Asheville Fashion Week – Part 1

On Thursday night at the Altamont Theater in Asheville, NC dozens of people find their seats 4 and 5 rows deep surrounding a runway. The dim lighting and club mix beats filled the air with a palpable anticipation.

Modeling the Hattitude collection from McKinney Gough, Day 2 of AFW, courtesy of Asheville Fashion Week Facebook page

Over 100 models take to the runway, showcasing looks from local designers McFarland, McKinney Gough, Southern Charm/Charmed, Deirdre Blume, Tasha Lief, Runway Ready, Chapeaux by Simone, MG&B, and Diamond Outdoors.

Thursday’s most impressive surprise was the debut collection designed by a pair of local 16 year old girls, MG&B. Their designs are fun, colorful, and bold. A white knit dress with spoons on the front, a green chiffon ball skirt with a black bodice, and a fun mix-print crop top and skirt were crowd favorites (based on the amount of cheering).

On Friday night at the Millroom of Asheville Brewing, The crowd was larger, the runway staggered in a Z shape, and the lights were pulsating color-changing orbs. Collections shown included Sacred Garden by Anna Gordon, Tricia Ellis, a reprisal of Diamond Outdoors and Deirdre Blume, KatDog Couture, Legends of Hollywood retail, Wildflower Bridal with accessories from Uber Kio and Hatchett Creative Group, and Xen by Rachele swimwear.

Models for Xen by Rachele after the show, courtesy of AFW Facebook page

Friday’s presentation was phenomenal. From casual date night looks by Diamond Outdoors to opera-worthy ensembles by KatDog Kouture, to fairy-tale wedding inspirations by Wildflower Bridal, there was something for everyone on the runway.

What these two incredible nights showcased wasn’t just fashion: it was the creative soul of Asheville. Produced by Gage Models and Talent Agency, which created Chattanooga and Knoxville fashion weeks, the models of Asheville were guaranteed a spot on the runway. These were real men and women of real proportions from petite to traditional model to plus size wearing real clothes from local and talented designers.

This afternoon begins the last day for Asheville Fashion Week with the children’s collections, and tonight is the Grand Finale at the Renaissance Hotel.

Author’s Note: I am honored to bear witness to these historic event. I am blessed to have found my path as a fashion journalist in the same time as the blossoming of Asheville’s Fashion community. Special thanks to model and stylist extraordinaire Sarah Merrell for making Asheville Fashion Week a reality.

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Pub is Short for Public House

  Welcome to Frog’s Leap Public House in historic Waynesville, NC. 
Those of you who follow my Twitter or Instagram may have seen a pair of photos from my lunch earlier today: caprese salad and a hummus veggie plate. 

There are several notable things about this pub: 

1) It calls itself a public house. This is a gathering place for families and friends to feast and celebrate within rustic, comforting walls. 

2) They work and partner with several local, even family owned, gardens and farms to provide a natural ever-changing menu. 

Local Farmers and Partners

3) That ever-changing menu? It’s dated. Today’s menu was created on 7/31/15. They can only prepare what nature, and these local organizations, provide. 
4) The entire staff, from my waitress Anna to the head kitchen chef, is understanding, educated, and helpful with dietary needs. Whatever your restrictions or requirements are, they will take care of you with kindness. 

5) The food is good. I can’t believe how fresh everything was. And delicious, healthy, and satisfying to boot. 

 

Caprese Salad
 
I, for one, will definitely be frequenting this gem much more often. After all, on the same block is The Classic Wine Seller, and around the corner are many of my long-time favorite shops, including Fifi’s, The Jeweler’s Workbench, and Twigs & Leaves

Lafayette on Lexington

“Making my way downtown…” Wait, what happened to The Local Taco?

The hipster texicana locale has been jazzed up and taken over by Lafayette, featuring authentic Creole and Cajun cuisine inspired by “La Louisiane.”

The maĆ®tre d’ is lovely. The interior is modern and open. The patio is clean, partially roofed, with a perfect view of Lexington Ave for the people watcher in all of us.

The water is a relief from Asheveille’s Summer heat. The cocktail menu was libated- I mean liberated- from the French Quarter. The classics are well crafted, personally opting for a mimosa, which was delightfully more bitter than most.

Like sister venues Le Creperie and Bouchon, Lafayette is welcoming and accommodating for those with food sensitivities, including gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and vegan needs.

I tried the crab crepe with a side of dirty rice. The crepe is well balanced sweet, spicy, and flavor nuances dancing across the palate. The dirty rice is traditionally gamey and oh-so-filling.

For dessert? Bananas Foster. I’ll let you know if it’s just as yummy. (It smells heavenly).

 

Tony’s Tip: Also order Beignets to dip in the excess rum sauce for a decadent diabetic coma.