Austin Fashion Week | Saturday Night Rundown

It's been over a month since ATX fashion week, so this post reviewing the last night of fashion week is overdue! However, I didn't want to completely miss the chance to share my experience and the awesome Saturday night designers. Below I have a few favorites, plus what I wore that night. 

Best emerging designer for Saturday night goes to Allie Lunt. At 14 years old, and a veteran of Project Runway Junior, Allie is seriously talented. Her clothing reflects her youth with fun pops of hot pink, but the pieces have a sophistication that makes them wearable by women of any age. Part of that is Allie's adherence to modesty in her designs; the sexy details are subtle, sheer lace on the bell bottoms or a perfectly placed back cut out, giving the collection a great refined feel. My favorite piece is naturally the denim jacket with puffy leopard sleeves! I'm sure we will be seeing Allie (and her signature amazing hairstyle!) a lot more in the future. For more information and to shop Allie's collection, click here.

Most eclectic collection of the night goes--with absolutely no competition--to Big Bertha's Paradise Vintage! The collection they sent down the runway was the fashion week equivalent of walking through a vintage shop. There were lots of "Wow, so cool!" moments (aka, black embellished vest) and a few "WTF!" moments (THE hat). This is the true vintage experience, in my opinion. Curiosities and beautiful things all jumbled together with an air of mystery and hidden stories. While this wasn't your typical designed-for-the-runway collection, I liked how it added whimsy and spectacle while showcasing one of Austin's most premiere vintage destinations, Big Bertha's Paradise. To learn more about Big Bertha's, click here! 

My favorite collection of the night was Something by Sonjia. As a habitual wearer of beanies (once I passed Johnny in our cars as he was coming home from work and he called me with frantic concern, "You're wearing a beanie...in June??"), I was feeling the vibe of the collection as soon as the models came out wearing black beanies. The oversized, soft yet edgy feel of the collection was right on point with my style. I loved the subtle geometric prints and the soft teddy sherpa fur elements that I just wanted to wrap myself in. This collection made me wish it was winter, and that is not typical for me! Sonjia is a Project Runway designer, and it's clear that she has innate talent coupled with amazing experience to produce such amazing garments. 

Two of my favorite capsule collections: Masha Osoianu Design and J. Ewing Designs. These were so good, I wish they had showed a full collection! 

Keep scrolling to see what I wore Saturday night + meet my new friends I made at the show, Allen and Jessica! 

The black fringe romper is by Amanda Valentine. I bought it off the rack that night and changed into it! The combat boots are by Free People, the bag is Givenchy and the necklace is Kendra Scott. 

THANK YOU to Rebecca of Mira Visu Photography for all the photos of the weekend, the puppy snuggles, rose and pizza, and a fun weekend hosting me in Austin!! 

#TravelTuesday | Now Sapphire, Cancun

Welcome to a new section on my blog, #TravelTuesday! Johnny and I travel a lot, and seeing the country and the world has always been a huge part of my life, so I want to share my experiences and tips here on Luna Elise! Since I'm just starting this segment, I figured I would go back and talk about some of the many trips I have been on this year! Please bear with me on the photography as I don't have a professional photographer along with me when I travel. To hear about our experience at the Now Sapphire resort in Cancun, scroll down! 

View from our room (Ocean Front Suite)

View from our room (Ocean Front Suite)

Let me preface this review with a disclaimer: If you're in Cancun, nothing is going to be terrible! However, the Now Sapphire definitely had its ups and downs. We were there for a friend's wedding, so this venue was picked for us--giving us a good opportunity to see a different property on Cancun (we always stay at The Excellence Playa Mujeres). Below, I break the property down by my key criteria when going on vacation.

Resort Style/Type

First of all, the Now Sapphire is kid-friendly, which may be a pro or con depending on your preference. This is great for wedding parties and guests or for family trips. The Now Sapphire did a good job balancing kids and adult activities by having "day-camp" for kids and a separate pool + bar for adults. The on-site nightclub was a good addition to give younger adults without children a late night option. Normally, Johnny and I choose adults-only resorts so we were a little wary about Now Sapphire, but I didn't feel--for lack of better words--bombarded by kids like I feared. 

Iguana right outside our building.

Iguana right outside our building.

