Earlier this month, hundreds filled a large, European-style auditorium inside the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Along the runway, women decked in fur and high heels leaned forward, eager for the start of Andres Aquino's show (see, "The Designer Behind Fashion Week").
It began with a performance by the award-winning soprano singer Christina Fontanelli and a model wearing a fine Victorian-style dress featuring lace, pearls, and flowers.
Titled 'Fantaisie Nocturne," Aquino's six-part series featured women dressed exquisitely for a night out. Each piece displayed bright colors, as well as elegant details like crystals, lace or floral accents.
The collection also enticed the audience with trilling theatrical performances including award-winning ballroom dancers Ting Ting and Raymond. Singers Veronica Lovan, Tyler Merell, and Carole Bufford took the stage with cellist Gjilberta Gelaj, followed by a troupe of contemporary dancers.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Aquino started fashion photography after college, eventually becoming a full-time international photographer. In 1997, he started Fashion Syndicate Press, a leading fashion photography agency, and in 2003, launched Couture Fashion Week.
As the director of Couture Fashion Week, his goal is to make fashion accessible to wider audiences, diverging from the invitation-only model of New York Fashion Week. Both shows in February and September are open to the public.