Faces in Fashion

MTV’s Whitney Port Joins Local Talent at Fresh Faces in Fashion Show

Well-known MTV personality Whitney Port will join a diverse slate of Miami designers at Gen Art’s Sixth Annual Fresh Faces in Fashion Show at the opening of FashionMiami presented by Chrysler.

In total, Gen Art will showcase nine top emerging designers from Miami and New York when Fresh Faces kicks off FashionMiami on Wednesday, March 10, at the former DesignMiami space, located at NE 39th Street and First Court in the Miami Design District.

“We are extremely excited to be returning to Miami with our Fresh Faces in Fashion show after a year’s absence,” said Gen Art CEO/co-founder Ian Gerard. “And we cannot think of better way of doing such than by kicking off the exciting new FashionMiami shows.”

Gen Art’s designer slate consists of four of Florida’s brightest stars in emerging fashion talent — Romina Heighes, By Smith, Lialia and Fernando Carneiro — along with accessories designers Rella Jewelry, Babette Epaulette and B. Rawlings. They will be joined by New York alumni designer Duskin, who had her runway debut with Gen Art during New York Fall Fashion Week 2009.

Just this week, Port was added to the show.

“We’re very excited to have her,” said lead producer Lauren Hurley.

Although best known for her roles in MTV’s The Hills and The City, Hurley also is a former fashion contributor to Teen Vogue and worked for Diane von Furstenberg. In 2008, Port debuted her clothing line of cocktail and partywear called Whitney Eve. The clothing line was in the New York Fashion Week in September 2009.

Port’s participation only ramps up the excitement meter for this year’s show.

“This is all about showcasing cutting edge and emerging local talent — homegrown talent,” Hurley said. “This is one of the way that Gen Art supports local designers. That’s really the mission behind what we do.”

Regional designers were selected by a committee of distinguished fashion industry professionals including Hadley Henriette, 944; Melissa Cantor, Miami Modern Luxury; Jillian Sanz, Florida International; Brooke Siegel, Daily Candy; Rene Ruiz, designer; and Danny Santiago, celebrity stylist.

Hurley said the criteria for designers selected included length of time in business, being sold in at least one local boutique and definitely creativity.

“Creatively each of the designers offers something unique,” Hurley said. “We definitely wanted different perspectives. We wanted each to look different, to offer a different aesthetic. It was important to us to have a multifaceted show.”

This year’s showcased designers were selected from a smaller pool than usual, Hurley said, because the ongoing economic downturn has made it harder for designers to meet the criteria.

“We had fewer from which to choose, but I also think that makes these designers special because they are here, they are on the runway,” Hurley said. “It’s a testament to their talent and their savvy. It also means they are good businesspeople.”

New this year is the link with FashionMiami and the Miami Design District venue for the show.

For design enthusiasts, the Annual Fresh Faces in Fashion Show’s return this year is an important occasion.

“Maybe it’s a sign that we’re coming around economically and creatively and that South Florida is back on the rise in design and the arts,” said Miami’s Rene Diaz. “One of the things that attracted me to this area was all of the [aspects of] art and design that seemed to be building. A lot of that seems to have gone away or at least it slowed down. These shows can only help remind people that Miami is still on the map in these areas.”

Certainly Fresh Faces has a legacy of highlighting top talent. It has become one of Miami’s largest and most prestigious fashion events. Fresh Faces (which takes place in four markets) has featured the runway launches of many top and rising designers including Zac Posen, Rebecca Taylor, Uli Herzner, Vena Cava, Milly, Twinkle, KRELwear, Sari Gueron, Julian Chang, Jeffrey Sebelia, Phillip Lim and dozens of others.

“It’s exciting to be kicking off FashionMiami and the new concept of having the show in the Design District,” Hurley said.

FashionMiami presented by Chrysler will launch with a schedule of fall/winter 2011 collection runway shows and events taking place from March 10 to 14.

Tickets for Gen Art’s Sixth Annual Fresh Faces in Fashion Show are $45 for regular tickets and $75 for VIP tickets (with discounts for Gen Art members). Membership and ticket purchasing information is available online at genart or by calling 212-255-7300.

About Michael W Sasser

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