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BK FASHION WEEK (END)
May 5-7, 2006

Written by Janet Perisa
Photographed by
Krisztina Fazekas

Opposite photo
Zulema Griffin Collection

The first annual Brooklyn Fashion Weekend in DUMBO, Brooklyn certainly proved that “couture” is no longer limited to the glut of design houses that monopolize Manhattan’s trendiest ‘hoods. Billowing white tents spanned the roofless ruins of Brooklyn's Tobacco Warehouse, which with its magnificent view of the Brooklyn Bridge and Water Front provides a sexy rival to 42nd and 6th avenue’s Bryant Park (home to Olympus Fashion Week). On opening night, May 5, 2006) BK Fashion Week (End) guests received red carpet treatment and the luxury of witnessing what is sure to become a milestone in Brooklyn’s rich artistic and cultural history.

“Brooklyn is becoming the new SoHo. There is such an enormous range of talent here that has yet to be discovered,” said fashion publicist, Dana Bethune.

The Evening’s highlight was a preview of Project Runway hottie, Zulema Griffins,’ Matador Collection (www.zulemagriffin.com), which will be thoroughly presented this September during Olympus Fashion Week. The audience sat back in awe as the models treaded the catwalk to the passionate rhythms of flamenco— Sanguine-colored capes and black bolero jackets paired with slim-cut, pants were among the many pieces that gained the admiration and the applause from the hundreds of guests who came to pay tribute to the fashion renaissance that is encompassing the borough of Kings.

“I got the idea for this collection while I was shopping for fabric and I saw this one piece that had a Matador print. After that I began to develop my line from that piece of inspiration,” said Griffin.

Zulema Griffin
Zulema Griffin
Zulema Griffin
Zulema Griffin
Zulema Griffin
Zulema Griffin

The festivities began around 8:30 p.m. with the introduction of the Trinidadian-born design duo, Simon Duncan’s Spring ’06 collection of women’s evening wear. The look was very "couture" with fine tailored two-piece pants suits and dresses that were accented by ruffles and subtle hints of lace. The designers, along with the event’s chief clothing and hair stylist, Vanessa Evelyn, harmoniously fused together the concepts of Victorian elegance and urban chic, creating a look that can transcend the boundaries of both formal and informal attire. “What you’ve seen tonight is just the tip of the iceberg,” boasted Matt Duncan of Simon Duncan apparel.

Vanessa Evelyn, a British-born stylist of African decent, wanted to highlight the opulence of her collection by giving the models structured beehive dos and subtle make-up ao as to enhance the features of each of the willowy and ethnically diverse beauties. “ I am offended by the images in African-American magazines with the ghetto hair do’s that cover the face. It’s all about seeing the face,” said Evelyn.

Simon Duncan
Simon Duncan
Simon Duncan
Simon Duncan
Simon Duncan
Simon Duncan
Simon Duncan
Simon Duncan
Simon Duncan
Simon Duncan
Simon Duncan
Simon Duncan
Simon Duncan
Simon Duncan

Following Simon Duncan was Brooklyn-based designer, Nana Boateng’s menswear collection, a showing that spoke volumes about attitude and sex appeal. Boateng's tailored pants and knee-length structured suit jackets were evocative of the 1940’s Zoot Suit craze. These suits may not work in a corporate setting, but they definitely capture the essence of metropolitan night life. Boateng was born in Ghana, and spent his early years growing up in Europe where he began designing clothing. Boatens is the first cousin of British designer, Ozwald Boateng, whose client base includes celebrities such as Lawrence Fishburne and Samuel L. Jackson.

Nana Boateng
Nana Boateng
Nana Boateng
Nana Boateng
Nana Boateng
Nana Boateng
Nana Boateng
Nana Boateng

The weekend-long fashion fest was the inspiration of BET stylist and co-founder of the Brooklyn Style Foundation, Rick Davey, who conceived the idea two years ago when he realized that the playing field between local Brooklyn designers and their Manhattan counterparts was unequal. Davey along with Cybele Sandy, former publicist and co-founder of the BKSF, have created Brooklyn Fashion Weekend with the hope that it will achieve the prestige of the biannual Olympus Fashion Week shows held in Midtown’s Bryant Park.

“What we are trying to do is build a strong foundation for young Brooklyn-based fashion designers by providing them with funding for materials, industry hook-ups, and exposure so they can compete on the same level as designers in Manhattan” said Davey. For more information on BK Fashion Week (End), go to www.bkfashionwkend.com.


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