Cocktails & Couture 2018: Apocalipstick

In Designers, Events, Fashion, Trends, Updates on January 18, 2018 at 4:26 am

Cocktails & Couture’s Apocalipstick was more than an event, it was an experience that attendees are not likely to forget anytime soon, and members of the Tampa Bay Fashion Week team were there to partake!

The idea was to fiercely party until the world ends and we did exactly that (without the world ending, of course). Each room of the Ritz Ybor was lit with a different color and an accompanying signature drink.

Performers and models (or just super glamorous guests) mingled with attendees, helping to build excitement as well as curiosity – What exactly is going to happen tonight? Here we share a quick recap with you!

First, we were introduced to the lovely, fierce emcee, Power Infiniti. After Power Infiniti performed an awe-inducing dance number, we were promised that we’d have an amazing night.

DSC_0586Following up on their promise, Power Infiniti announced Beyond Borders Entertainment and the Tampa Bay Modern Dance Company who showed up and out. Their infectious energy spread, making even the most awkward among us do a little shimmy.

And that’s when the fashion show began!

Tampa Bay Fashion Week alum, Elizabeth Carson Racker, began her scene with one of her signature dresses. DSC_0631Sew Addicted + Spellbound Stitches followed with fur and leotard combos that reinforced the fierceness of Apocalipstick.


Juliet Retro strutted out sporting vintage frocks with modern accents creatively closed out the first half of the show.

A jazzy musical duet by Anye Cole and Christopher Knolton, and a solo performance by Jessica Dianne greeted us after intermission.

Then Halle Elizabeth Couture resumed the fashion show as if it never ended, sporting eye-catching, punk rock-esque garbs. Kingsland by Kevin Arnett closed the night out wearing nothing but underwear and gas masks looking fierce until the world (or night) ends.

Those of you who attended can attest that Apocalipstick did not disappoint.

For those of you, who didn’t, you can follow the #CXC18 hashtag on social, and get a peek at what you missed!

And be on the lookout for Tampa Bay Fashion Week updates soon. After hitting the 10-year mark last year, we set new goals and plan to make it bigger than ever!

Follow us on social media ~ Twitter and Instagram @TBFashionWeek, on Facebook at: @tampabayfashionweek for updates.

Until next time,



TBFW2017 Recap!

In Designers, Events, Fashion, Trends, Updates on October 13, 2017 at 5:59 pm

This year, Tampa Bay Fashion Week entered the double-digits. We are 10-years-old people and if you didn’t catch us last week, we’ll catch you up on what you missed.

For those who don’t know, Fashion Week is a precious time where fashion week vets reconnect, newcomers network and we party in between. We’d love to say everything went off without a hitch because we’re just great but that would be fibbing.

We started the morning off with a prayer.


Well, because we’re a grateful bunch that believes in the power of the Almighty, but also because Hurricane Irma pushed our show two weeks back and we didn’t want any more problems.

As designers, models, volunteers, hair and makeup artists filed through and we ran into more hiccups, we sent God a couple more.

Backstage was a chaotic montage of hair, makeup and fittings. Models were practicing their runway poses and snapping photos for Instagram. Designers and retail brands were doing last minute fittings. The FWTB team members were shouting at each other over our walkie-talkies. In our defense, the music was on, guests had arrived and we couldn’t hear squat!

We were showing nine designers and retail brands in one night.

On one hand, we were in awe of ourselves because we started out showcasing local designers only. Then we grew to include national, then international designers. Now we were showcasing designers who’ve grown with us (shout out Elizabeth Carson Racker) and global brands (Banana Republic)!

On the other hand…did I mention we were showing nine designers and brands in one night? Not the most we’ve ever shown in one showing, but it has been awhile. And for some additional perspective, last year we showed five per day.

Understandably, more prayers entered the atmosphere.

Then the magic happened!

Take a peek at the smiling faces below.



Go to our Facebook page, Fashion Week Tampa Bay to see the lovely garments that graced the runway. Pandora kicked off our show followed by Lilly Pulitzer, Fabletics by TechStyle, Sopho by Alexandra Bougadis and Ohlendorf, atelier by Wendy Ohlendorf. After a brief intermission, out walked Banana Republic, Dolce Couture by Melissa Dolce, Free People and Elizabeth Carson Racker.