Resort Grounds

Architecture and interior design always have a special place in my heart, so I am a sucker for a resort/hotel with great design. Commonly, I will spend more to stay in a place that fits my tastes; so design is one of my factors. The Now Sapphire had small but lovely grounds. Hidden pathways twisted through the bamboo connecting the different villas, and boardwalks crossed over shallow rock pools in the lobby. Plenty of animals could be seen right on the grounds from iguanas to some raccoon/cat creature that I still don't know the name of. The beach was cleared of seaweed each morning. The rooms were pretty standard Cancun resort type lodgings--think marble floors, dark wood furniture, white bedding. No complaints there, but also not blown away. Our favorite part was the balcony. Nothing beats an ocean front balcony, and this one had a jacuzzi tub on it as well. Definite plus for us! Overall for design and style on this resort, the lobby and grounds are more impressive than the rooms. 

Views upon arrival. Boardwalks are precarious after tequila shots! 

Views upon arrival. Boardwalks are precarious after tequila shots! 

Location

The Now Sapphire was not very conveniently located to some of the main attractions of Cancun. It is quite far from the Hotel Zone and over an hour drive (through road construction) to reach the docks to go to Isla Mujeres. While we don't go out in the Hotel Zone usually, taking a catamaran to Isla Mujeres is one of our favorite things to do. The long bus ride to and from the docks to do our Isla Mujeres excursion was a real bummer for us. Especially during a short trip, three hours on a bus really eats into vacation time! 

Sunsets on our ocean front balcony--we always spend lots of time on balconies!

Sunsets on our ocean front balcony--we always spend lots of time on balconies!

Food 

On any given day, I love to eat; when I'm on vacation, experiencing new and delicious foods is one of the main ways I explore and have fun. The Now Sapphire gets poor marks in this regard, unfortunately. If you're traveling for the food, this might not be the right resort for you. We did, however, have some truly delicious fresh lobster on Isla Mujeres!

Our best food was off resort, on Isla Mujeres. 

Our best food was off resort, on Isla Mujeres. 

Amenities

The Now Sapphire offered many of the usual resort amenities (pools, spa, tennis, wind surfing, etc). We loved the spa. It was beautifully decorated and offered unique treatments complimentary when you purchase an upgraded room. One of these treatments was hydrotherapy--basically a hangover cure (convenient)! Speaking of hangovers, our wedding group was not super impressed with the pool bars closing down at 5pm or the lack of mini bar selection. This was probably the kid-friendly element coming into play. The wedding planning service (the reason we were there) seemed to have done a really good job. The wedding went smoothly and the reception area by the pool was really gorgeous. 

Isla Mueres 

Isla Mueres 

Summary

The Now Sapphire would be a good choice if you have kids, are traveling on a budget or are planning a bigger destination wedding (40 guests at this one) and want to keep costs down but still have a gorgeous experience. For couples looking for a romantic or luxury experience, this might not fit the bill. However, as I prefaced, it's hard to have a bad time in Cancun--hopefully the review above helps you know if the Now Sapphire is for you! 

Fashion x Austin Fashion Week | Friday Night Overview

Friday night in Austin, Texas--Rebecca and I both sporting outfits we had serendipitously found while out shopping, our hair and makeup was perfection and we had just eaten a most delicious dinner of pizza and rose. In other words, the scene was set for a perfect night, and the designers showcased Friday night of Fashion X Austin held their own! Below, see some of the showcases that made Friday night of fashion week amazing. 

Boudoir Queen

Boudoir Queen was the first designer to take the runway. Immediately just reading the brand name in the program, I knew I would love this designer. Vintage, bedroom inspired garments floated down the runway in a swirl of marabou feathers and velvet. The colors and textures were gorgeous, but my favorite element of the designs were how each garment could tell a story. Shop Boudoir Queen here! 

Harry Rex 

Best ready-to-wear line of the night goes to Harry Rex. The audience was super hyped for this designer, and for good reason. Models on the runway sported camo, leather, and tulle pieces that looked like they were straight off the streets of punk rock London. Britannia ruled the runway for the finale piece complete with a crown! While the pieces were fun and edgy, they were also functional. The line was the epitome of irreverent street style. Many pieces could be dressed up or down. Shop Harry Rex here! 

