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5 cool surprises from Style Week Pittsburgh's Ace Hotel party

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

AceHotel 400Ace Hotel Pittsburgh (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette file photo)

Day 3 of Style Week Pittsburgh was no ordinary fashion show. Instead, it was a cool dance party/concert/pop-up shop in the gym of the Ace Hotel Pittsburgh in East Liberty that attracted so many hip-looking people that even Brooklyn would be envious.

There were unique brands to discover and designers to meet all night. Here's a recap of some of the highlights:

1.) Pittsburgh is home to a burgeoning street wear scene

As a style editor, I know the city is home to several street wear brands and stores such as Daily Bread PA, Social Status and Blasfome, but it turns out that there are lots more. About a dozen Pittsburgh-grown street wear and vintage brands, including Native 412, Astronaut Kartel, Taste and Killigraphy, had pop-up displays at the event.

2.) Body paint = fashion

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For the fashion show, models skipped the designer apparel for body art. Artist Sarah Zeffiro decorated models' bodies in colorful abstract designs for a fresh way of thinking about fashion.

3.) Makeovers can make a difference

StyleWeek MakeoverA makeover recipient, at right, talks about his experience. Next to him is a photograph from before his transition.

During the event, makeovers by Studio RAW in the North Hills were revealed. But what made this moment extra special was that the recipients were people who identify as transgender or gender fluid. It was an empowering sight as the crowd cheered and applauded for the men and women debuting their refreshed looks with confidence and big smiles.

4.) Pittsburgh's musical talents run deep

Keeping a party energized for nearly four hours is no easy feat. Style Week Pittsburgh pulled it off with a fun lineup of DJs and bands curated by farESH Brand and Straightforward Consulting.

5.) The East End is the place to be on a Saturday night

StyleWeek discoballDisco ball inside Ace Hotel Pittsburgh gym.

Anyone who still thinks of Pittsburgh as a sleepy steel town hasn't been to the East End on a Saturday night lately. From the dance floor to the lobby bar and Whitfield restaurant, the Ace Hotel Pittsburgh was packed with people mingling late into the night, which only further fueled the energy of Style Week Pittsburgh.

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Style Week Pittsburgh heads Downtown for annual Style Awards

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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Some of Pittsburgh's most fashionable packed Culture Restaurant on Seventh Street, Downtown, on Friday for the annual Style Awards, which marked Day 2 of Style Week Pittsburgh

For the first time honorees were nominated and selected entirely through online voting. In the past, the public selected the nominees, and a panel of Style Week ambassadors picked the winners.

"I've never seen so many visitors and hits to our website. I was blown away," Style Week Pittsburgh founder Wadria Taylor said about the response to the online voting.

Winners received a trophy and a Style Week Pittsburgh gift bag. Before and after the ceremony, guests mingled at the bar and an outside seating space in Katz Plaza. It was a steamy evening -- both outdoors and inside -- but, nevertheless, spirits were high and the fashions were fabulous.

2016 Style Awards
*Winners are in bold 

DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
James Houk
Jennifer Mendicino
Leesa Kassler
Eva Dixon
Malcolm Williams
Nisha Blackwell

SALON OF THE YEAR
Society Men's Grooming Lounge
Brett James
Studio Booth
MCN Salon
Dreamz Hair Salon

STYLIST OF THE YEAR
Christina Imberlina Stein
Sonita ell
Aire Plichta Reese
Shawna Solomon
Niki Whittle

ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Christian Diboko
Slow Danger -- Anna Thompson and Taylor Knight

BOUTIQUE OF THE YEAR
Gilded Girl Beauty Emporium
Vintage Valet
Boutique la Passarelle
EONS Fashion Antique
Worth New York showroom by Bear Brandegee
Lex & Lynne
Shop 412
Little Black Dress by Diana Misetic
Three Rivers Vintage
Kindred Spirits Boutique
Juju
Social Status

BEST INDIVIDUAL STYLE
Binay Geathers
Amanda Bossi
Rebecca Whitlinger
Marian McCann
Suzanne Mauro
Tara Fay Coleman

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR
Tamiah Bridgett -- Diversame
Nate Mitchell -- The Natural Choice
Gina Vensel -- Easy Street Promotions
Gina Mazzotta -- Gina Mazzotta Millinery
Martin Potoczny -- LUXE Creative
Shellie Hipsky -- Empowering & Inspiring Lives
Sophia Berman -- Truust Lingerie
Darieth Chisolm -- Hustle & Heart TV
Nicole Manns -- Nikki's Magic Wand

BLOGGER OF THE YEAR
Debbie Stinedurf -- Fashion Fairydust
Tori Mistick -- Wear, Wag, Repeat
Emily Kilgore -- Fast Fashionista
Kimberly Allera -- Yes! Wear That
Lisa Freeman -- Style Examiner Pittsburgh
Zoe Namey -- Zoe with Love
Chancelor Humphrey -- Keep Pittsburgh Dope
Foo Conner -- Jekko
Ashley Pletcher -- Afternoon Espresso: A Life and Style Blog

PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
Juan Carlos Silva
Mitchell Tommy Hall
Aretha Melanie Boyd

MAKEUP ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Danielle Mock
Kourtney Leech
Dee Dee Malloy

Style Week Pittsburgh continues tonight at the Ace Hotel in East Liberty. Learn more about upcoming events here.

