Funkshion: Miami's Many Faces, For Better or Worse

Judging from the looks that walked the runways at Funkshion this weekend, the rest of the world thinks of Miami as a hybrid of Orlando and Las Vegas. There was the glitzy, showgirly Miami; the bikini-thonged Miami; and a touching, refreshing salute to Haitian culture in Miami. For better or for worse, this was Miami -- both how the global consciousness perceives it, and what it actually is.

This year's Funkshion events were held not on Miami Beach but at the architectural Moore Building in the Design District. The event gingerly teetered on the border between the expected (an open bar and free cupcakes) and the unusual (Hypnotic Prosecco Blueberry cocktails and an open RSVP and door policy without a sign of a list in sight). And the designs followed suit.

LA GlamRock, the first of three shows, was exactly what it sounded like. If you're thinking of rhinestones, mermaid gowns, and high class Vegas escorts with two-inch

roots and unintentionally ombre hair, bingo. You nailed it. There

didn't appear to be a working theme to the show, and there were no notable designers

of reference. But, these looks would be slamming around a tiny club

table and poppin' bottles. Different strokes for different folks,



up was Wet Couture Swimwear by Angelina Petraglia from New Jersey and

Tampa. Frankly, this was a very enjoyable show, because boobs and butts

are very enjoyable. The models, who never quite walked to the end of the

runway, were more of the Sports Illustrated variety and less of the

skinny runway kind.


styling of this show was appropriate for Miami beach looks: a

pulled-together look with black mules, natural afros, and oversized

snakeskin clutches.

"Girls are always looking to

standout from other girls as far as bikinis and bathing suits have

become the new outfits," said Petraglia standing outside the venue

shortly after the show. "The more outrageous they are, the more girls are

drawn to do something different." One would most certainly have to be going for outrageous if they chose to don one of these pieces. Perhaps the bikini with "Money" in graffiti across the chest and butt

would help you to stand out from other girls this season?

Haiti a La Mode! closed the show in a touching tribute to Haiti's

fashion renaissance, with emerging designers and authentic culture as spun by

its own people. The showcase

opened with a trio of traditional dancers.

The first show was beautifully tailored, with a nod to an optimistic future for the nation. It was a hopeful and lovely presentation. The models

looked confident, and beautiful; the upside-down French braids on the

models with longer hair was by far the best beauty look of the evening.


that time, the crowd had knocked back a good number of Prosecco and Hypnotic

cocktails, but there was more than one audience member with tears in their


Ultimately, Friday's Funkshion fashions were all about identity. Who does Miami want to be?

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Patricia Guarch Wise