Festival of Houses and Gardens

Even though I’ve been a Charleston dweller for almost 14 years, I still get swept away with the beauty and charm.  I love taking walks and bike rides south of Broad with my family and friends to appreciate all of the beautiful historic homes and perfectly pruned flower boxes.  I’m excited to partner up with a couple of my favorite bloggers Charleston Weekender and Hillheady to promote the Festival of Houses & Gardens. 

 Have you ever wanted to take a tour of these beautiful private houses and gardens?  Well now is your chance to see how the other half lives. Brought to you by the Historic Charleston Foundation, this is it’s 71st year of  featuring Charleston’s distinctive architecture and history.  Tours and events vary by day and you can also take advantage of luncheons and musical concerts.  We’re each giving away 2 tickets to the Festival of Houses & Gardens, just follow this post on Instagram to find out how you can win tickets!

Tarah Top $79 from Rachel Roy and Floral Maxi Skirt $88.99 from Rachel Roy // Ginger earrings in red $98 from Lisi Lerch // Marc Fisher lace up flats $64.99 from 6pm

Photography by Libby Williams

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It Takes a Fashion Village

It was a huge honor to be a judge for the Charleston Fashion Week Emerging Designer competition again this year.  The Fern Mallis, creator of New York Fashion Week, came back again and said that this is her favorite fashion week, which is a huge compliment given that she travels globe seeing other fashion weeks across the world.  Courtney Wartman, VP of Marketing at Clique, who handles clients such as Who What Wear and Byrdie, also expressed how impressed she was with the talent that Charleston Fashion Week brings together.  One of my favorites, model scout Karen Lee always comes back with the model panel.  Her mission is to scope out the fresh faces and help decide on the model search winners at fashion week.

I love that fashion designer and Charleston native Pauline Nakios is part of the designer panel of judges.  Her expertise in the design industry is immeasurable.  Not only does she have 2 brands – Leo & Sage and Lilla P, but she also has a store in New York, and is a mother of 2 sweet boys.  I always look forward to her visits back to the south.

I couldn’t have made it through fashion week without my fashion sidekick, Hillary Conheady.  I love it when man about town Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez, can help me with my shoots and Lowcountry Live.  He always bring a smile and great energy wherever he goes.

Ashley Brooke Perryman is a superwoman.  As the beauty director for Charleston Fashion Week, she works with every store and designer on hair and makeup looks for the runway shows, and directs her team on the execution.  She does all of this with such calmness and grace.

The high quality of the production at Charleston Fashion Week always amazes me and  Jacqueline Russell is the glue that keeps it together.

Female empowerment is her agenda, Shelly Young from Skirt Mag.

View more for more street style and party pics!

Photography by Clifford Pate

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Finale Night at Charleston Fashion Week 2018

The energy was thick at the finale night at Charleston Fashion Week.  With only 3 nights of emerging designer shows, us judges were able to save 3 extra designers to be included in the semi-finalist runway show.  Being a judge is one of the toughest jobs because each designer had such a clear point of view and the workmanship was incredible.  This was the hardest year to decide, the competition was very tight!

In the end Tygerian Burke of Tygerian Lace won the competition.  Hailing from Charlotte, Tygerian wowed everyone with a vibrant  collection of color and texture layered with lace and sequins.  Each outfit was a statement and so well styled with turbans and retro shades.  Her star is shining bright and I’m looking forward to keeping up with her to see what’s next on the horizon.

Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, designer Joan Madison electrified the audience with her collection of over the top evening wear fit for a queen.  Each model looked empowered and ready for awards season in their red carpet ready looks.  The drama unfolded as each piece stepped on the runway.  The crowd roared and gave Joan a much deserved standing ovation.

 12-year-old design prodigy Kelly Callaway  took us into the fashion future with her collection of modern dresses and separates.   The Star Trek inspired pieces popped with color and geometric shapes.  With no formal training other than her mother teaching her, Kelly has been designing and sewing since the age of 7 in her hometown of Scottsdale, AZ.  If she is capable of this at 12 years old, I can only imagine what she will accomplish in her teen years.  Watch out Project Runway Junior!

