Originally posted Thursday, January 15, 2015 by Tampa Bay Times:
Moving away from Tampa Bay Fashion Week may boost the profile of Cocktails X Couture
Robbyn Mitchell, Times Staff Writer
Flamboyance and fierceness will be on tap Saturday night at The RITZ Ybor as the venue kicks off the year in fashion with the Cocktails X Couture event.
Eight local designers will showcase small collections on an 24-foot by 8-foot runway specially constructed for the evening in the Ritz’s theatre. There will be live performances by musicians, dancers and showcases of art.
“Our theme this year deals with gender identity but it’s not an overarching banner,” said Okesene Tilo, a spokesman (and event organizer) for The RITZ Ybor. “We will have themed cocktails for each room of the venue including male and female interpretations of the Moscow Mule.”
Sassy drink names like Gin Kardashian and Whiskey Brinkley are just the start of the interesting offerings for Saturday’s event. The RITZ Ybor in partnership with Tribeca Color Salon has been hosting the Cocktails and Couture party during Tampa Bay Fashion Week since 2012. Fashion week organizers decided to postpone 2014’s event in favor of spreading the fashion love to other months.
“The idea was to move the party away from Fashion Week to January so there would be fashion week events all year long,” Tilo said.
Tribeca will be styling the manes of all the show models. Sponsor Kevin Murphy will be providing hair product swag bags for all VIP ticket holders. The $50 VIP admission includes reserved seating nearest to the runway and two drink tickets.
The RITZ crew spent six months planning the event, which is expected to have more than 800 attendees. Kicking off at 8 p.m., there will be three runway shows featuring entertainment and designers. The final show at 10:30 p.m. will be an avant garde extravaganza, Tilo said.
“It’s going to be very Lady Gaga — some sexy moments but nothing too racy,” Tilo laughed. Some Little Monsters will even be wearing their Sunday best to the cocktail-attire event.
Cocktails X Couture is one of several events that The RITZ Ybor donates the proceeds to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Last year, the venue raised $105,000.00 for the charity through various events.
Photos by Aimee Blodgett, Rafael Martin + Rion Sabean