Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week line-up

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File photo by Susan Safford

Richard Skidmore, one of the organizers of the upcoming Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week, is excited to have the opportunity to spotlight some of the unique styles that help to define Vineyard fashion. “The Vineyard is a creative place, and anyone who is creative — meaning they’re expressing themselves through some medium — that creative spirit is also embodied in their personal style.”

Vineyard style will be front and center starting on Monday, Sept. 19, as a week-long series of events will include fashion shows, fashion-themed nights at bars, and trunk shows, with all proceeds benefitting Angel Flights New England.

The main event, a gala party on Saturday night, Sept. 24, at Dreamland (above the M.V. Chowder Company in Oak Bluffs) will cap off the week of fashion and feature what the organizers are calling the Designers Collection. Included in a full scale fashion show, complete with runway, will be a number of Island designers and boutiques. Said Fashion Week founder and co-organizer Trena Morrison, “I’m ecstatic about the range and variety of designers we have — swimsuits, contemporary, Victorian. We have young designers. It’s just a really nice range of people and talent.”

As many as 70 local models will participate in fashion shows throughout the week. Mr. Skidmore noted that the models will represent a broad spectrum, including “short, tall, all shapes and sizes, all ages, all beautiful, and there will be a scattering of men for the ladies as well.”

Fashion Week will kick off on Monday, Sept. 19, with an opening party at The Grill on Main in Edgartown. There will be a cash bar and passed hors d’oeuvres starting at 7 pm. Guests will get a chance to mingle with Fashion Week designers and organizers, and there will be a silent auction. The evening is a Dine to Donate event, in which part of the restaurant’s proceeds will go to Angel Flight NE.

Wednesday’s spotlight event, to be held at the Sandbar and Grill on the Oak Bluffs harbor, is the End the Summer in Style party. The evening will feature a fashion show, dancing to music by DJ Di, and a LBD (little black dress) dress code. Admission is $10; $20 for premium seating, and the event is from 5 to 9 pm.

The other scheduled events will all take place during the day at stores throughout the Island. On Tuesday, Sept. 20, Bananas in West Tisbury will host An Afternoon of Accessories featuring designer shoes, scarves, hats, bags, belts, and more. The first 15 guests will receive a gift bag, and refreshments will be served.

Trunk shows on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, Sept. 21 through 23, will round out the week. On Wed. b*tru on Circuit Ave in Oak Bluffs will feature Rebeccah J. leather goods. The Green Room in Vineyard Haven will host Tom’s Trunkshow on Thursday and a Barbour Trunkshow on Friday.

The Designers Collection that will grace the runway for Saturday’s Fashion Week finale will include looks by Karen Rusillo, owner of Menagerie; Chrysal Parrot, whose boutique Demi Monde just opened last month in Vineyard Haven; and two design teams — Chelsea Phaneuf and Rose Maidoff, and Marlene DiStefano and Randi Sylvia. Local stores will also participate, including PIKNIK Art and Apparel, Hannah B, and On Kennebec. After the runway show at the upstairs Dreamland space, the party will continue downstairs at the M.V. Chowder Company with DJ music.

Mr. Skidmore noted that the Island is becoming more of a haven for fashion designers than ever before. Commenting on the concentration in Vineyard Haven of designer boutiques, he said, “Vineyard Haven seems to be fashion central for people who want original designer clothing.” He sees the arrival of new designers as a trend that will continue. “I think the Island will become more fashion conscious as we see more designers. I see a real blossoming here.”

Angel Flight NE will be the beneficiary of all Fashion Week proceeds. The organization provides free flights to children and adults in need of critical medical care who do not have the resources to access other means of transportation. In their 15 years in operation, Angel Flight’s pilots have flown 5,400 flights for Martha’s Vineyard residents.

In a press release, president and founder of Angel Flight NE, Larry Camerlin, said, “We are truly honored that MV Fashion Week have chosen to support our mission by hosting this benefit event. Their generosity only further supports our efforts for the residents of Martha’s Vineyard.”

Mr. Skidmore also noted that as well as providing funding for a worthy organization, the mission of Fashion Week is two-fold — to spotlight both new and established Island designers, as well as local clothing stores, and to bring a bit of glamour to the Island. “We’re really excited to give people on the Island the opportunity to get into their closets and pull out their best dress-up and see other people in their finest.”

Of the timing of the event, Mr. Skidmore said, “We believe that the shoulder season is a really strong time for people who are coming here. They’re here for the culture, for the place itself. Visitors in the shoulder season are responsive to the Island style because they’re looking for the way of life rather than the beach.”

For more information and a schedule of events, visit mvfashionweek.com.