Hidden among the quaint streets and award-winning restaurants of Providence, RI, is an emerging fashion scene of surprising caliber. StyleWeek Northeast is a five day showcase of local designers in the style of New York Fashion Week. Runway shows, cocktail hours, and after parties comprise the event schedule and feature a total of 18 designers. The StyleWeek team succeeds where other local showcases do not by keeping the events cohesive. Rather than having each designer coordinate their own event, StyleWeek organizes the entire production, streamlining the look and process.
This year for the first time, StyleWeek hosted a group of bloggers (including yours truly) for the weekend to view the shows and experience all Providence has to offer. The ability to coordinate and fund accommodations, transportation, meals, and entertainment for over 10 bloggers is a testament to their professionalism and success.
I took the train into Providence from Boston on Friday and was picked up by two lovely members of the team. They dropped me off at The Dean Hotel with ample time to explore the city before the evening’s events. The Dean is a hipster’s boutique paradise. Designed in collaboration with RISD students, the hotel features custom furniture from local creators and artwork and found objects from all over the world. It’s ideal for Instagram and features three different dining options plus a hip coffee spot. The rooms and services are minimalistic which keeps the prices very affordable, starting as low as $99 a night.
On the top of my list was the RISD Museum, boasting a collection of 100,000 art objects. The museum is a must-see for art lovers visiting Providence. My favorite exhibits were Swagged and Poufed: The Upholstered Body in the Late 19th Century and Today, on view until July 3rd, and Kudzanai Chiurai: Iyeza, on view until May 15th. Swagged is a fascinating look at the correlation between fashion styles and interior design styles of the 19th Century. Iyeza presents what looks like a still image, a reinterpretation of The Last Supper using characters from past and contemporary black history. On closer inspection, however, the piece is a video moving in extreme slow motion creating painful anticipation to see what the characters will do next.
After the museum I was picked up by the StyleWeek team for a wine tasting and dinner at Gasbarro’s Wines. This gave me a chance to meet the other bloggers and learn about the wines sold at Gasbarro’s. They served us a prosecco from overseas that was to die for, light and refreshing but with just the right amount of tang. Their store in Providence is the only place you can get it in the U.S. so I’m stocking up next time I’m in the area!
From dinner we went to the shows. The professional grade runway wound around the Providence G Ballroom to accommodate several hundred guests. Wine in hand we were seated in the front row to view collections by La Fille Colette, Angelica Timas, Alexandra Nam, and Pini by Nick Pini. All of the designers had unique visions, but Alexandra Nam was my favorite. Her clothes were chic, elegant, and understated but with an underlying edge manifested in leather accents and angular accessories. When the show concluded the staff ushered us off to the after party hosted by local celebrity Olivia Culpo. Those of you who know me know that I’m pretty rough on pop culture unless it’s circa 1875, so I was unfamiliar with Olivia. She won the Miss Universe pageant in 2012 and was gracious and lovely in person.
Stay tuned to read more about my trip later this week!
Photos are mine.
Please note: StyleWeek provided me with a complimentary trip to RI for the event, however, all opinions expressed are my own.