While a soccer game heated up the field at Highmark Stadium on Monday night, style attracted a crowd of about 300 inside for "The O.N.E.: Opening Night Extravaganza" of the fifth annual Pittsburgh Fashion Week.
The Vintage Valet, one of the city's three fashion trucks, greeted guests at the door with its selection of vintage-inspired apparel and accessories. Inside a variety of vendors filled the first floor, including representatives from the provisional chapter of Fashion Group International Pittsburgh, Stella & Dot and Silpada Designs jewelry, Pure Barre and Younique makeup, as part of the "Fashion Avenue" vendors market.
Then it was up to the second level for the main event: six runway presentations spanning more than two hours and incorporating about 80 models.
Founder and director Miyoshi Anderson christened the catwalk with her own model walk to open the evening. When she spoke, she tried to keep her emotions in check regarding the event's anniversary.
"It has been five years of vision, of a thought, of a creation," she said. "The people, Pittsburgh is what keeps me going. I want to show them what's all here."
If Monday night's lineup was any evidence, there's a lot of style in the Steel City. Fashions ranged from classic to avant garde, with sweet colorful dresses, remixed vintage wear for modern women and a few selections for men mixed in. Throughout the week, a casting director from the upcoming film "The Last Witch Hunter" with Vin Diesel and buyers from local retailers are invited to attend shows to seek out talent. (At least one model piqued a casting director's interest on opening night.)
Pittsburgh Fashion Week is trying to make history this year with more than 340 models participating throughout the week -- numbers that few, if any, fashion events in the region have rivaled. They each can walk in one designer's show and were styled by Spoiled Girlz mobile spa, the Diva Den Pittsburgh salon and Sealed with a Kiss by Shavoni Collins.
As with most style-centric events, things kicked off a little fashionably late but kept moving the rest of the night. Besides a snafu with the music during the presentation of the first designer the production unfolded seamlessly. One of the strengths of the night was diversity -- in styles, in models, in designers and even in attendees. People of various walks of life were represented -- on and off the runway -- and there were styles suitable for a variety of tastes.
While the excitement was palpable, there might have been too much of it in one night for some. As the evening wore on, people trickled out or at least got up to walk around a bit and stretch. But overall Pittsburgh Fashion Week has come a long way from its first opening night extravaganza five years ago.
Pittsburgh Fashion Week returns to Highmark Stadium tonight for another designer showcase. It starts at 7 p.m., with a Fashion Avenue vendors market from 5:30-9 p.m. Tickets/information: pittsburghfashionweek.com.
For sightings from the front row, see below (from Sara Bauknecht/Post-Gazette):
Shawna Solomon: Exotic Hush
Rashida Thomas: Sheda's Closet presents Sheda's Fashions
Starr Thomas: Fusionista
Dawn Surgest: RubyDawn Designs presents RubyDawn Couture
Faith Pongracz Valez: Faith N' Khaos