Style Setter: AJ Bingham 

The crowd went wild for the first menswear set on the runway, featuring pieces from the personal closet of style setter and advocate for children of abuse, AJ Bingham. Crisp suiting was the name of the game for this set. The energy of the male models was on point! 

Hopeless Cause Atelier 

Hopeless Cause Atelier caught my eye as my favorite gowns of the night. Velvet, silk and flowy organza all made their way into this collection in a number of gorgeous gemstone colors and unexpected cuts. My favorite was the flowing emerald green gown worn perfectly by model Carmen Powers (first picture). 

DG Clothes Project 

DG Clothes Project takes most unique concept for the night by featuring SHOES on the runway! Not just any shoes, this collection featured--removable--metallic fringes, pastel pom-poms and neon plumage (kudos to the models for being able to walk in these). 

Lee Merritt Swimwear

One of the main things I enjoyed about Austin Fashion Week is how wearable many of the designs were. Lee Merritt Swimwear was no exception. Instead of making the runway a showcase for elaborate (impractical) designs, Lee Merritt showed a collection of resort wear that had me saying, "I want that. I would wear that." To me, this is really important for swim. You want something sexy, but flattering and comfortable. This line hit that spot on. As Lee says, "Life isn't perfect, but your bikini can be." Order your perfect bikini here. 

The Capsule Collections Pushed the Boundaries...

The capsule collections were HOT for Friday! Lingerie looks and romantic fabrics and prints reigned the runway. The sheer bodice is right on trend with styles seen on the haute couture runways lately (notably Dior). It was done very tastefully here and I'm in favor of this artistic expression! 

Keep scrolling for what I wore Friday night...

Rebecca and I found so many great spots to shoot Friday night. From conventional spots like the red carpet and the reception hall to lucking out and getting to walk the Fashion X Austin runway and getting special access to the rooftop pool + deck! The silver maxi dress I wore is still available in most sizes and on major sale (under $30, seriously!) from Urban Outfitters

Photography: Mira Visu Photo // LIKE Rebecca + Josh on Facebook 

DESIGNERS & MODELS FEATURED IN THESE PHOTOS: If you would like copies of your images, please contact Rebecca through her FACEBOOK PAGE. She would be happy to share images with you. :)

Austin Fashion Week | Thursday Night

Austin, TX is one of my favorite cities. I try to visit whenever I have a reason. Recently I had a really good reason to visit when my application for a media pass went through for Fashion X Austin Fashion Week! It's exciting to see where I can take my blog and bring back experiences to share with my followers! I was especially lucky to bring along my good friend, Rebecca. Not only was that (too much) fun, but she is also the face behind Mira Visu Photography. Meaning, I got some really great images of the runway and my outfits! Scroll down to check out my favorites from the evening + what I wore! 

Capsule Collections 

The Capsule collections were a really cool feature to showcase emerging designers. Each designer doing a capsule sent their mini collection of three looks down the runway together. It was a great way to mix up the standard runway and experience up and coming talent!

Amanda Valentine

Amanda Valentine's collection caught my eye immediately. The fringe, the bold but wearable colors--I could instantly see the wearability of these pieces! Amanda mixes boho and structured so perfectly which makes her designs so versatile. The black fringed pieces were my favorite (the color black and anything fringe are my weakness), so I ended up buying the sample size black fringe romper from the runway pictured above! Amanda was really friendly and during our chat I found out she's from Lincoln, NE. Small world; from Nebraska to a stylist for 21 Pilots + an amazing fashion designer. Shop her collection here!

Style Setter | Ana Rueles 

Style Setter collections were another unique feature to the Austin runway. "Style Setters" were Austin locals who have a passion for fashion AND for philanthropic causes. A presentation was given on each style setter's charity. After that, models walked the runway wearing fashions from the style setter's actual fabulous closets! Ana Rueles was the featured style setter Thursday night--how fabulous is the crimson satin wrap gown?!

