New York designer Bibhu Mohapatra once again returned to Houston and graced us with another wonderful collection. His Spring 2015 ready-to-wear collection was inspired by British writer, heiress and political activist- Nancy Cunard (1896-1965). Bibhu had been on a Cunard ocean liner a couple years back and read about her in the ship’s library. He recalls being enthralled by her philanthropist lifestyle and style. Her style was very eclectic, as she favored large African-inspired statement jewelry made from mainly natural materials, such as: wood, bone and ivory. She was known for stacking large bracelets on both arms, from wrist to elbow. The necklaces she wore consisted of bulky cubes, taking on a hint of ‘Cubism.’ Mohapatra’s collection was his view on how he thinks Nancy would dress if she were alive today. Geometric patterns, leather and vintage (notably the 20s/Art Deco period) silhouettes were very prominent in the collection. All the looks were powerful, modern and feminine, while taking on an air of Nancy Cunard’s legacy.
Rebecca Minkoff flew in from New York City to present her Spring/Summer 2015 collection, inspired by Deborah Turbeville- a fashion photographer who was known for turning the otherwise light and whimsical art of fashion photography and turning it into more dark and melancholy beauty. She would manipulate her negatives by scratching, tearing or dirtying them up; as well as fade the color or deliberately overexpose them. Minkoff sent easy breezy bohemian pieces, along with her signature handbags down the runway. Some of the looks also gave off a subtle 70s vibe. A fringed moto jacket, reversible moto jacket, crisp blue and white with blue strip shirt-dresses stood out as key pieces in my opinion.
Houston Community College alum Jo’se (Jio’zei) Reyes’s collection took on an all new meaning to the “in charge” mantra. Structured suiting in dark hues were key elements in the collection. Geometric cut-outs and edgy color-blocking were strong points, while Reyes also took risks by including risqué slits in numerous garments. Regardless of the sensuality of some of the looks, Reyes still nailed the powerful “take charge,” strong career wear.
During intermission, pop/soul singer and songwriter- Ashley Toman took to the stage and performed a couple of her hit songs.
New Yorker Rolando Santana also returned to Houston to showcase his Spring/Summer 2015 collection, inspired by one of his favorite painters- Mark Rothko. The collection wasn’t a literal take on Rothko’s paintings, rather it adhered more to the simplicity of his work, the overall color-blocking and a hint of ‘Cubism.’ Lovely pastels played with darker hues on 40s/50s style dresses, flared skirts and bouncy blouses. Santana also took to toying with multiple textures, such as: fur, sequins, silks, etcetera. It was quite a pretty collection and I’m excited to see what Rolando brings to Houston next year.
Houston’s very own Project Runway darling- Chloe Dao was the last designer to headline night three. Of course, her Spring 2015 collection ‘The Building Block’ was undoubtedly a crowd-pleaser. Chloe goes on to state that, “The designs are meant to be staples in your closet. It was about building the perfect wardrobe for a woman. Within the collection, there were a lot of classic ‘must have’ pieces, such as a luxurious silk striped dress shirt, a sultry off-the- shoulder dress and a the ultimate skirt.” Chloe opted for timeless silhouettes, but added little touches of her own (such as fresh fabric choices). The ‘WOW pieces’ that seemed to get the most rave from the audience were the finale dresses in a gorgeous floral fabric. I also loved the long wrapped striped shirt dress, so crisp and clean. Check out chloedao.com for additional information. Be sure to also stop by her boutique in Rice Village if you are local to Houston (6127 Kirby Drive Houston,TX 77005).