Vitaminwater may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about fashion, but Tuesday night at the Granada, it was the the inspiration for a number of local designers and the focus of a competition with a $2500 prize.
Vitaminwater Uncapped was a runway fashion show and competition, complete with a live band and a BestBuzz smartphone app that allowed attendees to vote for the winner.
Ten designers were chosen to compete for the $2500 grand prize, and each designer was given a case of vitaminwater in an assigned flavor, a box of colored pencils that correspond with the vitaminwater flavors and a sketchpad. The assignment was to show three looks from their current collection and two pieces they designed with their assigned vitaminwater flavor as their inspiration.
The fashion designers and labels invited to compete were Salvage House, Prashe, Barron & J, Morgan LaRochelle, STATUS by Sarah Jones, Ann Hoang, Haute DJ, Emmanuel Tobias, Coco Bourgeoisie and Neil Marek. LeeAnne Locken emceed the event and the judges included Karl Marshall (Galleria Fashion Camp Director), Lisa Petty (editor of DFW Style Daily) and Shirin Askari (local designer and Project Runway Season 6 Contestant).
At 7:45 the place was still looking a little empty, but the folks that were there were dressed like they were going to be the ones on the runway. Tiny mini skirts, dresses and equally short shorts worn with sky-high heels seemed to be the go-to look, even for a very good-looking boy or two.
Right before the show, videos of the designers discussing their inspiration played on big screens. The whole set-up was very impressive. A runway was built that jutted out from the stage and into the crowd, and of course vitaminwater was lined up in rows all around the theater.
The 8:00 p.m. start time came and went as people continued to file in. But by 8:15, the theater was pretty full on the first floor with a handful of folks on the second. At that point, the center screen disappeared into the ceiling revealing a live band. The models started down the runway.
Salvage House opened the show with some very cute but predictable dresses and one unfortunate plaid number. XXX (acai, blueberry and pomegranate flavor for the uninitiated) was the assigned flavor.
Ann Hoang, who was assigned vitaminwater's Drive (blood orange with mixed berry), sent out gorgeous full-length gowns and short party dresses with open backs and peekaboo details. There was a killer hot orange jumpsuit in her collection that I want to be tall and thin enough to wear in my next life. She also showed a fabulous short orange tank dress with a bandeau bra-like top.
Haute DJ showed a basic little black number and a resort wear top with a shiny, silky white skirt, as well as a yellow t-shirt dress made from silky fabric. The one piece of note was a second little black dress, this one with a cool, detailed back. There was also a bizarre dress covered with what appeared to be deflated magenta balloons, which seemed like a literal interpretation of the Revive flavor (fruit punch).
Emmanuel Tobias, inspired by the Squeezed flavor (lemonade), was up next and stole the show. He sent down a long black gown with a sparkly strip of material running from the dress to the model's face. Very Fashion Week. He also showed a gray dress with sheer overlay and a tiny, deep red dress with a stylish, pleated bottom. Gorgeous. Up next was a one-shoulder, yellow, ombre dress followed by a silky, 1920s inspired gown with feathered shoulders and a dramatic headpiece.
Coco Bourgeoisie showed a Dynasty-era hot pink, very short, long sleeved dress as well as a hot pink skirt with a halter top, which was followed by a magenta top and a hot pink and turquoise micro mini. At which point I was forced to say, "She's pooping fabric," a la Michael Kors on Project Runway because, well, she was. All of it seemed outdated and ill-fitting on the models. Bourgeoisie was assigned Go-go (mixed berry) as her inspiration flavor.
STATUS showed a little black dress with a sparkly, strappy back, a rather unflattering bag dress with another dress underneath it and an outfit with a water bottle holster, among other designs. The first dress was lovely. The rest, not so much. Maybe Power-C (dragonfruit) wasn't so inspiring. Later in the show, she described her work as being about channeling your inner super hero. The style was sort of Jetsons meets Tomb Raider.
Inspired by vitaminwater's Mega-C flavor (grape and raspberry), Barron & j sent down a very short dress with a front cut-out, a tank dress that looked undone in the back and a dress that actually looked like a vitaminwater bottle with black lace at the bottom and a white collar. A little too literal for me. Up next was a tiny purple evening dress with flapper-y trim, which seemed a little too boudoir looking for real life.
Morgan LaRochelle showed a low-cut, sparkly dress with a top so loose that it barely covered the well-endowed model's assets. An outfit that looked more like a skimpy ice skating costume came out next, followed by a short black dress that looked kind of, well, cheap. The final piece was a long, one-shoulder gown in a jewel toned flowery pattern. She was assigned Energy (tropical citrus).
Last up was Neil Marek, who showed a blousy, robey black top with a mini skirt, a bandeau top and a bed jacket and a fringy top over velvet leggings with a gold belt hanging down. There was also a completely sheer dress that I hope was a resort cover-up since you could see every bit of the model's underwear. The designer used lots of gold-studded details on the pieces, which makes sense considering Glow (strawberry and guanabana) was his assigned flavor.
The models were thin and pretty, but not particularly skilled on the runway. Just green I'm guessing. The first thing my twelve-year-old fashionista said when she saw them was, "What's up with all that hair?" It was was indeed very big.
After the show ended, Locken asked each designer about the inspiration for the lines as well as which vitaminwater they were assigned. As cheesy as she seemed, she was clearly doing her best to buy time as the judge's votes and the audiences' BestBuzz votes were tallied and combined. Locken then introduced each of the judges and even went to the audience for comments.
Finally, and without much ado, the winner was announced. I am happy to say that Emmanuel Tobias, the clear first choice in my mind, was the winner. Live 80, the cover band for the show, took the stage with go-go girls in booty shorts and halter tops and played "1999," which seemed appropriate considering some of the fashions.