[intro-text size=”25px”]A week-long series of events marked this year’s Fashion Week Cleveland, an annual event held all over the city to promote Cleveland’s ambition, talent and reception to high fashion.[/intro-text]

Fashion Week both kicked off and ended at The Vault nightclub at The 9 with high-energy dance parties where models, designers and staff invited guests to celebrate. Mid-week events included an outdoor film showing at Crocker Park, a retail spotlight on the Tre Sorelle Boutique in Little Italy, and a “Night At The Museum” at the Western Reserve Historical Society featuring a pop-up boutique, cash bar, and a glimpse at fashion history with the help of well-educated museum curators.

The grand finale of events occurred Saturday, May 7th at the Arcade downtown. Fashion Week Cleveland’s keynote speaker was Fern Mallis, the creator of New York Fashion Week and former VP of IMG Fashion. Mallis’s address was followed by an hour-long black-tie reception at the 1890 Lounge inside The Arcade.

The much-anticipated designer runway shows started at 9 p.m. Victoria Cohen, a native of Westlake and former contestant on Project Runway Junior, was the first designer show to make the catwalk, displaying new items from her personal line, Punx, with eye-catching, unique, but comfortable designs for young urban females. Her co-contestant from Project Runway Junior, Matt Sarafa, was second down the catwalk. His designs featured dark furs and minimalist dresses that would fit right in at a chic Cleveland club. Cincinnati designer Edina Ndebele opted for a futuristic, near-dystopian collection. Many of her designs featured black pleather material and all the models wore futuristic cyclops visor glasses made of piping. Milliners Marta Glazen and Graham Baldwin showed off their vintage hat designs in a variety of styles from bellboy caps to tall velvety top hats. Kent State graduate Jaanai Jones’ collection is best suited for the modern, elegant office, while Cleveland designer Gwyn Strang’s collection is heavily-influenced by throwbacks to the Victorian era. Lissa Marie Krueger and Cybele Pawlowski of Magnolia and Lace Bridal Designs wowed guests with their intricate, well-detailed designs, ending the show with a gorgeous shimmering coral-colored lace ball gown that drew gasps from the audience.

Guests throughout the week of events ranged from every walk of life and age range: a young couple new to Cleveland attending their first Fashion Week to up-and-coming stylists to representatives from the Cleveland Retail Commission. WKYC livestreamed the runway shows featuring models averaging in size from 2-8, not a size zero to be found. Featured designs ranged from the very young to the very mature, from very expensive to budget-friendly. Many of the week’s events were free to attend. Whether you’re just looking to update your style or you’re a hardcore fashionista, Fashion Week Cleveland is for YOU.