It is a huge fashion event that has become an annual tradition in the Boca Town Center Mall in Boca Raton, Florida.
Simon Mall and Braman Motorcars of Palm Beach join together in luxury to bring fashion enthusiasts ‘Simon Fashion Now’. It was an energetic and enchanting day filled with interactive activities, stylish fashion shows showcasing the hottest trends of the season, runway giveaways such as a $400 pair of Charles David boots, a $570 Porsche Design leather accessories bag, a salon spa pampering package and then there are the swag bags filled with all kinds of goodies and a Design War competition. It all took place on Saturday, September 29, 2012 in center court beginning at noon and lasting past 4:00 p.m. A large percentage of the popular retailers within the mall participated on the runway and with unbelievable in-store discounts and special sales throughout the day.
The woman who works tirelessly to make sure everything fell into place to make the event a stupendous success is Jacque’ Ellis, Vice President of Corporate Special Events at Simon. “Providing instant gratification for our shoppers makes the Simon Fashion Now concept unique.” This was an event created five years ago that keeps getting stronger each year with more and more participation from retailers and more excitement from savvy consumers. It is a way to celebrate mall shopping by featuring luxurious and affordable fashion on the runway and giving the shopper an interactive way to get their favorite look right off the runway. Shoppers have become more fashion conscious and it is all about accessibility and the ‘Now Factor’.
This day began with Design Wars. Attendees had a unique opportunity to see the ingenious creations of eight talented students from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. The designs were judged on four categories: creativity, use of materials, fit and overall look. The panel of judges were certainly experts in the field of fashion. The panel included Leslie Gray Streeter-Pop Culture Columnist & Writer for the Palm Beach Post, Stacy Ostrau-Sun Sentinel Society Scene Publisher, Joanie Cox-Sun Sentinel and Boca Raton Forum writer and voice behind the popular Life in the Fab Lane column and Cassie Morien-Boca Magazine’s Web and Shop Editor. The assignment was to create food-themed cocktail dresses inspired by the Cafes at Boca. Each of the designers brilliantly mastered the task at hand.
Holly Rogers got inspired by the Earl of Sandwich using tulle, gathered knit and a princess seamed corset to produce a perfectly pleasing dress. Amanda Berryhill used Auntie Anne’s as a means of self-expression. Her passion is swimwear and she was inspired by the colors and textures of Auntie Anne’s products giving her dress a fun, flirty and feminine edge. Veronica Corona paired with Villa Pizza. Veronica is living her fashion dream as she hails from Mexico. Upon graduation she wants to start her own business and her dress had a refined edge made of satin and inspired by a flower as it blooms and Villa Pizza was reflected in the red sash and hand-sewn patches. Yanitza Bueso partnered with Tossed to give us the winning creation. She strives to incorporate her style and classic silhouettes into current trends. It was a very versatile and wearable dress with a particular freshness about it. Sarah Samere has a knack for forecasting upcoming seasonal trends and she was paired with Chick-A-Filet to bring a very artistic creation to the runway with the company’s cow spots incorporated into the dress. Julie Manganelli and Pummarola paired together. Julie aspires to create gowns for the Red Carpet adorned with intricate detailing and beading and this was like a practice run for her with quite a rendition of beauty. Diana Valishina received her inspiration from Maoz Vegetarian. As an aspiring stylist hailing from Russia, her dress was inspired by her travels through Greece. Esmeralda O’Connor’s design had Yogen Fruz in mind. Her dress was full of color and imagination with fruits, toppings and yogurts in mind.
As the winner, Yanitza received a $250 Simon American Express GiftCard.
But the afternoon was only warming up. Design Wars was followed by five entertaining fashion shows featuring American Apparel, Arden B., Banana Republic, Lily Pulitzer, Cache’, White House/Black Market, Tommy Bahama, Ann Taylor, GapKids, Gymboree, Chicos and many more. Nordstrom presented a runway trend show highlighting top selling trends of the season with personal style assistants giving detailed information on each of the pieces worn by the models. There was a special shoe and accessory show focusing on the latest accessories in shoes, jewelry, luggage, handbags, headsets and more. All hair and makeup was provided by Salon Cielo & Spa and Bare Escentual.
All of the ladies eagerly awaited the appearance of a handful of the firefighters featured in the South Florida Firefighters Calendar who were modeling suits from Men’s Wearhouse & Tux and cheered on by their fellow firefighters on the sidelines.
Ready, Set, Style was a fun and upbeat interactive styling competition at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. where members of the audience were chosen to come up on stage to complete a model’s look. There were two teams competing and they each had 2 minutes to pick from a table full of items to make the model runway complete. The claps from the audience decided the winning team that would walk away with prizes.
As far as what Jacque’ sees as the hottest trends for the Fall/Winter season, these are her two must-have picks. Leather and leather accents are a must. Leather is so unpredictable yet feminine and flirtatious. It plays a role in the full jacket or as accenting a dress, shirt, skinny pant or jacket. The second favorite is the animal-inspired print which will continue to play a role in the wardrobe as it has in previous seasons yet it will have a more traditional and muted appeal for fall and winter.
It was so exhilarating to see people of all ages thrill to the events of the day. The mission was accomplished in a matter of hours. Next stop for Simon Fashion Now will be The Westchester in White Plains, New York on October 5 & 6, Roosevelt Field in Garden City, New York on October 12 & 13 and SouthPark in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 19 & 20.