showed her very first collection as a designer. “It just felt like a complete circle!” she said.
And what inspired this stunning collection?
“To be quite honest, for the past few years, my magazine’s team has been heavily involved in the pageant world, especially with the Miss America Organization, and working alongside different state title-holders. So my pieces this time were inspired by the beautifully talented women I have been working with, such as Miss New Jersey.”
“Bravura Magazine’s tagline is “be yourself…be exceptional…be bravura.” And that is how I want a woman to feel when they are wearing one of my pieces. I want each women to feel exceptional because they are in their own ways. And that deserves to be showcased to the entire world!”
You absolutely accomplished this and more, Tirusha. The models look incredible and any of these looks would look just as good on the pageant stage as on the runway!
One of the best runway shows from February 2016’s Atlantic City Fashion Week #ACFW featured the amazing shoe collection of designer John Ashford. Authentic by John Ashford’s styles are hand-crafted, spectacular works of art that make a statement on and off the runway. This unique brand defines couture with high fashion and art and it was a thrill to see his work in-person. See more at www.authenticbyjohnashford.com and connect with him on Instagram (@johnashfordshoes).
The opening designer at the Atlantic City Fashion Week #ACFW runway show on February 27 at The Claridge Hotel was a remarkable way to open the show. The show featured many amazing uses of fabric, but designer Ellen Durken is actually a blacksmith who uses her forge to create amazing designs fashioned from metal.
Ellen’s work is wonderful both for its creativity and how striking it makes the models look on the runway. It was amazing to see how creative her designs are, and how they stretch the definitions of fashion and style. See more of her bad-ass approach to high fashion at her website www.ellendurkan.com. She also sells cool prints of her work and custom metal jewelry.
What a striking way to kick-off the show. This design set the creative tone for a wonderful evening.
One of the highlights for me at Atlantic City Fashion Week this past October was the Aprillegrace Love & Couture collection from LA fashion designer Aprille Grace. Her beautiful collection was both hot and glamorous and I just love the gold fabrics. I’m excited that she’ll be back at ACFW in the spring and can’t wait to see what her next collection will have to offer.
I almost didn’t make to my first Atlantic City Fashion Week (ACFW). With a hurricane in the area, and an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike, it seemed like we’d have to wait for next year. But, we finally made it and it was worth the effort!
Held at The Playground at Caesars Hotel and Casino the weekend of October 3, ACFW was founded in 2011 by the husband and wife team of Lamont and Jeana Bowling.
We saw six fabulous designers featuring all sorts of looks, ranging from a kids show that was so much fun, to elegant, sexy and futuristic collections. It is obvious that the founder of ACFW love what they do and so much effort goes into making these events enjoyable for everyone who attends and a valuable networking and exposure opportunity for the designers, models, hair and MUAs and everyone else who participates.
(Special shout-out to my new friend, designer Aprille Grace! More on her show later!)
The Spring 2016 ACFW has been announced for February 25-27, 2016. I’ll be there, will you? Get more information and tickets on the ACFW website www.atlanticcityfashionweek.net.
For anyone who wants to be a part of ACFW, watch out for casting notices being posted on the website and Facebook.
I was lucky enough to get to chat with Jeana Bowling after the show. She was so sweet and took the time even in the middle of fashion show craziness. Hi, Jeana! See you in February.