By TERRY TRIMMER
Senior Fashion Writer
Tulsa’s fashionable masses showed up in sell out proportions to the latest offering of Runway Tulsa on Oct. 13. It was the third annual production for this high-profile event and the fourth full runway production produced by Productions, which started four years ago with the show known as Tulsa Fashion Week.
Presenting sponsor Lexus of Tulsa hosted a reception in the large enclosed tent that was located on the grounds of Utica Square, also a major sponsor.
Entering the tent from the valet station quickly provided a transporting experience to all attendees who openly commented on the fresh experience the tent provided over other years indoors (Cox Center). That was the intention of the promoters. Fashion is always changing and uplifting, so the events that showcase them need to reflect that.
The excitement was immediate once the show started. Following emcee Tara McClure’s (dress provided by Saks, jewelry by Moody’s) opening, the first model began the runway parade that would keep delivering collection after collection.
The first half featured emerging designers that delivered beyond their “emerging” moniker. Sometimes this is a slot filled mostly with local designers, but the reputation of the show has grown to a national status that attracted designers from across America.
Tabitha Andelin, of Los Angeles, made her first visit to Tulsa for the show and was the first to grace the runway. Her full collection found its place nicely between fast-fashion and couture. After the show, Tabitha commented, “It is an honor to show along side so many talented designers! Tulsa left a lasting impression, so I just might even have to pay her a visit again.”
Kara Rainey, an Oklahoma State University graduate working in Tulsa, presented her collection titled “Equilibrium” that expresses women’s strengths and vulnerabilities. Saraya Storm of Tulsa has been on the Runway Tulsa radar for a while and was an early choice for this show. Her Fall/Winter ’18 collection featured fluid silhouetting and bold patterns.
Rounding out the emerging portion of the show was Crystal Emerson, currently a design major at and living in Oklahoma City. A two-time winner at for “Most Outstanding Design” garnered the interest of promoters, but her professional showing only proved she is a designer to watch.
At the break, front row s and all the fashionable attendees mingled and selfies and red carpet photos were prevalent. The Swag Bags for first and second row ticket holders far surpassed what is the norm for such events. Two bags awaited on front row chairs and a tag on those bags allowed those recipients to accept an even larger bag of gifts as they left.
The second half brought the featured designers to the runway and they did not disappoint. Every Runway Tulsa has an element of high fashion with touches of exotic and edgy. Stevie Boi, of Maryland, provided the edge with his showing entitled “Pink.”
Next up was Ghana born designer, now living in Atlanta via Minneapolis, Jacqueline Addison whose line goes by the name Akua Gabby. The entire collection was stunning and drew the loudest acknowledgement of the audience all night. African prints beautifully crafted to fashionable styles made the entire presentation exciting. The light brown toned finale dress was a “princess dress” suitable for a Royal gala and brought attendees to their feet.
Presenting his line called Bizarre Couture was a Tulsan who first showed last year as an emerging designer. Ariel Lev was the first to be invited to the 2018 show because Designer Coordinator Hope Tomorrow made the formal request backstage at the 2017 show. Fresh off his hit appearance, Lev immediately went to work on a line of designs that were made both from 3D printing and repurposed materials. His design that was created from industrial straps was chosen to grace the Runway Tulsa 2018 poster. The collection stood nicely on its own visual credentials and possibly had many not knowing or caring that such a garment came from a printer or from repurposed materials – a very impressive and creative presentation.
Finishing the night of fine fashion was the Nha Khanh collection of Khanh Nguyen from Viet Nam, headquartered in Dallas with marketing and P.R. from New York City. Her collection was crafted with meticulous detail that brought forth elegance with an edge.
The polishing touch that dazzled along with the designs was the highly professional presentation of the models. Over 80 models participated in this year’s Runway Tulsa events and the consistent level of quality was outstanding in itself.
Future plans for Runway Tulsa are currently in the development stage but the city’s repeated high interest, coupled with growing national attention in this annual production, has made this the Tulsa fashion event of the year.