published Friday, May 23rd, 2014

StyleWorks showcases spring and summer fashion trends, raises money for Siskin Children's Institute

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    The Maggie London form-fitted dress, $179, has a scalloped hemline.
    Photo by John Rawlston.
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    The Kasper mid-thigh-length jacket, $139, is worn with a Chaus blouse, $44, and Chaus pants, $69.
    Photo by John Rawlston.
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Spring/summer fashion trends

Feminine Charms

• Oversized ruffles, fit-and-flare silhouettes, appliqued petals and new, longer lengths.

• Heavy lace, luminescent layers and sheer fabrics.

• Florals, along with dots, swirls and pattern mixes.

• Pearls, floral motif jewelry, shiny gold finishes, chain bags, clutches and single-sole pumps.

• Colors: From blush to fuchsia, pink is the pigment palette of choice. Also look for navy and white.

Clean Slate

• Strong sculptural shapes including A-line silhouettes, asymmetric details and architectural lines.

• Textiles with metallic finishes and New Age synthetics.

• Bold patterns blaze with photorealisms, stripes, color blocking, exaggerated geos and digital designs, and anything graphic.

• Black and white rules and looks newest with a pop of color.

• Accessorize with items that offer a contemporary feel. Mirror metallics, boxy shaped handbags (clutches, totes, satchels), strong cuffs and geometric pendants, multi rings, chunky heels and anything color blocked.

Jetsetter

• Tribal twist with a multi-cultural mix.

• Neutrals, especially khakis and greens.

• Details such as zips, pockets, studs and grommets along with ornate embellishments, tassels, fringe and frayed edges.

• Jacquards, silks, sheers, linen and washed poplin.

• Patterns: Artsy camo, lkats, new tropicals and scenics.

• Layers of jewelry, natural leathers, burnished metals, embellished totes and new gladiators.

Source: Belk

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    Karen Kane’s striped shirt, $89, paired with mid-calf-length pants, $109, is ideal for a summer outing.
    Photo by John Rawlston.
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    An embellished sleeveless dress by Lucky Brand, $149, is ideal for the South’s hot summer temperatures.
    Photo by John Rawlston.
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    For Southern flair, try a barely pleated Nine West dress, $98, for her, and a Saddlebred jacket, $125, Kenneth Cole Reaction shirt, $59.50, Izod pants, $74.50, and a Saddlebred tie, $42, for him. Fashions available at Belk.
    Photo by John Rawlston.
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Rachael Welch not only attended her first StyleWorks fashion show this year, she co-chaired the annual event, which raises money for Siskin Children's Institute.

It wasn't a simple task.

StyleWorks, held since 1977, is the area's largest annual professional fashion show. This year, more than 800 people attended the event, held at Chattanooga Convention Center, that showcased Belk's 2014 spring and summer fashion trends.

Welch, who co-chaired the fundraiser with Rachelle Haddock, of Ringgold, Ga., says work on the event began several months ago.

"Rachelle and I started brainstorming last fall with Siskin staff and some committee members who serve on the fundraiser every year," Welch says. "There's always new faces because so many people in the community believe in the cause. We started holding monthly meetings in January, with a lot of other meetings in between. It was a lot of work because you work with many volunteers."

But once the StyleWorks show was underway, Welch fell into fashion-lover mode.

"The dresses on the runway made me want to immediately go shopping," says Welch, senior manager of Leadership & Organizational Development at Tennessee Valley Authority in Chattanooga. "I'm a big fan of the fit and flair styles and some of the romantic styles they showed, as well as the bold prints."

The runway event showcases the hottest spring and summer fashions for men, women and children. For women, dresses, short and long, dressy and casual, fitted and loose, dominated. For Belk, 2014 trends focuses on "fierce femininity," according to a news release.

"This summer women will embrace the heat with extra emphasis on accessories. Layered necklaces, ladylike handbags and chunky heels are a must," says Belk spokeswoman Jan Clevenger, of Birmingham, Ala.

Men, meanwhile, "will dress up casual this summer, using bold statement pieces. Look for many shades of blue, preppy shorts and lots of linens."

Courtney Gravett, manager of Francesca's, a women's clothing boutique on Gunbarrel Road in East Brainerd, says feminine dresses are a hot item at her store.

"We have a lot of bohemian festival dresses," she says, explaining that the dresses are made of soft cotton, vibrant colors and, very importantly, comfortable. "They come in maxi lengths, but most are short."

Gravett says the ultra-feminine "garden party" dresses are popular with her customers.

"These dresses are on the opposite end of the spectrum from the bohemian style," she says. "They're silhouetted with a little cupcake shape, meaning they have a full bodice that flares out. So women have a choice of very feminine with the garden party or lots of fun with the bohemian festival."

Patti Frierson, of Lookout Mountain, who has attended StyleWorks for the last 16 years and also worked on the event for several years, says feminine dresses were a highlight of this year's show.

"Black and white was big," she says. "You saw both flowy and tailored. It's really about what is right for your body and shape."

She also she likes the versatility of the colors as well as floral and nautical prints.

Frierson, an account executive for Chattanooga Now and the Chattanooga Times Press Press, has a background in fashion. In Frierson's hometown of Dawson, Ga., her father and grandfather had a clothing/department store, Maloof's, for nearly a century. As a teen, she was a buyer for the store, and later worked as a fashion stylist for two companies, as well as hosting fashion trunk shows.

"Through the years, StyleWorks has stayed true to the original plan 'fashion with compassion,' and each year brings a fresh and exciting style show featuring alumni as well as current students from the institute," says Mike McJunkin, marketing and communications manager at Siskin.

And, every now and then, the event welcomes a high-profile person.

Karen Kane was the featured designer in 2012, while Cynthia Bailey, one of the stars of "Real Housewives of Atlanta" came last year as a model, McJunkin says.

Former students, as well as current students ages 4 and up, also serve as models, alongside professional male and female models from Belk.

Contact Karen Nazor Hill at khill@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6396.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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