Tucson goes vogue for weekend events

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Courtesy of Christina Cornwell


Christina Cornwell, a local designer, poses for a studio portrait. Cornwell is one of the designers who will be featured in this year's Tucson Fashion Week.

Tucson Fashion Week hit the catwalk on Thursday for a four-day run featuring local and international designers, boutiques and businesses sure to stomp out a fierce pose on the weekend scene.

Four different runway shows will span the extended weekend, including such retailers as Buffalo Exchange, Loop Jean Company, Posh Boutique and W Boutique, which will include designs by Christina Cornwell, Laura Tanzer, Al Tucci, Theo Doro and the creator of Tucson Fashion Week, Elizabeth Albert.

Albert, creator of the fashion line CandyStrike, will showcase her redesigned gowns from past collections, as well as new ones that have an apocalyptic theme.

The venues include The Rialto Theatre, where a runway completion launch party had kicked off the events on Thursday. The runway challenge involved participating designers creating Colkitt&Co architecturally inspired garments and was judged by UA alumnus Nathan Lee Colkitt. Buffalo Exchange ended the night with a presentation.

The second night, a Garden Party hosted at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, will showcase the major retailers in an interactive fashion show, a Hidden Garden fashion show featuring local, regional and international designers, as well as unique fashion exhibits.

At the Fox Tucson Theatre in downtown, the penultimate night of Fashion Week will debut the Project Runway crossover to Tucson fashion hosted by Camerone Parker and display the designs of Bert Keeter, Korto Momolu, Daniel Esquivel, Mila Hermanovski, and Peach Carr.

A new addition to the event, the fourth and final day will be a mixer at the Playground Bar & Lounge, where guests can mingle with designers and browse their creations for a charity sponsored by the Tucson Ladies Council.

Featured Arizona Runway designer Christina Cornwell said her collection gives average women a chance to feel and be glamorous while enhancing the proper ladies they truly are.

“My motto for my label is ‘Wear Pretty… Feel Pretty… Be Pretty,’” said Cornwell, whose collection was inspired by the fantasies of living the royal life in London.

Cornwell said her line gives young women an opportunity to make positive choices through fashion and clothing since, in today’s society, teenagers typically confuse “sexy” with “pretty.”

“Pretty Lady Apparel is about embracing the proper lady inside each woman,” Cornwell said.

Laura Tanzer is also a featured runway designer and said her collection is titled “Chiaroscuro,” which is Italian for light and dark.“Inspiration comes from many sources — a mood and some fabrics, a ribbon, a picture.” Tanzer said. “This collection is steeped in mood and form and light and dark, thus Chiaroscuro.”

Tanzer will present her collection at the Garden Party.

Having designed costumes for the UA School of Theatre, Film and Television for the last 18 years, Al Tucci knows how to capture audiences with visually appealing designs.

A very passionate designer, Tucci has created costumes for UA productions such as “Hamlet” and “Cabaret.”

“Costumes are about characters and plays, while fashion is for the public,” said Tucci, a longtime director of the program. Tucci’s costumes and other designs will be featured on the third night of Fashion Week at the Fox Tucson Theatre.

International Polish designer Theo Doro takes her organically conceptualized designs from the history of fashion, movies and fairy tales.

“Sometimes, I am inspired by a piece of beautiful fabric, which I find somewhere in my mom’s closet, then I see the whole collection at once,” Doro said. “And sometimes, there is a song, like ‘Porcelain Doll,’ a lovely Polish song from my childhood, about a doll of porcelain-music box, which stands alone on a dressing table.”

The song “Porcelain Doll,” which inspires her Tucson Fashion Week collection, will be heard during the show.

The Collection includes modules to combine into a single silhouette, as well as sensual cocktail dresses and unique wedding dresses for the bride who is bored with white, always accessorized with necklaces, brooches and headwear.

“I would say I am an old-fashioned girl,” Doro said. “I love old movies. I love songs from last century. This world makes me feel good, makes me nostalgic, but in a nice way.”

Sure to be a spectacle of trendy proportions, Tucson Fashion Week will be attracting fashionistas as fast as they can strut in their Jimmy Choo stilettos.

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Follow Alexandra Paletta on Twitter.


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