Late show distinctly different from anything else in Omaha Fashion Week

Michaela Cawley, an Omaha native whose swimwear line, KKini, has been featured in Vogue UK and is available in boutiques around the country, opened the night with a collection of mostly bikinis — some neon, some embroidered, some in shimmery fabrics.


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Friday, the fifth night of Omaha Fashion Week, featured two shows.

The first featured collections of one swimwear designer, as well as four guest designers. Michaela Cawley, an Omaha native whose swimwear line, KKini, has been featured in Vogue UK and is available in boutiques around the country, opened the night with a collection of mostly bikinis — some neon, some embroidered, some in shimmery fabrics.

She was followed by guest designers Borris Powell, Patrick T. Cooper, Paulie Gibson and John Bartlett, who draw their livelihood from fashion. Bartlett's menswear line, Consensus, is available at Younkers. The four guest designers will mentor local designers on the business side of fashion over the course of the next few days, said Omaha Fashion Week founder Nick Hudson.

“That's just really, really valuable,” he said.

It was the second show, though, that really wowed.

Buf Reynolds and Dan Richters — designers who have been involved with Omaha Fashion Week since the event's inception in 2008 — produced the show, designing the set, lighting and music. Each also showed an avant-garde collection.

Omaha Fashion Week

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Both the clothing and the atmosphere in which it was shown was distinctly different from anything else Omaha Fashion Week audiences had seen this week.

The event took place on the west end of the huge tent at Capitol Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets, in a space that Reynolds and Richters have been staging all week. The runway was circular, made of black sand, and ringed by votive candles. The soundtrack was ambient operatic music performed live.

As the music started, four dancers entered the center of the runway, where they climbed into a pod made of some kind of black, stretchy material, which writhed and pulsed throughout the rest of the show.

Reynolds showed the first collection — a series of flowing, Grecian gowns, often with plunging backs and high slits in the sides. All of the gowns also included a welded metal element, generally in the form of a breast plate. Some had cutouts; one had winglike elements at the shoulders.

Richters followed with a collection of intricate, weird and impressive dresses made of latex, a material he's used in his past several collections. As he was working on this collection, he discovered a way to make the material more consistent in its thickness. The short, form-fitting, revealing dresses he showed Friday were thus more refined than the ones he's shown previously. And they were awe-inspiring in their detail. One gown was covered in what appeared to be some hybrid of feathers or scales or pieces of armor. Other pieces included fringe, spikes, moldings and in one case, a huge sculpted collar — all made of latex.

Richters' show featured another surprise — models Nicole Keimig and Toni Bentley both walked in his show. Both women recently returned from working in Asia, and Bentley will leave Tuesday to work in London.

Both Richters and Reynolds will show their collections again tonight during the Omaha Fashion Week finale show, as will Cawley. The show will take place under the tent on Capitol Avenue and will begin at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at www.omahafashionweek.com.

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