Kenya Freeman’s models boogied down the runway wearing her 70’s inspired collection from Sylvia Mollie.  I literally wanted every piece and I know most of the audience did too.  The rich fall color palette danced down the runway in playful jumpsuits, suiting, and evening wear.  Kenya was also on Project Runway season 16, which makes this the 3rd Project Runway alum to grace Charleston Fashion Week.

Brooklynite Emilie Schroeder’s wanted to express the beauty of all skin colors by showing a collection of nudes and neutrals.  The ready to wear looks showed off statement pockets and feminine silhouettes.

Paying tribute to the vanishing glaciers Patresea Pepper  showed a collection of thought provoking, conceptual designs.  Using unconventional materials such as plastic and straws, she blurred the lines of art and fashion.

View more to see more from the 2018 Charleston Fashion Week Semi-Finalists.

Photography by Clifford Pate

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Friday Night at Charleston Fashion Week

 Last week the south’s most celebrated style event, Charleston Fashion Week kicked off for it’s 12th year.  I look forward to this event every year, because it brings some of the most talented emerging designers from all over the U.S.  This year’s contestants were some of the most diverse and inclusive groups we’ve seen.  From the 12 year old designer Kelly Callaway from Phoenix, to Joan Madison from Ohio with decades of experience, to Kenya Mollie of Project Runway fame.  As a judge on the Emerging Designer panel, I have the hardest job to help decide who’s the winner.  This year was one of the toughest years because everyone was a star in their own way.  Tomorrow I’ll be featuring the semi-finalists on my blog.

This year I took the glam but comfortable approach to my outfits.  It was all about teal for me from head to toe.  This Zac Zac Posen dress was the perfect segue into Spring and the marabou slippers I picked up from Julep last year after their runway show.

In real life I don’t like to wear a lot of makeup, so I have to make sure my skin is always on point.  The week before fashion week I made sure I got an appointment at Germain Dermatology for my favorite facials – The Hydro Silk Peel and the Cryofacial.  If you want super hydrated skin and a visible reduction of puffiness then this is the combo you want to get.  I also squeezed in lash extensions with my girl Becca at Simply Smitten Beauty Bar.  It’s so nice to wear wear minimal eye makeup because longer lashes make such a difference in the beauty routine.

I love to pile on the gold jewelry and these bangles, gold ring, and Goldbug earrings from Croghan’s Jewel Box were the right accents.

Zac Zac Posen Bay Pleated Tiered Gown from Far Fetch $556 // JW Micro Bag by Taxidermy $895 // Goldbug Shining Star Earrings $135, Gold Plated Valla Ring $115, 14k Bangle Bracelets $140, $175, and $225 from Croghan’s Jewel Box // Remy Rotenier for Bella Luce 8.68ctw Remy Cut Eterno Yellow “Tournesol Ring” from Jtv $80.99

Photography by Clifford Pate,  Manicure by Mylk Bar,  Lashes by Simply Smitten Beauty Bar

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Charleston Fashion Week Streetstyle – Friday Night

The people watching at  Charleston Fashion Week is always the highlight for me.  Sometimes I don’t even feel like I’m in Charleston, and where do these beautiful creatures come from?  There’s nothing like seeing people decked out in the middle of Marion Square.

Photography by Clifford Pate

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Oyster Roast Style

January is in full swing which means that it’s the start of oyster season.  The world’s biggest oyster festival, The Lowcountry Oyster Festival, is just around the corner which means there’ll be a lot of shucking and schmoozing.  Coming up on it’s 35th year and taking place at Boone Hall Plantation, it’s pretty much the kick off to the social season in Charleston.

Dressing for an oyster roast is a fine balance of being casually put together.  It’s usually cold out, sometimes muddy, and you always want to have your hands free.  I swung by M. Dumas & Sons to take a spin in their “shuck friendly” styles.  I was immediately drawn to their massive Barbour selection of utilitarian jackets and vests.  The water resistant material and deep pockets are essential when your spilling oyster juice everywhere and you need a place to store your phone, keys, and other necessities.

