Ballet, vampires and high fashion will come together in Winter Park during the culminating runway show at Harriett’s Fifth Annual Park Avenue Fashion Week, which kicks off Sunday, Oct. 9.
The Orlando Ballet Company put together a customized dance to promote their new ballet, “Vampire’s Ball”, in the first opening act to ever hit Park Avenue’s runway on Oct. 15.
In just four days, Austin Walker, production consultant for fashion week and national accounts manager for Karl’s event services, the same company that builds the tents for New York and Miami’s fashion weeks, will transform 20,000 square feet of the West Meadow in downtown Winter Park for a week of cocktails, champagne and of course, clothes. Retailers along the Avenue will also be hosting trunk shows and special events.
Five years ago, for the first fashion week, a freak storm came through and the outdoor show got rained out. “So we all sat down and said we really need to take this to the tents,” Walker said. “And when the event came to the tents, that’s what really gave it the credibility, like ‘yeah, this is Fashion Week.’”
And this year, the VIP lounge is back — with an urban chic theme, VIP chair Scot D. Vaughn said.
More than a week
The fashion week preview events began on Oct. 1 with the Mercedes Benz kick-off party, followed by the “Best of Both Parks” party at Hue Restaurant in downtown Orlando, which Vaughn said had a turnout of more than 400 people.
“It’s the first time a fashion week party was held outside of Winter Park,” Walker said. “It was a tremendous success.”
These events are only the beginning of the more than 70 events that will be happening during Park Avenue Fashion Week.
Beginning on Oct 9, there will be seven days of trunk shows, designer meet-and-greets, jewelry extravaganzas, VIP parties and previews at stores and restaurants along Park Avenue, all leading up to the final runway show on Saturday, Oct. 15, where last year’s emerging designer contest winner, Maria Roman, will get a chance to showcase her collection.
Here’s a snapshot of events happening during Harriett’s Park Avenue Fashion Week:
“A Night of Turkish Delight”
5:30-8 p.m., Bajalia
Meet and greet with designer Kelly Cimber
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuni
Fashion Week Party
6:30-9 p.m., Current/ John Craig Clothiers
7 p.m., West Meadow
For a full schedule, visit ParkAvenueFashionWeek.com
Park’s Project Runway
This year, a “Project Runway”-type contest was held for the first time, said Paige Blackwelder, co-chair and co-owner of Tuni. For the contest, participants were given a kit from Winter Park Memorial Hospital and had to use hospital material to create interesting fashions.
“They all came up with some really creative fabulous designs,” Blackwelder said. “They turned out so interesting that we hope to put them on the runway.”
Tuni, a participating boutique located on Park Avenue South, was the location for the emerging designer party on Oct. 5, where customers got a chance to meet designers and judges and see their collections.
Also on the line-up is the one of the biggest preview events that makes for one of Luma on Park’s biggest nights, Walker said. It is the John Craig | Current party, which is a red carpet event that began in 2009.
But by far the biggest event is the runway show on Saturday, Oct. 15, where there will be a VIP lounge with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a swag bar, four sky lounges with bottle service, private entrance, private butler and a 52-inch plasma screen, and where a surprise celebrity will walk the fashion show for the first time ever.
“It’s just one big party with good music, beautiful people and high fashion,” Walker said.
And even in the midst of the glitz and glam, planners of the event have not forgotten about giving back to the community, as a portion of the proceeds from the fashion week and 100 percent of the cover charge for the John Craig | Current party will go to the American Heart Association.