Shockingly chic show is a fitting end to a whirlwind Fashion Week
For a couple minutes on Saturday night, the Mobile Fashion Week catwalk in the basement of Hargrove Engineers + Constructors became a dogwalk.
At the conclusion of the Eye Heart World collection, model Jonathan Taylor walked a wonderful white poodle with bright orange dyed ears down the runway. The perfectly groomed punk pooch pranced like a puffy runway rockstar and won the heart of the whole crowd.
The audience's adoring and surprised reaction made it hard for Taylor to stay in character.
"It was so hard not to just burst out laughing," Taylor said after the show. "When I got backstage, my heart was really stoked."
London's triumphant turn on the runway was just one of many mirthful moments at the MFW finale. The culmination of months of hard work and three consecutive days of stunning runway shows was chic and sometimes shocking cocktail of socializing and smashing style.
The finale featured collections from designers William Bradley, Destani Hoffman, Eye Heart World and Harold & MOD and local boutiques Brown Eyed Girl, Private Gallery, Hemline and Hourglass.
The gloriously glam experience transported the audience to a different world.
"I felt like I was in New York City," said show-goer Jasmin Arakawa. Arakawa, a new piano faculty member at University of South Alabama. "I was really inspired. I think I will play the piano better now."
At the VIP reception on the roof of Hargrove after the show, MFW founder and creative director Richard McGill Hamilton was basking in the afterglow of the most successful MFW to date.
"It was a great year. We had more people come than ever," he said. "We're already thinking about 2015. We're ready to go."
Here's a rundown of the finale's four fantastic featured designers' runway offerings:
Girls will be boys
If there was a fashion show at an avant-garde intergalactic insane asylum it would probably look something like Destani Hoffman's brilliant and eye-popping runway revolution.
The finale kicked off with her androgynous and risque collection. Only the boldest, and most confident of fashionistas could pull off the defiantly visionary looks.
The girl knows how to put on a show.
The daring design diva sent boys in boxy dresses and sleek straitjackets with big metal buckles and girls in metal collars and scary-stylish frocks festooned with googly eyes down the runway.
Hoffman, a graduate of both Spanish Fort High School and Savannah College of Art and Design also presented the most memorable and awesome accessory of this year's MFW: a clear acrylic square purse laden with at least a hundred tiny googly eyes.
The purse was so thoroughly cool and original that I craved it even though everyone would be able to see all the crumpled-up receipts, loose change and other assorted detritus that I'm always carrying around.
If you're not comfortable with folks seeing the inner secrets of your purse, you could always use it as a makeup bag or jewelry case.
After the show, Hoffman was rather modest about her achievement. "Nothing fell apart."
She was also convinced that the crowd was less puzzled by this year's creations than they may have been by the crazily proportioned candy-colored collection she presented at her MFW debut in 2014.
" I think I got a lot less 'What?' than last year," she said.
Season of the witch
Chatom native Willam Bradley, who has been with Mobile Fashion Week from the beginning, couldn't make it this year because he's in the midst of prepping for L.A. Fashion Week.
But he did send a variety of dark and lovely looks from his fall/winter 2014 collection and fresh blue and coral fashions from his spring 2014 collections to represent him on the MFW runway.
The winter/fall looks, inspired by the witches on the hit "American Horror Story, " were wickedly divine.
Bradley channeled the show's coven with glamorous witch-wear including simply chic black tops paired with beautiful black leather skirts, and a flowy, glam-goth black dress with peekaboo undergarments.
Carrying the cause
Mobile Fashion Week charity Eye Heart World raises money for victims of human trafficking by selling gorgeous purses, accessories, tanks and T's, all featuring the nonprofit's orange rose logo.
For the runway show, the EHW crew mixed their items with separates from H&M and TJ Maxx including jeans, flannel button-downs and sexy pleather leggings.
The pieces set off the beautiful accessories and sporty T's and tanks perfectly. The charity's slogan is "Carry The Cause," and that's exactly what the models did.
They toted the awesome accessories, inlcuding casually chic canvas boho bags, luscious leather purses and cross-body bags in black white and cognac, with purpose and panache.
London the poodle's surprise walk was the climax of the collection. London is a service dog who belongs to beautician Lauren Smeraglia, owner of The Powder Room salon in Fairhope.
Don't worry about London's dyed orange ears. Smeraglia used a pooch-friendly dye that does no chemical harm to colorful canines.
After the show Smeraglia explained that London's catwalk cameo was a prelude to a new Eye Heart World line of of dog accessories which will be sold to provide service dogs for safe houses sheltering human trafficking victims.
Eye Heart World co-founder Season Russo was absolutely exhilirated after the show.
"It was such a fun experience and I was so impressed with all the models," she said. "I already feel inspired to dream up some new fun ideas for next year."
Like a vintage virgin
Birmingham-based brand Harold & MOD, which only uses vintage and re-purposed materials in its designs, made a dazzling MFW debut.
Lead designer Milo Beloved presented a "Vagabond"-themed show filled with vintagey retro looks with fresh modern twists.
It opened with a barefoot bride of Woodstock in a flower crown and an exquisite bohemian wedding dress. The barefoot bride was followed by ultra-cool looking models in velvet coats, round sunglasses, plush white furs, asymmetrical lace skirts, funky shawls, short shorts, and elegant earth-toned gowns.
The most nostalgically iconic look, a cropped red jacket with a wild spumoni tulle skirt, combined "Like a Virgin"-era Madonna with "Thriller"-era Michael Jackson.
The event's concluding collection, which reverently referenced the past while looking into the fashion future, was the ideal end to Mobile Fashion Week.
Hungry for more of the Port City's poshest annual event?
Highlight the week of Sept. 20-26 on your 2015 calendar. Those are the dates of The Fifth Annual Mobile Fashion Week.
Until then, you can relive this year's week of chic by clicking through our photo galleries until your style cravings are satisfied.