Providence’s Runway: StyleWeek Northeast

The biannual StyleWeek Northeast, better known by its social media friendly name, #SWNE2016, began in 2009 with the intent to connect the community, buyers and press with emerging talent. The February 26 show presented designers Nick Pini, La Fille Colette, Angelica Timas and Alexandra Nam at the Providence G.

Attendees were dressed extraordinarily well, wearing the average person’s rent check at the tip of their toes with either Christian Louboutin’s or Valentino heels. Most fashion show goers arrived with a heavy, but well-applied, face of makeup.

All of the staff presented themselves similarly to what you’d see at a Mac Cosmetics counter—black outfits, a bold lip, air-brushed skin and runway-ready eye makeup. After checking in, I made my way down the hall toward the runway room. Accent lighting shifted between shades of blue and red, continuing Providence G’s minimalist aesthetic. Simple but grandiose crystal chandeliers illuminated the space. It was bright! You could have seen the proverbial speck of dirt across the room, but it wouldn’t have been there.

The show started with La Fille Collette; mainstream music remixed for the fashion event played in the background as models made their way onto the runway with inch-long blue eyelashes. The choice of makeup for the models overshadowed La Fille Collette’s somewhat simple designs.

Immediately following the first show was an intermission during which I and many other showgoers had the obligatory $10 shot of vodka mixed with club soda, one of the large variety of adult beverages available.

A few photo ops later, the chandeliers came beaming back on and Angelica Timas presented her line usually consisting of prominent ballooned hips and crisp seams. Angelica Timas definitely had the more beautifully eccentric models of the night. Every model could adequately replace Milla Jovovich in the 5th Element.

Alexandra Nam, who has designed an outfit worn by Lady Gaga, has a style that incorporates a lot of geometric and blunt edges. She featured a lot of structured coats and one item with a structured frame.

Nick Pini and Amy Beth Photo by:
On Right: Nick Pini and Amy Beth
Photo by: Gustavo Leon

Nick Pini, the final designer of the night and seven-time participant in StyleWeek Northeast, thrives on and celebrates the renewal of the California Girl concept. The California Girl is “Driving with the top down, palm trees in the sun, feeling like you’re famous and living while we’re young.” He uses deep ivory colors and occasionally black textiles on sun-kissed models with lengthy legs, emphasizing his concept of The California Girl. His choice in models with a dewy complexion, long legs and California sun-kissed tans successfully displayed his collection. His latest season showcases decorative elements such as cruelty-free ostrich feathers, seashells, brass chains, tassels, Swarovski crystals and sequins. Pini ultimately plans go a step further a produce vegan versions of his ensembles.

Later, I had a chat with model Amy Beth, born and raised in Rhode Island, who caught my eye with her trademark appearance consisting of a shaven head and an elaborate ensemble of tattoos.

Photo by: Myke Yeager
Photo by: Myke Yeager

I was given the opportunity to dispel false truths about the modeling industry in the conversation I had with her. With four years of experience in the modeling industry, she said, “You can’t have an ego in this business and expect to last. You can gain fame and notoriety, but the second nobody wants to work with you … you’ll just fade away.”

It is important to understand with this industry, much like in film and dance, you are your own product and bare the responsibility of keeping your product desired by the masses. “Every single interaction should be approached like it could make or break you,” she explained. “I like to pretend sometimes that I’m talking to Anna Wintour whenever I meet someone new, because you honestly never know who is who.”

Given my fascination with the modeling industry, I was curious about a few things. For example, what does a model think of while making their way down the runway? Amy Beth explained that it requires an active effort to avoid eye contact and refrain from giggling when making her way down the runway. Amy Beth lightheartedly told me, “Local designer Kent Stetson has made it his personal mission to make me laugh every time I hit the runway.”

Throughout the night, I was genuinely surprised by how polite and friendly everyone involved was. Friday night was a successful and exciting event.

StyleWeek Northeast ran from February 23 – 27, 2016 at the Providence G on 100 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI. Look for it next year around the same time.