Pittsburgh Fashion Week hits the beach with bold styles

The beach was the inspiration.

Bathing suits, cover-ups and dresses designed to be worn walking on the sand for that special vacation.

“I love the beach, especially beaches in Mexico,” designer Allison Bailey said. “The beach is a place where I can truly relax. And I wanted to design a collection that could be worn from the water to the beach to the table for dinner. I told my models to walk the runway like their feet were sliding through the sand.”

A 90-foot runway served as the beach for Bailey's show, which was part of the Designers' Showcase on Sept. 25 at Highmark Stadium on the South Side. It was the fifth night of the fifth year for Pittsburgh Fashion Week, which runs through Sept. 28.

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Bailey was part of the event last year as a student at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Downtown, and has continued to design swimwear since graduating.

This was her 2015 resort collection that included spandex blend suits as well as cover-ups that can be worn in the water.

Bailey wasn't the only designer to showcase swimwear. The Zeina Lou Designs collection was inspired by her friends, whom she named the bathing suits after. It was her first year with fashion week. She added jewelry-inspired temporary tattoos to her models, which were barefoot and wearing in her word-suits that were “a return to modesty.”

“I wanted to design suits that real women would wear,” said Zeina Livanos, creator of the Zeina Lou collection. “I love swimwear because it's fun and women can have fun modeling swimwear on the runway.”

Another designer was Brad Mumpower, who incorporated bold colors with wild prints and patterns that he says were 1950s inspired.

Pittsburgh Fashion Week didn't forget about the guys. Vaughn Glover of the Xalter Zaughn Collection uses polyester knit to create menswear that is comfortable and machine-washable. His styles went from a fun take on the tuxedo, with wide leg pants, to comfortable casual wear with lots of stripes. The Clairton-born designer, who produces fashion shows, came in from Cleveland.

“This was a great show,” Glover said. “I was happy to be a part of it since really concentrating on designing the past two years.”

The DebrAnn Weiss Collection is designed by Debi Weiss, who has been with the event for all five years. Her collection incorporated Alpaca and organic cotton and silks. She integrated dance in between models to create a different take on the normal runway show.

“This event gets bigger and bigger and better every year,” she said. “It is very well organized, and now Pittsburgh Fashion Week is an event that people in this town look forward to every year. It is here to stay.”

The weeklong event will showcase more than 25 designers and 300 models.

The standing-room-only crowd was “into it,” said Fashion Week executive director Miyoshi Anderson.

“This crowd was enthusiastic and interactive,” she said. “I felt it was definitely energetic, and it was a perfect ending to the fourth night. ... We have two more exciting events to go.”

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