Park Avenue Fashion Week starts strutting

Fashion Week returns

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  • | 10:43 a.m. October 9, 2013
Photo by: Isaac Babcock - Fashion hits the runway in Winter Park this coming week as part of Harriett's Park Avenue Fashion Week beginning Oct. 13.
Photo by: Isaac Babcock - Fashion hits the runway in Winter Park this coming week as part of Harriett's Park Avenue Fashion Week beginning Oct. 13.
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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Harriett’s Park Avenue Fashion Week returns for its 7th edition this fall, beginning Sunday, Oct. 13. Inspired by fashion week events held around the country, the local version is just that: a salute to local boutiques, designers, salons and models that best showcase Winter Park’s fashion and design community.

The seven-day event is made possible by a volunteer-driven committee of local retailers, event planners and industry experts who work year-round to ensure the week captures the essence of Park Avenue and its fashions. This year’s committee is led by Sarah Grafton, financial advisor with Grafton Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch.

As in year’s past, local retailers have created a series of special events to attract customers to their stores. Some of the events include trunk shows and designer meet-and-greets, which are great opportunities to have a first look at new designs and meet the people behind the fashions. One such event is happening on Tuesday at Blue Door Denim Shoppe. Shoppers can meet Diane Meltz, a local designer who uses hand-selected fabrics to create unique day and evening wear tops, during her Sophisticated Peacock trunk show.

Other events feature local celebrities, such as at SEE’s “Cupcakes, Cateyes and Cocktails” event where Food Network Star contestant Emily Ellyn will show off her retro-rad eyewear while serving Gigi’s Cupcakes and Brown-Forman cocktails. The event also will have a fun photo op with classic cars along the Avenue from 3 – 6 p.m.

For a complete schedule of events, including info on the VIP Kickoff Party at The Alfond Inn, or the Wednesday night fashion show at Matilda’s on Park, be sure to visit or pick up a guide at participating stores. Then, grab some cute, comfortable shoes and get ready to walk the Avenue to see the sights and sounds of fashion week.

To be Charitable is Fashionable

Each year Harriett’s Park Avenue Fashion Week, named for fashion lover and Central Florida philanthropist, Harriett Lake, works with a charity partner. For 2013, the event committee selected Women of Hope, an auxiliary group of Community Food and Outreach Center. Look for this group to be at the Runway Show sharing the message of giving people in need a hand up instead of a hand out.

A Look to the Future

Fashion Week would not be complete without an emerging designer element. Each year the event works with local up-and-coming designers who participate in a competition for the opportunity showcase their designs at the Park Avenue Fashion Week Runway Show. This year’s pool of applicants featured stunning and innovative talent and covered everything from casual wear to couture and swimwear to menswear. A fashion show was held at Maxine’s on Shine to showcase the top ten semi-finalists, followed by Project Runway-inspired challenge where three finalists created an outfit using supplies from Tuni. The winner will have their own runway show, plus a trunk show at a local boutique in early 2014.

Under the Tent

The most anticipated event of the week is the grand finale, a spectacular runway show in Central Park West Meadow. Throughout the week the area is transformed into an event space à la New York Fashion Week in Bryant Park with a 20,000-square-foot air conditioned tent designed by Arena Americas. By Saturday night, the show is expected to bring nearly 900 guests, plus 120 models, 50 volunteers and vendors to the downtown area for a special evening.

Stores participating on the runway include Bella, Blue Door Denim Shoppe, Charyli, Current, Eyes & Optics, Forema, iLashWorks, John Craig Clothier, LaBella Intimates & Boutique, Lilly Pulitzer, Liz’s Fashion Experience, The Collection Bridal, The Unique Diamond Boutique, Tuni, Red Carpet Couture and Wearable Art Winter Park.

During the event, VIP ticket holders will enjoy a special lounge area designed by Scan Design and sponsored by Cloak & Dapper. Here, guests will find cocktails and lite bites from area restaurants including Luma on Park, Peroni, Winter Park Fish Company, Matilda’s on Park, Cocina 214 and Olive Garden.

While VIP tickets are almost sold out, Runway Show tickets are available for just $50. Seating and ticket information is available at

Erika Spence is the senior director of marketing and communications at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce.


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