When you have a moment, please be sure to show some love to our 2017 Trendsetter sponsor and runway show venue host, International Plaza and Bay Street, as well as all of our other sponsors who have made this year’s event possible. We also hope you’ll consider supporting this year’s beneficiary, My FairyGodfathers Foundation, whose mission is to inspire happiness, strength, and confidence in girls and women who have faced adversity, through the magical experience of beauty.

Thank you for celebrating 10 years of fashion with us and coming along our #fashionisastory journey! Until next year loves!





An Interview With Stephanie Hayes ~ #FashionIsAStory

In Events, Fashion, Trends, Updates on September 21, 2017 at 3:51 am

A fashion followers favorite, Stephanie Hayes is the Features Editor at the Tampa Bay Times, overseeing all of the arts and entertainment coverage. She’s also one of the Deal Diva bloggers, writing for one of the region’s leading style blogs, Times Style, which provides the inside scoop on cool fashion, beauty and lifestyle finds and budget-friendly options for everyday people. In addition to her superb writing skills (she is a published author and wrote the book, Obitchuary), she has mad style game (you’ll see) and loves Beyonce just like every true style queen on the planet. Here’s a glimpse of Stephanie’s story…

What inspires you daily?
Never knowing exactly what my day is going to hold.

How did you pursue your career field?
I’ve always loved writing since I was a little kid, and I was determined to find a way to get paid for it. While going to community college and working at a record shop, I applied for an editorial assistant job at the Times. I’ve been here ever since, almost 15 years.

How do you or your organization help the Tampa Bay community?
We believe journalism is a cornerstone of democracy, and staying informed is the foremost thing anyone can do to participate in the community. In the features department, we keep readers informed about entertainment, art and fun things to do. But equally as important, in my mind, we put culture in context. Our critics and writers bring authority, thoughtfulness and experience to covering the music, movies, theater, fashion, visual art and pop culture that make our lives rich. It’s easy to tell you something exists. It’s more of a challenge to explore how and why something matters, and why you should pay attention.

How do you encourage creative thinking at the Tampa Bay Times?
In features, a team mentality is our jam. We have regular staff meetings to brainstorm ideas. Once a month, we all work within a prompt to come up with creative approaches to our work. What’s something you always wondered about? What’s a holiday story that hasn’t been written a million times? It’s amazing the connections you can make as a group if you just set aside regular time to talk. Also: snacks.

If you won a “Best Of” award, in what category would you win? (real or made-up category)
Best Karaoke Alone in the Car

A well-dressed person always has…

Describe your signature style in one sentence.
Sequins at noon are probably fine, right?

What piece of clothing do you wear every day or what item in your closet can you not live without?
My MAC matte lipstick in Russian Red. If you’re feeling a little meh, a swipe of red is the cure.

Do you have a favorite designer or which celebrity is your style icon?
I can’t afford it to actually wear this stuff, but if I’m scrolling runways on a lunch break, I stare at things that are a little extra. Zuhair Murad, Balmain. I’m inspired by women who dress like they aren’t afraid or hiding. I’d love to steal the wardrobe of Dr. Mindy Lahiri on The Mindy Project. In my own closet, I tend to have a lot of Betsey Johnson. I saw a BJ purse the other day with an actual telephone as the handle. I texted my friend: “I’ve never needed anything more or less.” One more note: required reading for anyone who wants to learn more about the roots of American fashion is Robin Givhan’s book, The Battle of Versailles.

What’s your favorite fashion trend?
I love high-low combinations. Sneakers with a cocktail dress, white tee with an embellished skirt, statement necklace with jeans. There are no rules.

Speed Round
Less or More? More!
Favorite Color? Peacock blue
Favorite Store? If I’m on a treasure hunt for some new stuff, probably Nordstrom Rack. But, secret: I get most of my work clothes at the excess inventory charity sales from Dress for Success, a nonprofit that I volunteer with.
Best spot to relax in the Tampa Bay region: Best kept secret you might walk right past: Marker 8 tiki bar in Dunedin.
Skinny Jeans or Bell Bottoms? You do you, but I’m a bit short for bell bottoms.
Heels or flats? Heels, flats in purse. Options!
Tie-dye, hot or not? Why not?
Dress, Skirt or Pants? A dress is the easiest way to fool people into think you’re fancy. It’s one and done.
Handbag, big tote, crossbody or tiny clutch? Clutch inside a big tote. Options!

Follow Stephanie on Instagram: @stephrhayes and Twitter: @stephhayes



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