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Pittsburgh Fashion Week impresses with strong designer lineup on Day 4

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

Pittsburgh Fashion Week returned to Highmark Stadium near Station Square on Thursday for a night of impressive women's fashion.

The five designers -- V to V Custom Fit Clothing by Robin Whitmer, Leslie Harris, Glenda Bonds: 5.0 Sisterhood, Lorette Pendergrast: Lorette's Fashions and Tammy Jackson: Saani Mac -- all showcased looks that easily could be whisked from the runway to the real world. They catered to the everyday woman with figure-flattering silhouettes, practical prints and color schemes (largely neutrals with the occasional pop of cobalt blue or turquoise) that are on trend.

Among the standout looks was a pair of pants hand embellished with crystals (pictured below) by Ms. Jackson that closed the night to great applause. Ms. Bonds' collection designed with clothes for women 50 years and older in mind was another highlight with timeless pieces that prove strong style doesn't have to waiver with age.

Keeping with the "model mayhem" angle of this year's Fashion Week, each designer's showcase featured another fresh crop of models. More than 340 models will take part in Pittsburgh Fashion Week this season with no model walking in more than one show. Hair and makeup was styled by Nikki Thomas, Ashley Canada and Sherva MMO (Make Me Over).

Shows once again were well attended, with few empty seats in the front row and audience members staying engaged through the end. Throughout the night guests had the chance to shop jewelry, clothes and more at the Fashion Avenue market place on the lower level.

Pittsburgh Fashion Week picks back up at 5:30 p.m. today with the last day of the Fashion Avenue market place and another designer showcase at 7 p.m. at Highmark Stadium. Tickets: ticketmaster.com. Information: pittsburghfashionweek.com

V to V Custom Clothing by Robin Whitmer

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Leslie Harris

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Glenda Bonds: 5.0 Sisterhood

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Lorette Pendergrast: Lorette's Fashions

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Tammy Jackson: Saani Mac

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Student designers spotlighted at Pittsburgh Fashion Week

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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Veteran designers aren't the only ones getting their time on the catwalk at the fifth annual Pittsburgh Fashion Week. Student designers and recent grads also have been in the spotlight throughout the week.

At the "Fashion Rocks" runway show at Macy's, Downtown, on Wednesday, the five student designers who were picked to participate in this year's events were introduced to the crowd and interviewed about their backgrounds and design inspirations. Meanwhile, one look from each of their collections was modeled on the runway. During Fashion Week, some of their creations also are on display in two of Macy's storefront windows.

The up-and-coming designers went through a "Project Runway"-style audition to make it to Fashion Week that included presenting past designs as well as ones made specially for the judges.

"It's giving them a chance to really see the real world and how fast-paced things are and how quickly they might have to produce something," says founder and executive director Miyoshi Anderson.

This year's featured student designers are Marissa Burd, Leesa Kassler, Anna Montano, Khaleelah Ali Muhammad and Sammi Parrish. See their work at the "Back to Basics" runway show at 7 p.m. Saturday at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Downtown. Tickets: showclix.com (or learn more at pittsburghfashionweek.com).

Photos: (Above) A design by Leesa Kassler is featured at the "Fashion Rocks" event at Macy's on Wednesday, Day 3 of Pittsburgh Fashion Week. (Below) Looks from the student designers taking part in Pittsburgh Fashion Week are on display in Macy's storefront windows, Downtown. Sara Bauknecht/Post-Gazette

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'Fashion Rocks' at Macy's for Pittsburgh Fashion Week Day 3

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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Pittsburgh Fashion Week brought the action Downtown for Day 3 with a "Fashion Rocks"-themed runway show and shopping party at Macy's Wednesday evening.

Pittsburgh-based event stylist Bill Chisnell transformed part of the fourth floor into a stage and zig-zag catwalk with platforms for posing, all awashed in magenta and purple lighting with accents of black and silver. Live music from Deep Faith got the party pumping while guests munched on light bites from Savoy.

For the main event, Shellie Hipsky, this year's Pittsburgh Fashion Hall of Fame Exceptional Artist awardee, was the host and talked through a list of trends for fall while models showed them off on the catwalk.

Some of the top styles for the season are:

-My cool edge: Moto jackets with skinny pants, graphic tees, blazers and boyfriend cardigans.

-My mystique: Muted floral prints

-My blues: All things blue, from navy to bright cobalt done in velvet, faux fur and leather details

-Clean and tailored: Polished yet fun and flirty with classic prints and textures

The runway layout was the first of its kind for the department store, which has taken part in Pittsburgh Fashion Week for three years. This year's event attracted about 150 in the audience with another 25-50 in standing spaces. 

"I see so much growth," said Pittsburgh Fashion Week founder and executive director Miyoshi Anderson (pictured below with one of the featured models). "It's just continuing to evolve."

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Pittsburgh Fashion Week opens with packed night of runway shows

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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):

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Shawna Solomon: Exotic Hush

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Rashida Thomas: Sheda's Closet presents Sheda's Fashions

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Starr Thomas: Fusionista

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Dawn Surgest: RubyDawn Designs presents RubyDawn Couture

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Faith Pongracz Valez: Faith N' Khaos

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Stylebook on KDKA-TV: New York Fashion Week trend wrap-up

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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New York Fashion Week is over, but we're still talking about the trends that kept the fashion industry frantic last week!

Stylebook stopped by KDKA-TV's "Pittsburgh Today Live" this morning to dish on some of the looks that are predicted to be popular for next spring.

Watch the segment here or in the video box below.

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