Market Visit: StyleWeek Northeast and Imperial Pearl in Providence, R.I., Part II



My schedule for the weekend at StyleWeek Northeast by Imperial kicked off with my arrival in Providence on Friday

Editor’s note: This is a continuation of yesterday’s post.

I checked into the Omni Hotel on West Exchange Street late on Feb. 27, Style Week schedule in hand and ready to meet my fellow bloggers. Our itinerary mapped out by StyleWeek founder Rosanna Ortiz’s team was a nice one, starting off with a wine tasting and dinner at Gasbarro’s Wines nearby (incredible selection of wines, and not just the common stuff) soon after check-in. Gasbarro’s was one of a number of local business sponsors rounded up by Ortiz; others included Pane e Vino, the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, Zipcar, Delsie Catering & Events, The Spa at the Providence Biltmore, Garde de la Mer, and the ProvidenceG, as well as a variety of goody-bag contributors. All these firms helped to make the entire event (and weekend for guests like me) a success by making us a comfortable.

After a short ride over to the Gasbarro’s, we were greeted with glasses of prosecco in a brightly lit typical-looking liquor store (where this Philly girl buys her vino). At the front of the store adjacent to plate-glass windows facing the street were two long tables set up for dinner. Gasbarro’s and the restaurant next door, Pane e Vino, collaborate regularly to offer patrons a unique experience where restaurant servers bring over courses of delicious food made to complement specific wine selections. (What a blast! I wish I could experience this in my home state.)

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The spread at Gasbarro’s in collaboration with Pane e Vino next door

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Owner Mark Gasbarro explaining wine selections

At dinner, I sat with several new fashion blogger friends. I met Elizabeth of @RoyaleDiary, Celina of @TrendsandTolstoy, Alina (@Alina2189) of the Closet Crush, and Liz of @PSItsFashion. All have blogs and Instagram accounts that focus on fashion in general, not jewelry. That was a cool experience! I’ve not really had the opportunity to meet this variety of blogger—ones who post outfit pictures and lifestyle shots of where they go and what they wear. Some have impressive numbers of followers, too (Alina has 42,300 on Instagram). The common thread among all: great photos (especially @TrendsandTolstoy) that glamorize their lives and style choices. You can even shop some through their Instagrams by way of LiketoKnow.it (more on that in a future post).

After dinner, we headed over to the ProvidenceG, the venue for the shows, to see four designers debut their fall 2016 collections. Since I already have an affinity for beautiful objects, it wasn’t hard to appreciate the clothes. Many were lovely, some weren’t my taste, and others seemed to be made for a specific market (read: skinny girls), but the runway shows—and my front-row seat, thanks to Imperial—made the experience fantastic. And being a big shopper, I really enjoyed seeing the offerings in this manner (on models walking a runway) to gauge how the pieces might work—or not—on me personally. And most fabulous of all, I loved the opportunity to see lesser-known designers (my passion in clothes and jewelry). I love wearing unique pieces that I know others won’t find elsewhere, and here (and at Saturday morning’s brunch, which I’ll dish on tomorrow) I had an opportunity to meet these clothing makers firsthand.

Accessories didn’t really play a role in the shows I saw, though Imperial supplied several artists with faux pearls used in frocks shown earlier in the week. Plus, there was another piece, a jumpsuit at the entrance, that was bedazzled with faux Tahitians. Imperial’s name, however, was everywhere, and many of its team members took up residence in the front row at the shows. (If you didn’t see their nametags on the chairs, you could easily pick them out of the crowd by the fabulous pearl jewelry they wore. Jewelry people tend to stand out.) While the point of the shows was to celebrate the clothes, hand-selected jewels would have taken the attire to a whole other level and helped guests better visualize complete outfits for themselves. What would have made the affair absolutely perfect? Buying opportunities at the end; after all, you have a captive audience of fashion lovers so why not allow them to purchase what they love right away when it’s top of mind?

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Faux Tahitians on a jumpsuit made by Jeffrey Dickerson

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View of the La Fille Colette show from my seat

The after-party took place next door. Olivia Culpo showed up for pictures, even mugging with some fans for selfies, and libations flowed. Kathy Grenier and I called it an early night, leaving around 9:30ish, while some of my fellow bloggers partied into the night. I had a long week in New York City at work and had driven up that day, so I was ready to retire and refresh for the next day’s events. To be continued. 

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Olivia Culpo after the fashion shows (photo by Sara Zarrella Photography)

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Kathy Grenier of Imperial and the Cultured Pearl Association of America and me at the Friday night shows

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