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Style Week Pittsburgh kicks off with retro runway show at Carnegie Museum of Art

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

StyleWeekPGH1

Feather boas and go-go boots were the accessories of choice Thursday for Day 1 of Style Week Pittsburgh.

The music hall foyer inside the Carnegie Museum of Art was a stunning backdrop for the '20s- and '60s-themed fashion showcase. Before the main event, guests browsed vintage women's wear displays from Three Rivers Vintage on the South Side and Juju boutique in Point Breeze.

Another highlight was the small exhibit of photographs by Charles "Teenie" Harris, who photographed the city's African-American community from 1935 to 1975. The museum is home to nearly 80,000 of his images. Ones that were at Style Week illustrated fashion in society in those decades.

The main event featured looks by Pittsburgh-based designers James Houk and Leesa Kassler that were modern interpretations of trends from these decades. For instance, fitted black dresses trimmed in hand-sewn feathers were chic modern twists on the '20s flapper dress, while vibrant colors and prints (plus, a particularly sexy sheath with a chain-link panel down one side) were nods to the '60s. Their aesthetics complemented each other well and were perfectly polished, proving that they're indeed fashion talents to watch.

What elevated the experience beyond just a fashion show was the showmanship and production value of it. Like the fashions, the music was a mix of oldies and current tunes with a retro vibe that had many audience members grooving in their seats or clapping along to the beat. Another nice touch was the choreography by Synergy Performing Arts Academy in Canonsburg. Rather than models just marching down the catwalk, they mixed in a few dance moves from the '20s and '60s that helped to keep the audience energized. Plus, they looked the part, thanks to hair and makeup by Jacqueline's Hair Salon, Kourtney Leech, Brandi's Mobile Services and Glam Dolls Concierge Beauty.

For more on the fourth annual Style Week Pittsburgh, check out the schedule of events. Photos by Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette.

STYLE WEEK FOUNDER WADRIA TAYLOR
StyleWeekWadria

MODELS WORK THE RUNWAY

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BEST-DRESSED GUESTS
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Makeup artists divulge model beauty secrets backstage at New York Fashion Week

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

Salinas

NEW YORK -- Behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week, makeup artists and stylists have been working overtime to get models ready for their closeup. 

Yes, these makeup mavens are the keepers of the cosmetic secrets for how models maintain their camera-ready glow. Here are a few things we learned this week:

-A pucker that pops: Skip the fancy brushes and applicators. Backstage at the Salinas runway show, makeup artists perfected models' burgundy pouts with just their fingers. For best results, use the ring finger. Why? The ring finger typically is weaker than the others, meaning it provides just the right amount of pressure for dabbing on colors and blending.

-A twist on the classic French manicure: Here's a nail art trick seen backstage at Alice + Olivia that truly is D-I-Y.  Take French manicure strips (you know, those disposable stickers that serve as a guide for the traditional French manicure white tip) and apply them diagonally across the nail, starting from the base. Polish around the strip with the desired hue, and wait a couple of minutes to dry. Then, carefully remove the strips, and voila -- a cool, easy negative-space manicure.

-Just a touch of Vaseline: If opting for a bold lip, skip the eye shadow to prevent makeup from appearing too heavy. Instead, give eyes a little lift and sheen with a simple sweep of Vaseline across the lids.

-Perfecting the bold brow: The strong eyebrow trend doesn't appear to be going anywhere in 2016. Get it right by not going too heavy-handed with the eyebrow pencil. Look for one with a feathered tip (Stila Cosmetics has some options), and then fill in the brow by stroking upward stroke by stroke.

Photos: Above, a bold brow and burgundy pout, with just a sweep of Vaseline across the eyelids, seen backstage at Salinas. Below, a nail technician creates a negative-space manicure using French manicure strips applied across the nail and China Glaze nail polish. Photos by Sara Bauknecht/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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Designers play time travel at New York Fashion Week

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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NEW YORK -- Everything old is new again, right? That might as well be the motto for fashion come fall.

At New York Fashion Week, underway through Thursday, plenty of designers are pulling inspiration from past decades for their upcoming collections.

Hot on the heels of a '70s style resurgence for fall 2015, some designers once again are channeling the groovy era. At the Alice + Olivia presentation, sets resembling New York City's downtown arts scene during that decade filled a large gallery space, complete with vintage LIFE magazines and newspapers, disco balls, oriental rugs and records. As for the fashions, there were fresh twists on patchwork dresses, high-waist flare pants, wide-brim hats and printed vests, maxi coats and pantsuits galore. Likewise, Diane von Furstenberg's fall collection was an homage to the time, with sexy slips, vivid prints and glitzy gowns worthy of the disco.

At Jeremy Scott, there were some nods to the '90s. In keeping with his signature playful style, pieces were wallpapered with popular cartoon characters from the decade, like Nickelodeon's Ren and Stimpy. Meanwhile, Tommy Hilfiger delivered nautical staples (peacoats, sailor pants, etc.) through a 1940s filter.

Photos: Alice + Olivia's '70s-inspired fall 2016 collection, presented Wednesday at New York Fashion Week at Skylight Clarkson Sq., SoHo. Sara Bauknecht/Post-Gazette

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