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April 09, 2011
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Swoonfest Saturdays ~ To Philly With Love

I'm writing today's post from Philly knowing that I will be back in NYC in about 3 hours to begin a jam packed weekend full of wedding fashion shows! Am I getting married, no not yet but I am focusing on bridal coverage for June and November! Yesterday Paul and I hopped on Amtrak to make our way to Philly to check out PIFA who had an AMAZING fashion show that ended with honoring well recognized designer, Ralph Rucci. Although, we were only here overnight, it's my hope to give you a touch of Philly and we plan on coming back for a long weekend so that we can share with you the merge of fashion, art and just fun palling around and next time we will do our own battle of the Philly Cheesecakes (Gino's vs Pats)! The gallery has various images from yesterday and you can follow along with my tweets by searching #PIFAPhilly and of course checking out @cocoabebe as well!

This trip wouldn't have been possible without a heads up and a massive organization from the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation and a huge shout out to Caroline who organized and connected me with PIFA as well as aranging our Amtrak transportation and staying at the Kimpton's, Hotel Palomar! We began our trip at Penn Station and in under an hour and a half we found ourselves at Philadelphia 30th Street Station. There's nothing like a quick and easy trip to board the train and to arrive in another city. In about another 10 minuted we arrived at the Hotel Palomar! Now I am a huge fan of the Kimpton (we remember that I spa'd at Ink 48 and have been there a number of times and have a love for their pet friendly nature) and this 230 room art deco hotel definitely didn't disappoint. Such a cozy and chic atmosphere complete with complimentary wine hours, in room spa service as well as internet access that is super easy to connect to! I loved some of the subtleties such as the decor in the elevators! It was nice to have a few hours of down time but with the rain having a field day outside, we stayed in for a bit and prepped for our night out.

PIFA is a series of days that focuses on arts and culture and is known as the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. On Thurs night the launched the entire series with a gala but we were heading to the Kimmel Center, which is a performing arts venue to attend Ralph Rucci's VIP reception as well as to see a Paris inspired fashion show. We walked into the center which was open to the public in one area and with another section that was reserved for press and attendees for the show. I'm always a fan of allowing fashion to be accessible in a way that still allows invited press to feel intimate about the presentation. Ralph Rucci is a Philadelphia native (graduate of Temple University and FIT) who became the first American designer in more than 60 years to be invited to show in Paris by the French Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture and he showed his designs in Paris for the next 3 seasons! He was being honored with the Visionary Awards for Fashion at the conclusion of the show. We nibbled on amazing apps and were able to see some of the designers who were going to be showing in moments. I so loved the Eiffel Tower that was part light show and part ambience of the event.

During the Fashion Show I was able to see 3 designers that I was already a fan of - Priscilla Costa, Jaames Nelson, Strange Fruit and Carmelita Martell (I want everything she makes) as well as being introduced to new designers that I fell in love with - hello Bela Shehu. This show allowed a number of established and university students to showcase 6 looks as they were competing for the opportunity to have an internship with Chado Ralph Rucci in New York! I can't wait to find out who won as many of the looks were stunning, innovative and filled with passion.

With such a night of fashion and the rain still coming down, we taxi'd back to the hotel but crossed the street to the Sofitel to stop in for a nibble at Liberte. Loved this cozy atmosphere and enjoyed seared tuna, mashed potatoes (which we believe had truffle oil in them) and spinach (of course I nibbled Paul's gnocci) and had the amazing Liberte signature cocktail which is Pear Vodka and St Germain - two of my favorite beverages together. A great night out means a great night in and getting up this morning to a sunny day reifies that we should definitely come back to show a number of boutiques throughout Philly in Rittenhouse Square (where we stayed - Boyd's is legendary) as well as in Old City (Carmelita Couture is here) so that you guys can come out to see all the items available! Enjoy the images!

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I also enjoyed the PIFA fashion show, it was a great experience. Out of the 9 designers my favorite was Jaames Nelson all the way!!! His designs were detailed, sophisticated, and sexy. As soon I returned home I pulled up his website: jaamesnelson.com

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