What Happens on the Runway

HEIDI-BMetroAprilA Designer’s View on Fashion Week

By Heidi Elnora


As a designer, I am constantly pushing myself and my designs to the next level. We all have to start at some level, and as we learn and grow, our collections do the same. Being a good designer is more than just designing what you like or what you feel is an upcoming trend; rather, it’s about focusing on the consumer and what your clients really want and need. A great place for designers to release their creativity is on the runway. There are no limits, and often, the more avant-garde the show, the more press you receive. (Good press or bad press—at the end of the day, it’s still press.) As for the consumer, you usually only get to see garments off the runway in press-related photos. When you have the opportunity to see the garment on the runway, it truly comes to life.

Birmingham Fashion Week is an excellent way for brides to see my latest bridal collection, and to see how the gowns float down the runway. Often, brides find themselves pulling pages from magazines or pinning images on Pinterest, but we rarely get the chance to see a gown in person before setting up an appointment to try it on. My worlds collide at BFW; my heart for fashion is able to pair up with my passion for bridal couture.

When I decided to start Birmingham Fashion Week four years ago, alongside my dear friend Jeana Lee Thompson, I wanted for fashion to have a home in Birmingham. We desperately needed a platform for fashionable creativity. It is amazing to see all of the talent and fresh perspectives of the fashion industry now emerging on the scene. Birmingham Fashion Week has established itself as a token southern fashion statement. Those of us who have the dream of attending Mercedes Benz Fashion week in New York City now have our fix. We can experience the world of high fashion and haute couture without having to leave the south. Designers like Tibi and Project Runway stars have all made the journey down to Birmingham to get in on the action. But BFW is not just a tourist attraction; it is a work of art. Each show has been imagined, designed, and plotted from its very beginning. Behind each garment is a story, and each piece has a history. For the Birmingham Fashion Week attendee to fully understand each collection, he or she must understand the roots.

Designers find inspiration everywhere. For my 2013 collection and Birmingham Fashion Week 2013 show, I found my inspiration on the plane on the way home from Paris as I was watching the film Snow White and the Huntsman. I decided to use a song featured in the film called “Breath of Life” (by Florence and the Machine) to create the heartbeat for my show. I wanted the feel of this show to be breathtaking, powerful, and dark. The models wore very pale base makeup, with extravagant lip color and untamed hair. The finale featured an amazing set of deer antlers (provided by my dad) affixed to the top of my model’s head. The audience was truly engaged with every single look that was presented on the runway.

This year, my show at Birmingham Fashion Week 2014 will be entirely different. Guests will find themselves tangled in a love story. If you have never seen a true couture runway show, then this is one show that you will not want to miss! Tickets are currently on sale at bhamfashionweek.com/tickets.

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