This Is Sloane

You know things are getting crazy when Ballet Austin is not the most theatrical collection of the night! This Is Sloane put on a true show, using props like face masks and rubber gloves to set off her collection with a futuristic, dystopian vibe. The pieces themselves were a quirky blend of Victorian-esque silhouettes, western-style themes like fringe, wide brim hats and ponchos, all topped off with a healthy dose of silvery fabric. The show ended with an irreverent take on wedding wear. It should also be mentioned that the designer, Sloane Lenz, is only 21 years old and is already showing her collection not only in Austin, but in tons of other major fashion weeks like New York and Dallas! You can pre-order selected items from the collection above HERE. I love the white dress with stars!

Ballet Austin

Speaking of Ballet Austin, the costumes (presented by the troupe themselves!) were a major highlight for me. I'm a HUGE Mozart nerd--yes seriously--so when the cast of the Magic Flute walked the runway to the classic overture, I was losing my nerd s&*t. Costumes and cast from the ballet version of Beauty & The Beast also walked. It was truly incredible to see! 

Bonus...There was an interesting assortment of non-traditional wedding wear on Thursday night.

The "Starter Marriage" ensemble has me DYING. Loved the irreverence. On the flip side, the pink bridal gown is seriously stunning. 

My Outfit

I kept it relatively "casual" the first night since I wasn't sure what the dress code would be for this fashion week and I didn't want to over or under dress (one of my weird, compulsive fears). I chose this blue and gold Sabo Skirt two piece set and paired it with my Raye heels (SO comfortable) to dress it up even more. Big thanks to Rebecca for all the post-show photo shoots!

All photos taken on location at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin. **Side Note: Anyone traveling to ATX, I would 100% recommend the JW Marriott to stay! The staff was very friendly, and as you can see from the photos, the decor was absolutely to die for (I haven't even shown you the rooftop pool yet)! 

Photos were all taken by Mira Visu Photography. If you are featured in these images and would like copies, please connect with Rebecca via her Mira Visu Facebook Page--and give it a like while you're there! ;) 

 

 

 

 

Kansas City Fashion Week Rundown

It's crazy to think that one year ago, I didn't know Kansas City had a fashion week. Times have changed and I had so much fun getting to experience the epic production that is Kansas City Fashion Week both as a model and as media for Luna Elise. This will be a long post, but if you're in the same boat I was last year and don't know much (or anything) about Kansas City Fashion Week, definitely read on to learn all about the hard work, fun and talent that goes into making this event possible. 

Sunday: Kendra Scott Kick Off Party

Photo: Larry F. Levenson

Photo: Larry F. Levenson

The week got started in the best fashion possible--shopping, champagne and sweet treats. The Kendra Scott boutique in Leawood hosted us, and Dolce Bakery provided delicious food. A proceed of all sales went to the Kansas City Fashion Council (giving us an excuse to shop). The best part of the event was getting to meet and chat with KCFW staff, photographers and fellow bloggers who we would be seeing all week. I'm pictured above with fellow fashion blogger, Bella Lightner. Check out her blog here. 

Monday: Media Meet & Greet @ Fortuity

Darrin Hackney Photography

Darrin Hackney Photography

Another night of getting spoiled with sips, snacks and swag. This event was held at the downtown KC Fortuity warehouse (the one with the insta-famous "Kansas City I'm So In Love" wall). While the swag bags from Dior Beauty and Lee Jeans were amazing, the best part of the evening was meeting fellow bloggers in the KC area. The wine by KC Wineworks was great too--I'll definitely be checking out their new downtown winery soon! 

Tuesday: Bubbly & Bowties 

Photo: Larry F. Levenson

Photo: Larry F. Levenson

I had been looking forward to this black tie event ever since I modeled for the promo shoot (yes, that was my hand in all those ads, haha!). Invite a large group of fashionable people to a black tie event and the styles are going to be incredible. I loved seeing all the amazing gowns and interacting with designers. This was the most-attended event so far, so it was fun mixing with everyone before the following runway show days. 

