The Omaha Fashion Week finale Saturday night featured looks from 12 of the best collections shown earlier in the week. It also drew hundreds of spectators — so many people attended the finale that Omaha Fashion Week staff rushed to set up extra chairs as the tent on Capitol Avenue between 10th and 11th streets filled up.
Hollie Hanash, Susan Ludlow, Angela Balderston, Jenny Pool, Michaela Cawley, Maximillian Suiter, Terri Buckner, Sara Gadeken, Fella Vaughn, Juantiesha Christian, Kate Walz, and duo Buf Reynolds and Dan Richters were selected from the 26 designers who participated in this year's shows to present again during the finale. Among the best this year:
» Ludlow's collection of crocheted children's clothing. Her dresses in particular were impressive, whimsical, age-appropriate and unbelievably cute. My favorite was a pink number with a full skirt and two intricately crocheted flamingos on the back. The full, tutu-style skirt was made to look like feathers.
» Pool's avant garde collection that symbolized breaking free. All her models wore very similar gowns in colors ranging from pale yellow to pink. The first model's gown and arms were bound and she wore a large headpiece; each model who followed her was progressively more free. It was a beautiful and interesting concept, and the gowns were lovely, too.
» Jillian Fellers didn't show in Saturday's finale, but her elegant, gorgeously made bridal collection was one of the very best of the week. Fellers, who made her Omaha Fashion Week debut in February, has since been featured on Huffington Post Weddings and elsewhere, and she plans to show her collection again at Kansas City Fashion Week in October.
» Walz, everyone's favorite 16-year-old designer, wowed audiences with her unbelievably romantic ballet-inspired collection. Walz knows how to strike a balance between hard and soft, and her structured bodices and wiggle skirts in sweet pastel colors were the best of both.
» Reynolds and Richters — Omaha designers who have been part of Omaha Fashion Week since the very beginning — produced their own show on Friday night, and it featured live music, a modern dance troupe, a runway made of black sand and a sculptural black backdrop, against which they each showed a collection. Reynolds' presentation featured romantic, flowing and sometimes revealing gowns. Each also had a bodice made at least partially of metal, which Reynolds welded. Richters, who has been creating sci-fi-inspired gowns from latex for several years, did so again. This collection was his most intricate yet, and it featured short, clinging latex gowns, made more interesting by added fabric inlays and molded elements. His collection was selected as the best of the year, which couldn't have come as a surprise to many.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to "Buckner's collection of crocheted children's clothing." The listed designer should have been Susan Ludlow.