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Williamsburg Fashion Weekend Kicks Off 10th Season

By Meredith Hoffman | February 16, 2012 4:21pm

WILLIAMSBURG — Fashion Week may be drawing to a close in Manhattan, but a weekend full of style is just getting started in Brooklyn.

Local designers are getting ready to unleash their latest designs in the 10th season of Williamsburg Fashion Weekend.

"They're literally clothes that are being made right now. They got designed like three weeks ago," said Fashion Weekend founder Arthur Arbit. "That's how it works. It's like really fresh stuff."

The event, to kick off Friday and Saturday at Glasslands Gallery, will feature 10 designers' work and will incorporate video, dance, audience participation, and the stylists themselves.

From "ready to wear clothes for the office or the Oscars," to avant-garde "body coverings," anything goes, Arbit said.

He's even giving one designer, Uta Brauser, a full 40 minutes for her show.

"I'm not exactly sure what's going to happen," Arbit admitted.

Surprises are nothing new for Arbit. A few years ago, a designer acted out a murder on stage.

"He did a simulation of getting killed by models in his clothes," Arbit said, referring to Mark Tauriello, who is also in this year's Fashion Weekend. "There was fake blood and everything."

Arbit encourages participants to express freedom, so long as they share his vision for local, eco-conscious manufacturing and meticulous artisanship.

Among the designers to be featured are: the "flowy, soft Southern" Stephanie Hinson; the more "edgy, angular" Bulgarian Nathalie Kraynina; the poppy, bright, political Marco Santoniello with skirts made from T-shirts in DIY style; and the whimsical, feminine Andrea Diodati, whose show at last year's event "still gives me goosebumps," Arbit said.

"I can't say, like 'beiges are in this year,' or 'crinked leather is in,'" said Arbit, laughing. "It's all personal."

Beyond the free-spirited designs, Arbit said Fashion Weekend is still a business. That's why he tries to ride the wave of Fashion Week across the river and into the weekend.

The show is personal for Arbit, too. A designer himself — Arbit started a line called King Gurvy — he sometimes shows his work at the show.

Williamsburg Fashion Weekend, scheduled for Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at Glasslands, charges $10 at the door and offers the first 100 guests each night free gift bags.