Nicole Miller was in town yesterday to kick off the Philadelphia Collection — a 13-day series of local fashion events — with a celebration of the 19 most fashionable women in the city.
“I actually think Philadelphia is a lot less crunchy than other cities,” Miller said. “Some have gotten too casual. Here, people get a little more dressed up. Women like to dress pretty with a hip aspect.”
So why have we gotten such a bad sartorial rap?
“Philadelphia is in such close proximity to New York, I think there ends up being competition,” Miller said. “Places like Chicago and L.A. aren’t so close, so they don’t have to contend with that comparison.”
Miller may be biased — her father was born here and many of her relatives go “way back.”
“I have deep roots,” she said. But the iconic designer praised the city’s small secondhand stores.
“I’ve found inspiration here in the past from a vintage store and craft shop,” she said. “I used to shop at vintage stores in Manayunk often, but I’m never here just to shop anymore.”
Miller is quick to point out that she didn’t select the women recognized. “If I had to choose, I would make sure the women were doing something interesting,” she said. “I’d look for an independent spirit. Fashionable women create their own style. It’s all about confidence.”
Lisa Nutter, first lady of Philadelphia
Lauren Pronger, wife of Philadelphia Flyer Chris Pronger
Karen Dougherty Buchholz, Comcast VP
Bhavna Shyamalan, wife of director M. Night Shyamalan
Nicole Cashman, Cashman & Associates
Joan and Ellen Shepp, owners of Joan Shepp
Norinda Brown, Brown Betty Dessert Boutique
Beka Rendell, daughter-in-law of former governor
Nydia Han, Action News anchor
Risa Vetri Ferman, district attorney of Montgomery County
Sharon Quick, Rotary Club of Philadelphia
Rakia Reynolds, Skai Blue Media
Tina Wells, Buzz Marketing Group
Sabrina Tamburino Thorne, wife of auto-parts magnate Steve Thorne
Dr. DaCarla Albright, Penn Medicine
Lilliana Vazquez, fashion blogger
Holly Kinser, Wojdak & Associates
Alana Tosti, Philadelphia Wedding
Randee Janiszewski, Janiszewski Insurance Agency
‘Metro's top three’
Rakia Reynolds knows how to wear eye-popping pieces without veering into costume territory. She sobered up a pair of skintight David Bowie-style silver lame pants with a loose black t-shirt and blazer. Face framed by a cloud of her trademark kinky curls, Reynolds finished the quirky look with fingerless lace gloves, a bright red lip and a whimsical mini necktie strung from a delicate chain.
Nicole Cashman demonstrated the right way to sport this fall's color-blocking trend. She wore a wetsuit-inspired, body-conscious black shift with shocks of electric blue slicing across the cuffs and skimming the sides from waist to thigh. Cashman carried a classic quilted chain-strap purse, but kept the look from becoming stuffy with unfussy hair and makeup.
Beka Rendell artfully mixed uptown glamor with downtown cool. Dressed in a heather gray tee and black skirt, her chunky bejeweled collar elevated the wardrobe basics to a party-worthy ensemble. Styled with a messy ponytail (the intentional-cool kind of messy) and simple makeup, save a bold coral lip, Rendell looked effortlessly put together.
More on fashion:
Photos of the best- and worst-dressed of Philly
More with Miller: designer goes street, talks trends