Model wearing an Indo-Midwestern jacket designed by Koudre by Anuska at the High Fashion Tea Runway Show on Oct. 14. Credit: Tristan Relet-Werkmeister | Lantern Reporter

The High Fashion Tea Runway Show at the Columbus Museum of Art launched Fashion Week Columbus with wedding dresses and Indo-Midwestern formal clothes on Sunday.

This was the ninth edition of the show and featured the works of Gerardo Encinas from Encinas Designs, Juan Jose Saenz-Ferreyros from Ferreyros Life and Sam and Monica Pahouja of Koudre by Anushka, in a casual atmosphere with multiple tea tastings during the three shows.

“With any fashion, there’s always the perception of being elitist, being pretentious, being unattainable, but that’s what we fought against at Fashion Week Columbus,” said Thomas McClure, founder and executive director of FWC.

The afternoon started with a reception and a silent auction at 1 p.m., followed by the shows at 2 p.m. The 250 guests were seated at tables in the museum’s ballroom, a location chosen for its great lighting conditions, McClure said.

Koudre by Anushka, a brand specialized in Indo-western clothing, presented a formal-looking collection oriented for party wear, composed of “head-turning outfits,” co-designer Monica Pahouja said.

“A lot of designs [from other brands] have changed, they’re more for masses now and not restricted to one sort of culture,” Pahouja said.

Pahouja said she had to find the right combination of Indian and Midwestern influences to stand out. She also made sure the colors and cuts of the clothes would be appreciated by Western culture in the United States. Each piece required about 8 to 10 weeks to make.

An entire collection of wedding dresses was presented by Gerardo Encinas, a Mexican designer living in Columbus. He said he was inspired by women’s shapes, resulting in a “sexy but classy” collection.

As a nonprofit organization, McClure said FWC prides itself on providing a platform to showcase local and emerging designers. The selection of the 15 new designers started in February and was overseen by McClure.

McClure said FWC didn’t shape its events solely for the media.

“We do follow industry standards, but we also understand that we have to do things the Columbus way,” McClure said.

This year’s edition will include a new show, “Passport to Fashion,” focused on cultural design. A partnership with Macy’s will allow designers to sell limited editions of the clothes that were featured in their show.

A runway show per day will be organized until the finale on Saturday. Tickets are sold on starting at $10.