Fashion Week Las Vegas holds designer competition


Roger Talley | Las Vegas Modeling Examiner

August 19, 2012

On Aug. 18 the organizers of Fashion Week Las Vegas held a juried competition for spots in their February event at the Westin Lake Las Vegas resort. The competition, for “emerging designers”, attracted people from all over the world, in several different fashion categories.

Victoria Thompson flew in from Australia to attend both this event and the MAGIC apparel trade show the next week. Victoria was in the “red carpet” division, but says she does “affordable” evening wear that is targeted for an age group of 35-45. Her designs have been popular also for bridal parties, and are aimed at the mother of the bride as much as at the bride herself.

Two of the competitors were jewelry designers, and they could not have been more different. Hazel Gonzalez Rojas (of the Hazel Gonzalez line) produces classic, elegant jewelry that is inspired by the natural beauty of her native Costa Rica, and incorporate hand-crocheted silver as a major design element.

Perla X. Cuellar has a different approach. This California designer takes the “go big” idea to the point where the extravagant jewelry is the fashion statement, not an accessory. The vintage-inspired works include silver, glass and phosphorescent glow-beads. She says her work is designed to be worn with just jeans and a T-shirt and grab attention from across the room.

The two brothers who make up F. Wilson Fashion Design create high-couture, elaborate and romantic gowns. F. Wilson is in South Africa, but taking this opportunity to become known on a wider stage. The pièce de résistance in their show is a gown decorated with 38,000 hand-installed beads. They say it took them six months to produce it. The gown is pictured in the slide show that accompanies this article.

Sharlenne Chen, originally from Indonesia, is a California designer who attended the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, worked for a while in the production side of a large fashion house, and then struck out on her own. Her gowns are intended for upscale, contemporary women, and she is particularly interested in attracting Hollywood clients.

The only local Las Vegas designer in the competition was Brittanie Calilan. The two years she spent in graphic design school heavily influence her aesthetic, and her outfits tend to clean, strong graphic shapes. This was her first public show since graduation from college, although she had shown in events like Sacramento Fashion Week while she was still in school.

Each of the designers present showed examples of their work on models provided by Fashion Week Las Vegas. The organization also provided hair and makeup support, with key artist Katrina Stoever being assisted by Amelia Cruz, Giovanna Fregoso, Jossalyn Bermudes and Lisa J.