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West Hartford Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Fashion Week

BK&CO's Barbara Karsky and Karen Hebert celebrate 20 years and Fall Fashion in The Center. Photo by Cheyney Barrieau.

West Hartford’s Fashion Week begins on Sept. 15, and culminates with ‘Fashion Night Out’ on Sept. 20.

By Ronni Newton

Early fall is synonymous with fashion in New York and other stylish cities throughout the world, and now West Hartford has gotten into the act with its own Fashion Week.

BK&CO's Barbara Karsky and Karen Hebert celebrate 20 years and Fall Fashion in The Center. Photo by Cheyney Barrieau.

BK&CO’s Barbara Karsky and Karen Hebert celebrate 20 years and Fall Fashion in The Center. Photo credit: Cheyney Barrieau.

Beginning on Sept. 15, West Hartford Center merchants will be celebrating the upcoming fall season by showcasing the latest styles and trends, and by hosting special events, designer visits, and trunk shows. Fashion Week concludes with Saturday afternoon’s Fashion Stroll and the final event that brings West Hartford’s red carpet style to life – Fashion Night Out.

West Hartford merchants have been celebrating fall fashion for years, but what began as just one night at a few boutiques has expanded into a week-long event.

“It originated in West Hartford as a fashion night to promote regular-priced, high-end fashion pieces,” said Barbara Karsky, co-owner of BK&Co. and organizer of Fashion Week.

In the past, each store would host its own event, but they would all be on the same night. “Customers couldn’t get to each store’s event,” Karsky said. Spreading it out over a week allows for “more fashion,” Karsky said, and greater flexibility in attracting not only customers but also designers to host trunk shows.

Karsky said that one of the great things about West Hartford having its own fashion celebration is that it gives people a close-up look at trends that they can actually wear. “It’s about current adaptable fashion – what you can put on your body to look good, and be modern. It’s not the New York runway where trends don’t always translate to real life,” Karsky said.

Those who attend Fashion Week activities will get a “collective perspective of what’s fashionable here in West Hartford,” said Karsky.

During Saturday afternoon’s “Fall Fashion Stroll,” from 2 – 4 p.m., merchants will have their “best looks” on display outside their stores – front and “Center.” (Karsky is hopeful that the weather will cooperate!) Most will be on mannequins or some other type of static display, but some stores may even decide to use live mannequins, Karsky said.

Expect to see fall trends such as novelty leggings trimmed in lace or made of “plether” and faux suede, vibrant cobalt blues and purples, lots of black and white and charcoal, and plaids. Vivid digital patterns on tops and scarves will also be featured, Karsky said. Dresses are also popular this fall, and ideal for dining out in town, said Karsky.

Once visitors experience the “stroll,” they will be able to vote for and possibly win their “favorite look” at Fashion Week’s final gala celebration – Fashion Night Out.

The early evening event, the culmination of Fashion Week, will be held under an elegant tent in the Webster Bank parking lot on LaSalle Road. The pages of West Hartford Magazine’s “Fall Fashion” issue will come to life as real models (most are recognizable members of the local community) walk the red carpet wearing the latest trends from West Hartford Center stores.

Fashion Night Out is also a launch party for the West Hartford Magazine’s fashion issue, as well as a celebration of the launch of We-Ha.com. Tickets to the event are $20 each, and $5 of each ticket will be donated to The Town That Cares Fund which supports the West Hartford Food Pantry and much more. The ticket price includes drinks courtesy of Two Pour Guys, food provided by Sliders, Edible Arrangements, and La Petite France, and other special giveaways. Click here to purchase tickets to Fashion Night Out.

Specific events throughout the week at individual stores include the following:

BK&Co. will showcase pieces from Jospeh Ribkoff, Sympli, and I.C. Collections for fashion week. On Thursday, Sept. 18, they will host Lee Andersen, Citron and Ayalabar Jewelry trunk shows. They will also have a “Get DRESSed” event on Friday, Sept. 19.

Lyn Evans Potpourri Designs will hold a denim trunk show event from Thursday, Sept. 18, through Saturday, Sept. 20, featuring Adriano Goldschmied, Second Yoga, and Christopher Blue.

Kimberly Boutique is hosting an in-store Fall Fashion Show on Thursday, Sept. 18, beginning with cocktails at 6 p.m. and modeling at 7 p.m. Featured designers will include 360cashmere, Margaret O’Leary, and Kinross.

Silkworm will celebrate Fashion Week with a jewelry trunk show on Saturday, Sept. 20, from noon to 4 p.m., featuring designer Tara Mosca of The Petite Coquette.

Fleet Feet’s contribution to Fashion Week is, quite appropriately, an energetic activity. The store will host the “Urban Challenge” on Friday, Sept. 19, from 6 – 7:30 p.m. The combination race/scavenger hunt will take participants throughout the Center and Blue Back Square searching for clues.

Lux Boutique is holding “Fashion Happy Hour” on Saturday, Sept. 20 and Sunday, Sept. 21 from noon through 4 p.m. Guests will receive a 20 percent discount on their entire purchase.

Philip David, LCR, Sight, and Central Optica are also planning special in-store celebrations as part of Fashion Week.
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