BY SHEENA BARNETT
TUPELO – Hundreds cheered for sleek suits, flashy furs and a plus-sized model at the 2008-2009 Ebony Fashion Fair.
This year’s fair, sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., took place Sunday at the Tupelo Furniture Market. The theme for this year was “The Runway Report,” with special scenes dedicated to the most fashionable styles, colors and fabrics.
Despite the recession, snowy morning weather and the fair traveling to nearby cities like Columbus, the Tupelo show was a success, said AKA member Jackie Smith.
“We’ve had a very good turnout,” she said.
Usually the fashion fair comes to Tupelo once every two years, but this is the first year the AKA has hosted it two years in a row.
“We’re having a wonderful year,” Smith said.
Nettie Davis, a member of AKA and the Tupelo City Council, thanked the audience.
“We work very hard to make this a success,” she said.
This is the 12th time the Ebony Fashion Fair has come to Tupelo, Davis said.
It was a model, not an outfit, that drew the biggest applause of the night.
The fashion show’s full-figure model, Phonicial Washington, won rave reviews as she strutted down the runway in a green Mark Bouwer dress.
“(Washington) proves women larger than a size four can definitely work the runway,” said the show’s commentator Jada Collins.
Furs were a big part of many of the outfits of the night.
One of the more outstanding pieces was an orange metallic leather vest with a dyed-to-match fox fur collar made by designer Rubin Singer.
A transparent evening gown embellished with strategically placed black beads drew some “oohs” from the crowd. The dress is from the haute couture collection of Italian designer Sarli.
Bright red was featured in many outfits, but it drew the most attention when a male model wore an almost entirely red outfit.
“Seeing a man in a bright shade of red is like seeing a horse of a different color,” Collins said.
Peaches, purples, creams, mustards, pinks and grays were all popular hues on the runway.
The Ebony Fashion Fair is the world’s largest traveling fashion show.