Greater Tulsa Reporter
MEDIA NIGHT: Los Angeles-based designer Alexis Monsanto poses with models from the Linda Layman Agency during the Runway Tulsa Media Night, held at the showroom of presenting sponsor Lexus of Tulsa.
GTR Newspapers photo
Tulsa put its most fashionable foot forward when Runway Tulsa kicked off on Sept. 14 in the stylish showroom of presenting sponsor Lexus of Tulsa and revealed what was to come. Fabulous couture designs, statuesque models, luxury cars and a very fashionable audience were all on display.
Abby Kurin of the Tulsa Office of Music, Arts, Film and Culture read Mayor Dewey Bartlett, Jr.’s Proclamation that declared Sept. 14 – 18 as Tulsa Runway Week.
A Lexus automobile was raffled off to benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation and Marc Labonte of Bixby was the winner. Following that, the ceremony climaxed with the unveiling of the all new Lexus LC. The unveiling included a dramatic entrance of models in stunning designs from the new collection of L.A. designer Alexis Monsanto. The ensuing photo op gathered all the guests and photographers around to document this stylish blending of fashion and automobile designs.
Runway Tulsa co-chairs Chera Kimiko (Runway Tulsa emcee), Michelle Evans (2015 Mrs. America) and Cindy Morrison (SocialVention) hosted this red carpet evening for this full-house audience.
The following evening, the festivities moved to the always fashionable Utica Square where participating merchants provided in-store parties while attendees went store to store to have their “Passport to Fashion” books stamped for a chance to win prizes later in the center’s garden. The garden was the site of a fashion show and featured designs from Utica Square boutiques.
The stage was then set for Saturday night’s Runway Finale at the Cox Business Center. The VIP reception inside the Assembly Hall was packed with Tulsa personalities and fashionistas alike.
Promptly at the announced starting time, emcee Chera Kimiko welcomed guests while wearing an Alexis Monsanto original gown. While mentioning different well-known Tulsans in the audience she came upon front row guest Issac Hanson of the musical trio from Tulsa and stopped to acknowledge him and his wife.
Before starting the show, Chera invited co-chair Michelle Evans from backstage for a couple of comments. All the Runway Tulsa co-chairs were extremely involved promoting the entire event, but Michelle took it even further and walked the runway for both New York designer Caycee Black and LA designer Monsanto.
The show began with the collection of 18-year-old Grant Karpin of Kansas City. It was his runway debut and started the show with a more edgy display that explored the human experience of gender on a molecular level. Grant was chosen to present at Runway Tulsa as part of its goal to encourage and nurture young talent.
Another mission of RW-T is to feature the best of local design talent and give them the opportunity to present in the most professional way possible. Tulsan Nikki Warren proved she deserved her place on this runway. Her brand, MOCHA Butterfly, offered chic designs that are expressive in both professional and casual situations.
Another Tulsan, Kenya Carter presented her K. Nicole collection of feminine designs for the girl of style, making use of beautifully mixed fabrics of lace and shine.
New York designer Caycee Black brought fun along with her fashion to the show. Presenting her Dark Carnival collection, she masterfully mixes her fashions with amazing proportion play for a fearless approach to dressing. Always stylish with her runway presentation, Caycee’s finale walk with her models can be one of the more entertaining moments of a show with her over the top acknowledgement followed by a gleeful skipping return to back stage.
Celebrity designer Joshua Christensen from Project Runway Season Nine presented his Sugarcoated collection. A menswear concept collection that made use of lighthearted pastels and playful designs.
The runway then prepared for the presentation of Alexis Monsanto. A masterful couture collection inspired by the many looks of James Bond fashions. The extended runway show dramatically featured diverse looks from retro swimsuits to jet setting gala couture all leading up to a climatic golden girl finish.
Plans for 2017 are already in the works by SRO Productions of Tulsa, Inc., the producers of Runway Tulsa.