Market Visit: StyleWeek Northeast and Imperial Pearl, Part III



Brunch, a meet-and-greet, a manicure, and more fashion shows finished out a fun weekend

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

On Saturday morning I attended a brunch sponsored by Delsie Catering & Events in which bloggers had the opportunity to meet some of the shows’ clothing designers. Interestingly enough, I didn’t see any of the bloggers—though I could have missed them—checking out the clothes and their makers firsthand, but the journalist in me made a beeline over to them to inspect my favorite pieces and to chat.

I met Janet Howard, whose über-feminine frocks, many with fur, were made with curvy (aka plus-size) girls in mind. Howard is also a partner in the Martini Factory, which produces garment lines for others. I loved her bias-cut fox fur and silk coat that had a big elegant look but was light as feather to wear. So gorgeous! Some of her pieces even had little crystal and pearl embellishments, keeping a jewelry-like element in the mix. Next I met Susan Zemaitis of Evolue Apparel, whose attire was often adorned with faux leather featuring cutouts (I want the dress she is holding in the photo), and next to her was young Jeffrey Dickerson, whose supercute zipper-accented top and skirt will be in my wardrobe at some point! The prices for pieces (Dickerson was still sorting out pricing but thought his skirt might retail for about $109) were unbelievable considering these folks were stitching them themselves—they weren’t being made in some overseas factory. That’s what delighted me the most was meeting the artists themselves, like when I meet the maker of a piece of fine jewelry. This is their craft and art, and you can take home a piece of it to enjoy. Also comforting: knowing that you are supporting someone’s dream and not just tossing a few more bucks into the coffers of some giant international corporation that cranks out clothes en masse in a potential sweatshop situation.

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Janet Howard of her eponymous clothing line and of the Martini Factory holding pieces I loved

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Susan Zemaitis of Evolue Apparel with a dress I was crushing on

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Jeffrey Dickerson with an outfit that will join my wardrobe at some point

Afterwards the bloggers were treated to a spa day at the Biltmore Hotel (I got a much-needed manicure) and later on, dinner at Garde de la Mer, an amazing-looking seafood restaurant that I didn’t attend only because I wanted to spend time with Kathy Grenier of Imperial. At our dinner, we talked about opportunities for pearls and jewelry in general in the fashion arena.

“The world is so much more social and aware, and the lines between lifestyle and personal expression are so blurred, so it’s important to plant the message of thinking about pearl,” Grenier explained. “And anytime we have the opportunity to place pearls in front of audience that we want to always attract—especially younger people—it makes perfect sense. The relationship between pearl and fashion is there, and it’s not relegated to a certain time or place, like a wedding that’s so serious. This is our opportunity to show how pearls are so appropriate for every occasion. And when we work with designers of all ages who are speaking to people in a way that is awesome and edgy and through jaw-dropping inspired fashion, what better way is there to reach that younger customer who is paying attention to fashion? And because of the diversity in pearl designs that are available, we’ll have them as customers for life.”

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Loose faux pearls from Imperial that were given to Jeffrey Dickerson to adorn a jumpsuit shown on yesterday’s blog (photo courtesy of Rosanna Ortiz, StyleWeek Northeast founder)

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A leather coat studded with faux mabe pearls from Imperial made by Janet Howard at her runway show at StyleWeek Northeast by Imperial (photo courtesy of Imperial)

Saturday night we attended the last three fashion shows, and there was another after-party. On Sunday morning, there was a final brunch with Imperial, but since I had just spent time with Kathy and had to drive home to Philadelphia that day to get in front of my TV by 6 p.m. for the Oscar red carpet coverage, I skipped out on what was likely another fabulous meal. The weekend was such a treat and a great opportunity to meet with folks on the fashion side of industry, and my mind is working overtime on all the different ways that jewelry and clothing can continue to work better together. I’d love to see some more jewelers (there was one exhibiting her wares at the Saturday-morning blogger brunch) take part in StyleWeek Northeast in some way because jewelry exists to complement clothes. I’d also love to (selfishly) see a sales component so attendees (read me) could take home some favorite pieces. Possibilities for the future? That’s up to the StyleWeek Northeast team, which has done the emerging design community in Rhode Island a huge service in creating this opportunity for exposure. 

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Pearl earring gifts given to the fashion bloggers by Imperial

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