The short month of February is always busy with socialites and trend-setters stepping out in their best to canvass the latest designs at Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week. This was no exception on Sunday, February 15th, when aspiring fashionistas gathered at MIST Harlem for brunch, to preview the upcoming Fall/Winter 2015 collection by designer Beverly Olivacce, and sit in on a panel discussion featuring business leaders from the fashion industry.
The Women of Power & Style Summit panel, which occurred during the first half of the brunch, featured the following panelists: Princess Jenkins, President of the Brownstone Boutique in Harlem; Porsha Sharp, Lifestyle Fashion Consultant, CEO and Creator of Poshonu, LLC.; Debbie Nigro, Owner and Executive Producer of the Debbie Nigro Show; and Sherry Blair, Founder and CEO of the Sherry Blair Institute for Inspirational Change. The panel was moderated by Louise Newsome, National Director Chapter for the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW).
The discussion covered a variety of issues that women commonly face while being in the workplace. They touched upon the difference between a “manager” and a “leader,” saying that leaders are more apt to having a vision, and project their vision across their company, unlike managers. On how women should dress in the workplace, Porsha Sharpe emphasized having individuality, stating that “one’s style comes over time.” Princess Jenkins gave advice to the younger generation by saying that they “should try to fit in, yet maintain their identity in the workplace.” On business changes in Harlem overall, Jenkins expressed that businesses “come and go.” “When Clinton came to Harlem, rents went up,” she added, “Harlem lost its uniqueness, [and] it became homogenized.” At the end, the panelists conducted a Q&A session with the audience.
After the panel discussion, B. Olivacce started showing her collection. Officially recognized as a scheduled event of Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CDFA), the show was divided into two parts. The first half was B. Olivacce’s Career Dress collection. The design silhouettes were feminine, yet modest. The dresses seemed to be made out of breathable materials such as linen, and seemed comfortable to wear. After the Career Dress collection, a series of evening gowns appeared, which helped transition the show into B. Olivacce’s Fall/Winter Evening collection. These gowns were more ornate than the previous ones shown, containing intricate beading and fur accents. The design colors were jewel-toned, and were made of heavier material, thus alluding to a colder season.
At the end of the fashion show, a raffle was given, where six lucky winners (I was one of them) were given a nice goodie bag of treats. Prizes include a hair extension starter kit, with a hair straightener and comb, cake pops, a children’s book, an adult novel, jewelry, lip balm, and a bottle of water with a highly alkalizing pH of 9.5. Everyone left the fashion show feeling inspired, and wanting to put their best foot forward.