Miami Fashion Week is finally here. Kicking off May 30, Miami locals will get a taste of New York, London, and Milan with new programming, exclusive designer collections, and first time CFDA recognition. Revealing an evolved program positioning Miami Fashion Week as a culturally poignant event boasting new partnerships and never-before-seen collections, this glam, week-long extravaganza is set to be the go to party of the year. So Ocean Drive sat down with Miami Fashion Week's Creative Director, Lourdes Fernández-Velasco, to hear more about eight vibrant 2018 Resort collections from international designers, what events Miami fashionistas have to look forward to, and why this show stopping runway is now the second largest fashion week in the United States. Read on for more.
Lourdes, as the Creative Director for Miami Fashion Week, could you tell our Ocean Drive readers about the exclusive fashion events coming up?
Lourdes Fernández-Velasco: We are truly excited about what's to come and believe the 2018 edition will be our best yet! This year we went over the top, almost doubling the number of designers from our previous two years. As the only Fashion Week in the U.S. to exclusively showcase never-seen-before Resort collections, this year guests of Miami Fashion Week will get a glimpse of top designers from six different countries and three different continents, all of which have very different techniques, backgrounds, cultures and inspirations.
This season is also our first year having an exclusive runway show outside our main venue, which is very exciting, and our parties will be even bigger than previous years, and full of surprises!
What do local Miami fashion icons have to look forward to? And which designers will be showcased on the runway?
LF: Where to even begin! I believe all the designers we have on board this year are ones to look out for and I am looking forward to seeing their resort collections come to life on the runway.
Oscar Carvallo will be the opening fashion show on May 30 which is going to be massive, taking place at Brickell City Centre. The following day and for the remaining shows, all runway presentations will take place at our main venue, The Ice Palace.
Joining the Miami Fashion Week roster for the first time includes Benito Santos from Mexico who will be debuting in Miami, as well as three Colombian designers including Daniella Batlle, Carolina Estefan and Lina Cantillo. Additionally, on Sunday, we will jump into our charity heart hosting Fundación Iluminemos de Azul for Autism with a kids collection from designer Pamela de Haro.
Coming back, who we are thrilled to have for second time, includes iconic U.S. designer and Miami-based fan favorite Rene Ruiz with his new brand, “RENE by RR,” the stunning Nicaraguan designer Shantall Lacayo, and of course, fabulous Spanish designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, who never fails to surprise us. Additionally we will have a glorious runway by Custo Barcelona and for an epic closing, we will see once again at Miami Fashion Week, Ángel Sánchez.
Do you have a favorite collection and can you give our Ocean Drive readers a sneak peek?
LF: This is a very tough decision as all the designers showing are very different from each other. I can’t really say I have a favorite, however, I will note that I am very excited about Rene Ruiz debuting his new brand, “RR by Rene.” He’s a Miami favorite having been here for years and his loyal clientele will definitely see a collection that will be full of surprises. Let’s just say… he’s putting his glam spin on casual resort wear, and using eco-friendly materials.
In the end though, I'll leave it to the crowd to choose their favorite!
Will local Miami supermodels be featured in the shows?
LF: This year's casting was the best we've seen. Seeing the model caliber change from one year to the next has been very exciting and it’s grown from those who are based here in Miami to those who are globe-model-trotters. Audiences will get a sneak peek of the model casting process as we produce the second edition of the TV Show "First Faces", which is a model competition we launched earlier this month and gives you an all-access look at the two days of casting. It’s produced by our in-house TV Production division. We are still waiting for the competition's results but I'm pretty sure we will have a Miami model among the finalists!
Additionally, joining Miami Fashion Week 2018 is the beautiful Valeria Mazza who is an Argentinian model and will be hosting the Miami Fashion Week Summit.
Recently recognized as the second largest fashion event in the US - showcasing established and emerging international designers - how did Miami Fashion Week come to carry this title?
LF: We had three main elements when it came to relaunching MIAFW's image.
First of all, we needed to relaunch the image as a whole, new team, completely new board members, Antonio Banderas as our Honorary President, new logo, new everything! Secondly, and a very important factor, was to develop a strong and solid content strategy, which is how we first got involved with Miami Fashion Week. Lastly, we needed to create the right alliances in order to position the brand in the fashion industry. We brought along master of the catwalk Sergio Salerni, who directs Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi and many other runway shows, as well as bringing on Esther Garcia from ESMA, who is remarkable in the organization of the runways and her talent in castings. Additionally, we have Barbara Hulanicki, the British fashion icon who created Biba as part of the Miami Fashion Week family. We also did strategic associations with the CFDA, la Camera Nazionale della Moda, British Fashion Council and Asociasion Creadores de Moda de España.
