Two of the larger runway shows were emceed by Amanda Perna, who appeared on “Project Runway” twice, first in 2011 for Season 9 and then in 2015 for Season 14. Before that, she interned at Oscar de la Renta and worked at Calvin Klein.
“So the thing that I think is the biggest benefit for all the hairstylists, designers and boutiques in town,” Perna says, “is the fact that it’s a sense of community. It’s a way for all of us to see what each other is doing, help each other, network. I make dresses. You make shoes. We can all collaborate and celebrate all the talented people that are all right here in our own little town.”
One of those boutiques, Nina Raynor, participated for the first time. The store that focuses on eveningwear and special-event dressing was opened in 1958, across the street from where it is now at 1031 E. Atlantic Avenue. Nina Raynor sold her eponymous store in 1983 to the parents of Cathy Sauer and Bobby Wollenberg, who now run it.
“Well, we wanted to participate and give our support to the city,” Sauer says. “They work so hard on this event every year. And it’s our 60th anniversary in Delray on Atlantic Avenue. We’re one of the original businesses here. We hope we can introduce some new customers to our [boutique].”
Her brother and co-owner Wollenberg adds, “And how can you not fall in love with these beautiful clothes?”
For Perna, not only was Delray Beach Fashion Week an opportunity to give a sneak peek of her new hippie-chic brand Neon Bohemians (which officially launches this summer), but to give students she’s been teaching at the after-school program Space of Mind (at 102 N. Swinton Avenue) a turn on the catwalk wearing their own designs.
“I feel like a proud momma. I’ve been teaching a fashion class. … at Space of Minds Schoolhouse right here in Delray Beach, downtown, and I have three kids who are being showcased tomorrow. They made their pieces, the first thing they’ve ever sewn and they’re going to be showing it on the runway. I feel so proud. And I can’t believe that they actually created all these things themselves.”