Me and my husband Gustavo fell in love with the form meets function aesthetic of the Barbour brand and their long heritage of quality that they stand behind.  The family legacy that keeps the brand going aligns perfectly with the M. Dumas & Sons story.  The King Street institution has been dressing men in the lowcountry for over a century.  They first opened their doors in 1917 by Mendel Dumas and the local store is still going strong after 100 years.   Their ever evolving mix of merchandise ranges from the classic styles, to contemporary brands, to tailored suiting.  If your looking to stock up on winter clothes and other styles that will carry you well into the spring months then take advantage of their 40-50% off sale right now.

I was happy to discover M. Dumas & Sons has an extensive selection of Barbour jackets and vests for women like this quilted one which is on sale too!  Keep up with them on their Instagram for all of exciting events they’ll be a part of at Sewe in February and a runway show at Charleston Fashion Week in March.

An oyster keychain by Oysters All Around adds a personal touch to this bag by Filson at M. Dumas & Sons.  Oysters All Around is a local brand that makes accessories made with oyster shells as well as designing products with the oyster motif.  I’m so glad I discovered them at Cannonborough Collective by my girl Charleston Weekender.  I’m excited to share more about these local businesses alongside The Lowcountry Oyster Festival on Lowcountry Live tomorrow at 10am.  We’ll be giving away 2 tickets to The Lowcountry Oyster Festival and a market tote, note pad, oyster shucker and navy oyster shell tassel keychain from Oysters All Around so don’t miss out!

Hopefully I’ll see some of you at The Lowcountry Oyster Festival.  Tickets are only $17.50 in advance and kids 10 and under are free.  There’ll be plenty of activities for the kiddos, oyster buckets are $12-$14, and various food and drink vendors will be set up to compliment those oysters. This event gets busy fast, so plan on coming on the earlier side (it’s from 10am-5pm) to get that good parking spot and decent elbow room to shuck.

Calvary polar quilt jacket by Barbour $279 (40% off), Filson bag $250 from M. Dumas & Sons

On Gustavo: Faherty plaid shirt $148 and Duke wax jacket by Barbour $399 (40% off) from  M. Dumas & Sons

Photography by Nicole Mickle

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Aisle Style at Charleston Wedding Week

We’re kicking off 2018 with bang because one of Charleston’s premiere event is only a couple of weeks away.  Charleston Wedding Week takes place on January 24-27 and hosts workshops, signature experiences, runway shows, and parties produced by Charleston Weddings magazine and The Wedding Row.  Even if your not in the wedding industry, the runways shows and fashion events are the perfect excuse to get dressed up and visit venues that you wouldn’t normally have access to.   The shows will be filled with gorgeous gowns from local boutiques and designers from Charleston and beyond. 

I had the pleasure of playing with some of the dresses from featured stores that will walk the runway.  The first show will be at Cannon Green on January 24th, and will feature Bella Bridesmaids, Betty Bridal, Lovely Charleston, Maddison Row, Southern Protocol, and Verità.  The posh Cannon Green is the perfect setting to host a cocktail party/runway show.  The other big show will be on January 26th at Lowndes Grove Plantation and will feature Emily Kotarski, Made with Love presented by Lovely Bride Charleston, Mason Hosker, and Modern Trousseau.  After the shows, get an insiders access by meeting the designers to learn how they work and what inspires them  Tickets to all of the events are available at charlestonweddingweek.com. 

 Verità will be opening up the Cannon Green show and expect to see dramatic dresses with texture, 3-D embellishments, and unexpected add-ons like capes, detachable trains and skirts.  Verita meaning truth in Italian, was recently opened by Jessica Kiss in Mt. Pleasant.  The seasoned bridal stylist offers dresses for every style – from the classic traditional southern woman, to the edgy fashion-forward destination bride. They carry designers such as Rebecca Ingram, Madison James, Tara Keely, Calla Blanche, and Nicole Suppose with an accessible price range of $800-$3500.  They’re a one stop shop stocking mother of the bride dresses, bridesmaids, and accessories such as veils, jewelry, and head pieces.  If you want to get a sneak peek of the runway show or if you can’t make it to the event, visit Jessica for her Designer Event from the 19th-27th at Verità320 West Coleman BLVD. Unit J MT. Pleasant, SC 29464.