Of course, I started creating relationships among the community, and have come to meet amazing people that have been without a doubt fundamental in the growth of Miami Fashion Week, “the brand,” such as designer Rene Ruiz, Pamela Fuertes from Beacon Council, and many, many others that I can't name now because we would fill a full page!
How does it feel to have CFDA’s recognition on the fashion calendar?
LF: It's incredible! I sometimes still don't believe it, and while it's a great milestone and amazing recognition, it comes with great responsibility. Miami is definitely up for becoming the next big fashion capital in the world. The city has made it in the arts industry with December’s annual Art Basel and a constant rotation of art and lifestyle events throughout the year. Fashion is a natural next step that will for sure follow, all in due time and with great dedication.
Tell us about Miami Fashion Week's Honorary President, Antonio Banderas and the Benefit Gala?
LF: Antonio is simply amazing. Not only is he obviously extremely talented as an actor, and a great pride for Spain and the Latin community, but he really is a true visionary. He is brilliant, sharp, humble, a true entrepreneur and most importantly an amazing human being. He is so committed to Miami Fashion Week and the city as a whole, it is unbelievable. His agenda and Miami schedule is the craziest thing I have ever seen. From the minute he lands in Miami until the minute he leaves, he is 100% dedicated to making sure that each year we grow, and that generally speaking, Miami Fashion Week continues to be an unstoppable success.
People ask: "Is he back this year?", and I get confused when they do. He IS Miami Fashion Week. For example, the Miami Fashion Week Summit and the Benefit Gala, which are the two most important events after the runways, have been ideas that came from him.
Introducing a Master Class Series in partnership with Miami Fashion Institute at Miami Dade College with the support of the Knight Foundation, what will this program be focused on?
LF: This year we are launching the Miami Fashion Week Summit as a “brand,” which will take place in the mornings of Miami Fashion Week. The intention of the summit is to further develop Miami's fashion industry with a conscious component. We are true believers in educating the masses and we want people to be informed and also debate on important issues that are vital to the successes of the fashion landscape.
An annual summit that will take place each year during Miami Fashion Week, the talks will tackle different aspects of the fashion industry. This year we will be dedicating all of our talks about sustainability and ethical issues, and are welcoming Sass Brown from Dubai. While it's a growing topic, there is still a general lack of knowledge on it, so we want to make sure that we leverage on the great media attraction that Miami Fashion Week drives and use it towards this ultimate means and help in our capacity to make the world a little better. Those who will be in attendance will learn a great deal and become more aware of the future of the fashion industry.
Will Antonio be leading a lecture?
LF: While Antonio is truly passionate about the topic, and I am sure he will be in attendance as a guest, he doesn't see himself as someone who can give a lecture on the topic. Like he always says, he's learning. He is very humble, respects each and every one of the designers that take part in MIAFW tremendously, and the speakers of the summit as well.
As the creative director, has your ultimate vision come to life?
LF: Not at all, we’ve just gotten started! We’ve got great momentum and are still shaping what Miami Fashion is to the world. It is definitely a work-in-progress and for what we envision, what we are dedicated to turning this into for the world, as well as the impact for the fashion industry and the Miami landscape is going to take time.
Miami Fashion Week is an all-year-round commitment. We are constantly making sure that we keep surrounding ourselves with amazing people that understand that if we all join forces, we can all build an incredible industry for our community and for the world to pay attention to.
How do you see Miami Fashion Week growing in the future?
LF: In so many ways! Miami is a global city that has become a platform for international fashion designers and it is destined to become one of the most important fashion hubs in the world! The city will always share the vacation, cruise, easy jet-setting allure, and in a sense, those who dream and those who live this lifestyle look to Miami as a fashion resort model for their own lives. We intend to take Miami Fashion Week to the top and even beyond resort. We want to bring more designers from more countries, and look forward to showing the world what Miami can give to the fashion industry.
We have two other platforms already in the oven, which I hope we will announce in 2019! This is just the beginning...