PRHFW - Fashion Week in Puerto Rico

Hello little muppets - wondering what in ze world PRHFW stands for? Well, since I just spent one lovely week in San Juan with my mom, I thought I'd honor that swell little Commonwealth by showing you all some highlights from Puerto Rico High Fashion Week 2009-2010. See? There are some great Puerto Rican designers and models, and the style is obviously different that what you would see at NYC, Paris, Milan or London because, well, Puerto Rico is HOT. And the people are CURVY. (Well, the women at least.)

I didn't know that much about Puerto Rican designers before I went there last week, but I made sure to read up on them and ask around a lot. Incorporating bits and pieces inspired by different cultures and vacations and people you meet is a great way to keep your own fashion sense fresh and new.
So without further ado, some memorable PRHFW moments

Tommie Hernandez is an FIT grad who interned at Daryl K’s Soho studio before returning to her motherland Puerto Rico to launch her own line of swimwear almost a decade ago. She has designed swimsuits for Miss Puerto Rico Universe and for Miss World Puerto Rico, Vanessa Minnillo and Caridee English.

Her latest collection of swimwear and coverups, aptly titled "bloom" featured pieces that are very playful and young, but also very form-conscious and flattering with some surprising hand-knit details in colors and prints that I would call 80's-tropical. If you visit Mayag├╝ez, check out her boutique/atelier, or check her out online at

REINALDO ALVAREZ has a couple boutique ateliers in Paris, but at heart he is Puerto Rican. He is also FIT educated, and worked for Oscar de la Renta designing accesories before opening up his first place in St. Thomas and eventually moving his operations to Paris in 1994, where he has been designing ever since. I think that his New York and French sensibilites are reflected in the blacks and modest pastels of his clothing, plus the very sophisticated tailoring, but his Puerto Rican fire peaks through in the splashes of hot pink or neon orange that adorn his clothing. For this Spring/Summer collection, most of the pieces are linen. The gorgeous, highly architectural wedding dress is organza. Sidebar: these pieces will set you back big time - prices start at 1800 EUROS. But just because you're on a diet doesn't mean you can't look at the menu, right?

One of my favorite designers from High Fashion Week is Silvia Tcherassi (, who is actually Columbian. In the biz for 15 years (she's still kind of a rookie by industry standards) she has shown in Milan and Paris, and is even trying her hand in the hotel business, with her first hotel set to open this year in Cartagena de Indias (don't feel bad if you don't know where that is, I had to look it up...It's in Colombia)

Her clothing is just so fluid and drapey, it has a life of its own and even in still shots from the runway, you can see how it moves so gracefully and beautifully. And the colors are variations of tropical pastels, but are really unlike a lot of the usual suspects you see going down everyone else's Spring/Summer runways - they are both washed out and vivid at the same time, they politely pop. On her website, her style is defined as rock n roll ballet. But, as they say, a picture's worth a thousand words:

(These pants reminded me of that diamond print Alexander McQueen did a couple of seasons ago.)

Another favorite is Pipo Pere. He is a native Puerto Rican, and I am absolutely IN LURVE with his Oriental Gardens Bamboo Spring/Summer Collection. Everything is so structural and deliberate, but so wearable! I would wear every single piece. The colors range from vivid orangey-red to azure to pale blushing pink in silks, organza and charmeuses.

A few more notables:

Ecliptica - Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds Collection:

Lisa Thon - Eco-Lor Collection - This collection is very Little-Mermaid-Chic. Isn't that every girl's dream?

Keila Hernandez - The Pearls Collection

Check out the rest at

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