Cheers and generosity – fashion week finale is a smash

— Photo by Meg Higgins

The second annual Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week — seven days of runway shows, fashion related films and trunk shows — ended Saturday evening with a glitzy fashion show at Dreamland. The week’s main event featured two solo designers, two design teams, and fashions from three local stores. Dreamland Ballroom, transformed for the event with a raised red carpeted catwalk and ringside seating, was filled with more than 400 appreciative spectators applauding and cheering.

Fashion Week is a fundraiser for Angel Flight Northeast, a private pilot-manned organization that provides free flights to patients and their families in need of medical treatment. Larry Camerlin, Angel Flight founder and president got up to say a few words at Saturday’s event. He noted that, in their 16 years of operation Angel Flight has flown 9,000 trips from the Vineyard — 1,200 in the last 12 months.

Dozens of models — both male and female, mostly Islanders — graced the catwalk. A handful of leggy, whisper-thin models were imported from Dynasty Models of Boston. Glam hair and makeup, provided by Maggie Mae of Maggie’s Salon and Tommye Ann Brown, gave the finishing polish to the sophisticated looks by the local designers.

Fashions from Island stores — interspersed between designers — included casual wear and boho chic from the Green Room and contemporary prep, updated classic looks, and beach wear from NRO. Once in a Blue Moon spotlighted slinky dresses in striking sophisticated tie dye, flowing tops with leggings and colorful chunky jewelry.

However, the night really belonged to the designers. First up was the design team of Chelsea Phaneuf and Rose Goff Maidoff. The latest line from two young women included relaxed tailored looks with flair — lots of fitted jackets with tails paired with flirty flowing skirts in coordinating soft muted colors. The two designers favor textured looks — subtle tapestry material paired with shimmery fabrics. Many of the outfits were topped off with adorable retro hats by Ms. Phaneuf. Headgear made of matching fabrics ranged from a tiny pillbox to a modified boater to an embellished military style cap.

Karen Rusillo brought high drama to the evening with a line that featured piles of fluffy white rose pattern fabric and various hues of orange. Highlights from her collection included a floor-skimming slinky backless dress in off white textured fabric with long detached sleeves and a peach party dress with half of the bodice decorated in bits of orange conch shell. Some daring looks included short bathing suit style outfits paired with fur jackets and evening coats. Ms. Russillo also showcased some of her signature frothy hats including one giant white confection made from yards of netting.

Mother/daughter design team Marlene DiStefano and Randi Sylvia showed off some very smart looks featuring leather, knit pieces, and lots of metallic hues. Their palette this year was exclusively earth tones — browns, creams and other natural colors. They brought a touch of glamour to some casual looks including a simple sheath dress in shimmery gold, a structured top in creamy leather and a sleeveless sweater with an intricate criss-cross back. Theirs was the only designer collection to include a male model.

The menswear look featured slouchy cream colored pants in knubby linen and a floppy leather hat with feathers. Hats and feather jewelry by Alaina Rastelli complemented the looks well.

Noava Knight was the final designer to present a collection. Her looks were all fashioned from fabrics collected from the Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Thrift Shop, where she works. Her line featured two stunning dresses made from old lace-embellished table cloths. Ms. Knight modeled one of them — a gorgeous floor-length eggshell colored gown with a low back finishing in lush draping and a bit of a train. Other outstanding looks by the young designer included paneled dresses featuring tapestry fabrics and material with large artistic prints of images such as a European village scene and an Asian dragon. Ms. Knight, in her 1920s inspired long dress, took a rock star turn at the end, accompanied by two male “bodyguards” in suits.

The Saturday event was the third and final fashion show of the week-long Fashion Week. Monday’s runway show at Dreamland starred fabulous new looks from Chrysal Parrot of Demi Monde boutique in Vineyard Haven. Wednesday’s fashion show at the Sand Bar and Grille on the Oak Bluffs Harbor featured designs from Ashley Chase of SeaLove Swimwear and Karen Rusillo.

Correction: The spelling of the name of designer Noava Knight was corrected in the online version of this story.