Corey Ortiz_Photo by Valerie AnselmeBy Yemi Sekoni, Valerie Langlais & Pleshette Vonner

It was a three-day event that included an industry soiree, a Style Lab, and ten runway shows.  Featuring a range of talent and creative innovation, the fashion presentations included looks for both men and women.

The first ever Noir Fashion Week Boston started of with an intimate Industry Mixer on March 17 at SAVVOR Restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts.  The mixer included models, several participating vendors and designers, photographers and some members of the press.

Founder/President, Stanley DeSarmes and Vice President/Creative Director, James Mason, were both there to meet and greet, and express their appreciation to the attendees.

For the next two days – March 18 and 19 – the runway shows were held at the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge, M.A..  Doors opened at 7:00 each night and twelve vendors displayed and sold their wares prior to the shows.  Around 8:00 p.m., the shows began and ran in quick succession with a featured designer closing each night around 9:00 pm.

This debut event for Noir Fashion Week Boston featured Corey Ortiz, Norie Noun Lloyd Hall, Kelly Gustafson, Jasmine Chen and Earl Battle on Day 1; Stephanie Raymond, Nellie Theroux, Khari Linton and Avari Thomas on Day 2.Jasmine Chen Day 1 - Photo by Bob Flowers

Sponsoring the event were A Maven’s World, Pyramid Sound Inc., Hint Water, Nuru Guru, SAVVOR Restaurant and Lounge and First Aid-Shot Therapy

Corey Ortiz opened the show with a sophisticated line of bold black and white print pieces that included ultra-cropped tops, harem pants, as well as some long and short skirts and dresses. Taking a very geometric approach, Ortiz featured a cleverly cut hem and waist line, while fearlessly playing with an interesting mix of stripes, hounds tooth, chevron and polka dots,

Norie Noun took the runway next with a line up of knitted dresses. This unique collection was well executed with a variety of large and small cable knitting, ribbing, and built-in cut outs that kept the looks fun and on trend.

Lloyd Hall featured ready-to-wear separates largely suitable for the professional woman. From  the soft button-down blouse paired with flat-front straight-leg pants, or the grey three-quarter length pant jump suit, these looks could be mixed and matched in an endless number of ways.  Bringing a touch of technology to the runway, Hall’s final look was a breath-taking floor-length pale blue dress with built-in lights that lit up and glowed as the lights in the showroom were turned down.

Featuring the first men’s wear line for the week, Kelly Gustafson brought a dark, yet fresh, edginess to the runway.  Incorporating zippers, chains, knits, with slouchy tops and pants, the male cast of models donned combat boots, and edgy makeup. With a mix of fabrics, the assortment of textures gave this a collection a vibrant feel; a stimulating addition to the overall show.

In direct contrast to the line up before her, Jasmine Chen presented an ultra-feminine collection in yellow and blue florals and pastels, super short baby-doll dresses, and beautifully cut pea coats in colors that brought a light and airy feel to the overall compilation. Chen’s presentation included a array of evening wear that incorporated an orange floor-length fish-tail skirt and cropped halter top, a sparkling yellow mullet skirt and a deep blue velvet gown with sparkled embroidery.

Earl Battle Day 1_Photo by Bob FlowersThe featured designer, for the first night, was Earl Battle who showed on both days.  Presenting his women’s wear collection, the cocktail dresses and gowns incorporated embellishments and daring cutouts that exposed a fair amount of skin while still leaving much to the imagination.  Battle had something for every age – from the youthful to the more mature, in equal blends of sheer and solid, sparkly and shiny.

Day 2 started with Earl Battle’s menswear collection, exuding an understated coolness in muted shades and timeless patterns.  With a nod to urban fashion, the models looked very hip walking the runway in relaxed knitwear, chevron sweaters and draped overcoats.

Vivid jewel tones energized the collection by Nellie Theroux; and her intricate craftsmanship set this designer apart.  Beautiful color and pattern combinations made each garment a work of art.  Architectural elements were added using tiered ruffles on some of the dresses.   Hand painted flowers on the train of the lilac gown made the finale piece worthy of a fairy tale!

Designer Khari Linton showed Noir Fashion Week the future of men’s fashion.  Keeping a simple color palette of cream, black and Marsala red, the collection oozed of masculinity.  Richly textured fabrics were tailored into relaxed-fit pants and tops.  Jackets were structured and visionary in design. This is how modern, fashionable men want to dress: comfortable and sophisticated.

Showing for the second time this week, Jasmine Chen exhibited cool, neutral fabrics crafted into innovative silhouettes.  The designer used subtle and interesting details to give personality to each of her looks.  Tone-on-tone fringe draped asymmetrically across the bust kept blouses (both black and white) from looking generic; cream-colored trim highlighted a grey, tweed two-piece dress.  A cute, black romper was made cocktail-worthy with careful pleating and a cinched waist.

The grand finale of Noir Fashion Week Boston was A St. Cole Leone by Avari Thomas.  The designer showed her penchant for unique silhouettes and vivid color.  Beautiful, graphic prints adorned dresses, tops and pants.  The garments were as versatile as they were sophisticated.  The fun shift dress in blue, white, tan and black could easily go from office to dinner.  A candy colored striped blouse with scarf attachment was both elegant and sexy.  The elongated jackets would look chic in any setting.

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