Independent Designer Runway Event Shows Off Fashion Forward Threads

The Bellevue Collection kick started its fashion week last Wednesday with their first ever Independent Designer Runway Show. The show featured eight local designers who submitted their work to a panel back in June where over the following months they would compete and be judged for a prize of $5,000 that would go towards furthering their business. The competitors were joined by two Seattle based designers who earlier that year had appeared as contenders on NBC’s Fashion Star, Lizzie Parker and Lisa Vian Hunter.

Lizzie Parker, known for her fashion-forward “workable” wardrobe, set the bar high when her latest creations opened the show. In true Parker style, her collection consisted of asymmetrical lines, rich colors and layers that complimented the form rather than hiding it. Soft cottons and cashmere guarantee comfort and the cut and design gives a classy flare to a casual look, making Parker’s line a must-have for this autumn.

Jessica Park made quite the stir with Ampersand As Apostrophe’s collection of handbags and accessories. Zippers, buffalo hide and beautiful bold colors were the perfect combination to give her bags a great tough, yet bohemian appearance with accessories that incorporated brass and recycled rubber. Part rustic, part chic, Ampersand As Apostrophe is a fantastic finishing touch to any outfit by taking a few design elements and refining them rather than adding to them.

Masha Osoianu was pure elegance, giving her clothing a sexy an almost vintage touch to both casual and night-out ensembles. The color palette is soft, relying heavily on neutrals and ensures to be a flattering look for any skin tone. The silk garments with hand-knit rayon elements gave a sexy slink that harkened back to the roaring twenties. Masha’s collection is sleek and sensual and whether you’re sipping a cocktail or a latte, you’re bound to draw attention.

Francisco Hernandez left us swooning with his latest from Built For Man. His designs showed us not only are leather pants in this fall but make the perfect contrast to soft knits. Sleek and lightweight sweaters made with 100% Pima cotton, long black coats of knit and baby alpaca, woven scarves and arm warmers— with Built for Man in their closet, the men of Seattle will certainly be the coziest, if not the sexiest thing you snuggle up to this season.

Carole McClellan’s MO has always been to take fur and leather pieces completely apart and recycle and repurpose them into contemporary configurations. When she premiered her newest line the night of the show, she did not disappoint. Ensembles not for the fashionably shy, every piece made a bold statement. From full length leather gloves to a regal dress with a fur over-skirt that gave the piece phenomenal movement, the collection capitalized on neutral colors. Fierce and chic, if you’re wearing Carole McClellan this season, you’ll be taking no prisoners.

The latest from KateS Mensah started by bringing a new flare to the little black dress with both textured and sheer fabric, and closed her set with a bang by using brightly colored silks that emulated the sensuality and passion of the women wearing them. KateS Mensah has always been a line that’s conscious of the female form and with the pieces showcased in the runway show, it’s clear women will not only feel luxurious in them but comfortable. Chic, stylish and modern, this collection is for the femme fatale in all of us that’s just waiting for the right special occasion to strut her stuff.

Patricia Raskin had us raring our engines for latest handbags from Anne Sylvain. Having drawn her inspiration by the sleek style of luxury sports cars, Raskin has incorporated rich colors and the finest in Ostrich and Alligator leather. The variation in texture is perfect; coupling both shiny and matte, just enough to shake up the uniformity but still maintain a streamline kind of style. Neat, compact and perfect for the woman on the go with no time for extra baggage, Anne Sylvain’s latest will be zooming off the shelves almost as quickly as the cars that inspired them.

Banchong Douangphrachanh introduced us to a line that almost highlighted the broodier side of Seattle with Bd Homme’s autumn wear. Utilizing a darker palette, the collection had both a stylish and masculine feel and was incredibly practical for Seattle in the fall: water resistant wool coats to keep him dry and cozy warm knits to protect against the brisk winds of the season. What really surprised and impressed, however, was a blazer made out of an unlikely fabric: neoprene. Typically reserved for things like scuba diving, neoprene is an easy wring-out-to-dry kind of fabric which makes this piece perfect for the weather-conscious Seattle man.

Olga Szwed’s La Belle Reve, however, was truly the belle of the ball. Nothing short of regal, La Belle Reve focuses heavily on special occasion wear that accentuates the female body. Silk mesh that complimented the skin that showed beneath, silk charmeuse that draped off the body like dream – all topped off with finishing touches like pearls or vintage lace. Though for all the beauty and absolute finery, the prestige of the collection by far was a chiffon trumpet silhouette wedding gown with cascading ruffles and pearl detailing around the neckline. Classy, graceful and elegant, La Belle Reve’s fall collection is sure to take your breath away.

The final act of an all-around amazing show was the grand finale of Lisa Vian Hunter. Inspired by vintage design, the collection revitalized fashion we recognized by using fabric we didn’t. From a dress that looked almost gold leafed, to a Jackie Onassis jacket and dress ensemble made of jacquard fabric, every individual look was simultaneously classic and extraordinary. Rich reds and both soft and vibrant pinks carry the color theme, embodying the sweet and sassy feminine feel of the whole collection. Like most of Lisa Vian Hunter, this fall collection is for the stylish woman who knows what she wants and how to get it.

The evening was exciting and inspiring but like all good things, eventually had to come to an end. The crowd erupted into applause as the prize of $5,000 went to none other than Carole McClellen who not only had produced beautiful pieces for both men and women, but had consistently proven excellence through the months leading up to the show– even when stepping outside of her comfort zone.

While the event was certainly a first and a show of this high production value had never been attempted previously with Independent Designers, it goes without saying that the event was a success, and will be greatly anticipated in on-coming years.

About Kiri Callaghan

Kiri Callaghan is a published author and expert dabbler. While making her way through written word, she has also developed a talent and passion for acting, directing, film, photography, singing and even some amateur clothing and costume design. A strong advocate of the "I'll try anything once" principle, Kiri is thrilled to explore the local lifestyle; including fashion, fitness, food and more! Find her books here If you'd like your brand, event, or business considered for an editorial or upcoming feature, contact us


  1. […] Independent Designer Runway Event Shows Off Fashion Forward … On October 3, 2012 From Google Blogs Beauty Searches […]

  2. […] dresses by Kate S. Mensah. We first saw her work at Bellevue Fashion Week’s Independent Designer Runway Show and fell in love with her silks. Her Fall 2012 collection, “THE VISIONAIRE,” is luxe in reds, […]

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