Dress by Madison James and hair pins from Verità // Earrings and ring from Croghan’s Jewel Box

 Southern Protocol is another locally owned boutique that will be waltzing down the runway at the  Cannon Green fashion show.  Located at 164 Market Street downtown, Southern Protocol exudes chic and charm with it’s airy decor and glittery floor.  Owners Ann E. Rice Ervin & Lisa S. Rice, alongside buyer and manager Michelle Miller stock the posh boutique with designs from Charleston to Barcelona.  They carry an exquisite selection of dresses from local designer Kate McDonald, and other sought after brands like Ivy & Aster, Romona Keveza, Carol Hannah, and Jesus Peiro.  Set up more like a showroom than a shop, the gowns are curated carefully with each rack dedicated to each designer.  This dreamy dress by Ivy & Aster is just one of the designs you might catch at their runway show.

Dress by Ivy & Aster, Taxidermy clutch, and Carol Hannah hair piece from Southern Protocol // Earrings and rings from Gold Creations

Gone are the days of the dreaded, never to be worn again bridesmaid dress.  Bella Bridesmaids offers fashion forward, ready to wear options for your bridal party and beyond.  The national franchise makes it easy to coordinate with your girls because they can visit any of their 51 locations to try on a dress before they order it.   The Charleston location at 43 John Street in the Upper King Street district is locally owned by Allison Long who is celebrating her 12th year in business.  She stocks her shop with exclusive designs by Theia, Monique Lhuillier, Jenny Woo, Amsale, Adrianna Papell, and Joanna August.   Don’t let the name throw you off because their dresses and separates are also perfect for prom, mother of the bride/groom, black tie events, wedding guests, and rehearsal dinners.   They will also be showing at the Cannon Green runway show on January 24th.

Dress by Joanna August from  Bella Bridesmaids // Earrings and rings from Croghan’s Jewel Box

Australian designer Callie Tein, is the visionary behind Modern Trousseau, a custom bridal line with 8 stores nationwide including her downtown location at 418 King Street. Couture quality gowns are custom made with every option including color, trimming, skirt shapes, strap selections, and you can even mix and match styles.  All of the gowns are made in the USA using the finest quality European lace sourced from the French regions of Chantilly, Alencon, Guipure, to Burano Italy and Teneriffe Spain.  Callie also sends her brides a sketch of their gown and will sew their monogram and wedding date within the inside of the gown in blue for “something blue”.  Modern Trousseau will be showing at Lowndes Grove Plantation on Friday January 26th from 6-9pm as the the finale showcase designer.  After the runway show take advantage of the “Meet and Greet” the designer cocktail hour to learn about Callie and her designs. 

Tune into Lowcountry Live tomorrow 1/12/18 at 10am for more looks from these boutiques who will be showing at Charleston Wedding Week.  I’ll be giving away a $50 gift certificate from Southern Protocol,  a veil or accessory of your choice from Verità, and a little black dress of your choice from Modern Trousseau.  You don’t want to miss out on this one!

“Roux” dress and hair piece from  Modern Trousseau // earrings from Croghan’s Jewel Box // Rings from  Gold Creations

Photography by Nicole Mickle, Stylist – Andrea Serrano, Model – Marissa Rocco at Millie Lewis, Makeup – Elina Mille at Bellelina Studio, Hairstylist – Rosa Martinez, Shot on location at Cannon Green

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About Charleston Shop Curator

Charleston Shop Curator serves as a fashion blog and shopping guide to showcase the incredible diversity of style in Charleston, South Carolina. We continually strive to expose local creative talents from designers to stores. Here you can find all of the treasures Charleston has to offer, and more.

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