Wednesday: Coco & Illia Runway Show

J. Santiago Photography

J. Santiago Photography

After successive nights of parties, the real show started on Wednesday. I shifted into model mode with an appearance on KC Live with designer TR Brown, then rushed to the Power and Light Building for my noon call time with Coco & Illia. I would be lying if I said the day wasn't long, but it was well worth the preparation time. Bellus Academy took charge and made sure every detail of our hair and makeup was perfect (special thanks to Miss Jessica!). Coco & Illia are a duo of designers fresh from Stephens College, and their designs brought an edgy yet playful street style to the runway. Red sequins, purple satin, dramatic lace-up pieces and mesh looks dominated the Wednesday night runway. The debut collection, Blackout, will be available for pre-order soon, so make sure to follow Coco & Illia so you don't miss out!  As for my experience--I was glad to get my first runway under my belt as I was a little nervous! Wednesday left me confident and ready to take on the rest of the week. 

Thursday: Media Day at KCFW

Bo Flores Photography

Bo Flores Photography

Lexy Covinsky for Roger Figueroa

Lexy Covinsky for Roger Figueroa

Noelle Manica for Amanda Casarez

Noelle Manica for Amanda Casarez

Nina Monzón for Madyssen Jean Designs

Nina Monzón for Madyssen Jean Designs

Shelby Smith for Lee Jeans

Shelby Smith for Lee Jeans

While Thursday was technically a "rest" day for me since I didn't have a runway show to walk in, I started the day with an early hair and makeup call time for a TV spot with Georgina Herrera. Fellow model Tmara Hepburn and I modeled Georgina's jewelry on Univision--a Spanish-speaking channel! This was followed by a much-needed nap, an even more needed happy hour sushi date with my friends, and then it was back to the Grand Hall to watch the Thursday night shows! Highlights of the night for me were Roger Figueroa, Amanda Casarez, and Madyssen Jean Designs. Roger Figueroa's models seemed to glide down the runway to slow electronica in edgy, androgynous designs and Lady Gaga-inspired jewelry. Amanda Casarez spun her very wearable pieces into an eclectic mix of knits, oriental inspired up-dos and gilded makeup. Madyssen Jean Designs showed a line of boudoir inspired pieces embellished with wistful love quotes, engendering a dark romance in the collection. Celebrating its 100th anniversary, Lee Jeans injected energy into the set as models showed the newest range. I absolutely loved attending KCFW as media, and seeing how other models handled the runway made me even more prepared for the following days.

Friday: TRBrown Runway Show

Friday's procedure was almost the same as Wednesday's--noon call time at the Grand Hall. Hair and makeup were underway, again by Bellus Academy. Tiffany Brown, of TRBrown Designs, was presenting a collection of 70s inspired clothing, so our hair was teased to the heights and mod makeup was applied with upper and lower dramatic lashes creating a Twiggy-esque effect. We had some fun during the afternoon shooting our full looks around the Grand Hall with KCFW photographer, Eli Stack. With the complex hair and makeup and the shoot, before we knew it, it was showtime. I had the privilege of opening the show for Tiffany. The crowd response to her collection of rich colors, deep furs and upholstery fabrics was phenomenal. It was the biggest response a runway show got all week! It was surreal to walk with people cheering and commenting on all sides--and keep a straight face. I was so proud of Tiffany and can't wait to see where TRBrown goes in the future! 

Saturday: Georgina Herrera Runway Show

Eli Stack Photograpy

Eli Stack Photograpy

Ryan Swartzlander Photography

Ryan Swartzlander Photography

"Ohhh, you're walking for Georgina?? Congrats, we love her!" Was the response I unanimously got when I told people who I was walking for this season. Their response was appropriate. Georgina Herrera, of MCK brands, is one of the most beautiful people I know, inside and out. Plus, she is also extremely talented and knows how to put on a show. Her collection of big, bold jewelry stood out perfectly against simple black and white dresses. The runway set-up (although giving us some trouble in rehearsal!) was perfect to showcase the jewelry. The models had several stops, turns and poses along the runway, so all of the audience had the best chance to see the detailed accessories. Walking for Georgina was a perfect way to top off my KCFW experience! Check out her collection here!

An enormous thank you goes out to the KCFW staff! I can't say it enough, so thankful to be a part of this great experience! To learn more about Kansas City Fashion Week and for updates on future model castings and tickets, visit their website and like the KCFW Facebook page

A special shout out to all the photographers whose work has really only just begun as they edit all these images: 

Atherton Photography

Ryan Swartzlander Photography

Larry F. Levenson Photography

Eli Stack Photography

Bo Flores Photography

Fabutainment 

Kenneth Levine