February 19th: Last season at the Nolcha Fashion Week presentation, I was astounded by the caliber of the designers and their creative works of art.  For this Fall/Winter 2009 season, I made my way over to The Plaza on Central Park South at 5th Ave where they were hosting their galleria of designers.

The event was held in The Plaza’s Peter Lik Gallery, providing a beautiful photography backdrop.  Nolcha debut seven select fashion designers in apparel and accessories, paving the way for exceptionally talented independent designers.

The first table I came across displayed elegant handbags by Barbara Sears Nelson. Over 20 years ago when she lived in Aspen, CO, she was inspired by the sparkle of fiber optics and incorporated them into her bags.  Using Italian elements and fabrics woven with fiber optics, the bags give an luminous shine.  Another bag designer, Eenamaria, dazzled us with bold colors from its Harlem Shake and Harlem Swing collections.  Made with polyurathane, the shiny finish of the faux-leather gives the geometric shapes and extra pop in the colors.  Betty Lou Jewels dazzled us with Bliss, her first-ever handcrafted pendant collection, made up of brilliantly cut diamonds and vibrantly bright and colorful enamel.

For the apparel, the designers had models walking around wearing their dresses much like a make-shift runway show.  emeDesigns by Erica Mae and Shelli are known for their take on “the little black dress,” and are often asked to create customized looks for their private clients.  Nadia Nour mixes a variety of elements into her collection and is “created for women who defy trends, expressing themselves through their distinctive sense of style,” “designed to inspire a sense of self-assurance and vitality in the women who wear it.”  Bold statements for feminists everywhere!

At the entrance, I was greeted by two lovely ladies wearing dresses by designer Vaughn Jereaux, winner of the “Race to be Creative Entrepreneurial Challenge” hosted by Russell Simmons. He has partnered with Donatemydress.org to outfit underprivileged high school students in New York City to make their prom dreams come to life.

In the back corner of the gallery was a separate room for Celestino by Sergio Guadarrama.  Inspired by the Art Nouveau movement of the early 1900s, his interest in art and architecture translater beautifully into his dresses.  There was a stunning Grecian wedding gown on a mannequin, and there were three stylists furiously dressing one of the models in a gorgeous, one-shoulder gown with a soft print in a flowy fabric – absolutely perfect for a summer tropical getaway.

There was an open bar sponsored by Riazul tequila, and I remembered again from last season how potent that stuff is – whew!  Also to note: JPR, an extension of Jordana PR International, started the Fashion Design Directory, a digital directory project that will house information about emerging designers from around the globe and be distrubuted to fashion editors worldwide, giving these independent designers the resources and tools they need to gain exposure and create brand awareness.

A great article was shared with us saying how even during these tough economic times, the need to increase visibility is highly valuable and can lead to innumerable opportunities that would otherwise be very difficult.  The directory is sponsored by Nolcha Fashion Week, and also Nina Ricci, who featured their watch on the Fashion Design Directory’s premier issue, shared with you below.

VonPhotos by yours truly