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New Mexico Fashion Week 2016 – Night One
Cesar Galindo Fall 2016 Live Lookbook Presentation
“Alchemy” at the MATCH: Featuring Chester Paul Roberts
Kaleidoscope: Imaginarium
Kaleidoscope: Jet Set
Kaleidoscope: Urbanity
Instagram Re-Boot with Sofia Emm

New Mexico Fashion Week 2016 – Night One

This year marked the third year of New Mexico Fashion Week. Albuquerque’s premier fashion event once again took place at the convention center, and over the course of two spectacular nights of runway shows. The founder of NMFW, Melissa Beasley, hopes to grow New Mexico’s fashion industry and help create jobs for people across the state. Again, I love that, unlike a lot of fashion weeks I’ve been to, the folks at New Mexico Fashion Week only brought in designers that were local to the state. ALSO, that the models on the runway represented different cultural backgrounds (like Navajo American Indian) and were a variety of different shapes, sizes, and ages.

Both nights were hosted by Gabrielle Torrez, who was Miss Albuquerque 2014 and Miss Bernalillo County 2015. The runway layout was different this year, as it was longer and more intimate. According to New Mexico Fashion Week, “The runway show plays out in harmony with the underlying meaning of the 2016 Pantone colors, Rose Quartz and Serenity. It exudes an essence of connection between audience and ensembles as we bring the two closer together physically with a longer, more intimate runway layout. Bringing the audience closer together with the runway will also allow everyone to feel an interweaving wellness with the garments and accessories around them, much like how the coming together of Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of peace. Pantone’s reference to the ‘gender blur’ has always been present within the fashion industry, and has been carried over into our event. New Mexico Fashion Week is a comforting, welcoming entity that embraces all genders, ages, and sizes while encouraging everyone to let their creativity flow and express it freely without judgment.”

Before the runway shows, guests were able to shop the Fashion Expo- where six designers had booths set up. That way, guests were able to meet the designer and shop as they wish. My favorite booth was Vanilla Pudding by Nikki. Nikki Delaney creates adorable retro/vintage-inspired aprons for both sexes, and children; while using unique fabrics and notions. I really like that she offers a Route 66 themed apron, available in men’s and women’s. Nikki was also a guest from the New Mexico Autism Society and 3rd Annual Project Connect Fashion Show 2015 Albuquerque Apparel Center Choice Winner.

The designer lineup for night one was: Atelier Danielle, Bossarolla, Kendra Grace Designs, Lovato Eyecare, Orlando Dugi and Penny Singer.

Before the designer presentations, we were introduced to a handful of mini-collections from student designers from Santa Fe Community College. Ebbie Edmonston’s line was inspired by many different military styles. “In the years and months leading to election day, the media encourages us to pick a side and fight for “the cause,” making many of us feel defensive of our views and beliefs. I hope my line acts as a sort of armor and a focal point to draw the conversation down a different path,” she further explained. Richard Blake’s line focused on beauty from the inside out. He wants people to be comfortable in their own skin; and a good place to start is being comfortable in your clothes. He focuses on knits that can be worn around town and as workout wear. Etagu Wondimu is from Ethiopia and likes to incorporate some of her native textiles into each garment. She is trying to help her community in Ethiopia, by purchasing handmade fabrics to use in her work. Vanessa Quintana has a passion for the pin-up girl. Her style is classic with a splash of color shown in the patterns and fabrics she uses. Lastly, Rose Wiley started by making stylish gym clothing and has moved on to a line of geometric dresses. Her line is very clean; with simple lines and calming colors that help to showcase her talent as a seamstress. (Thank you Ebbie for the additional information on the designers.)

The first designer of the evening was Penny Singer, whose designs really embrace her Native Diné (Navajo) heritage. She grew up away from the reservation, but has since spent a fair amount of time on the reservation in TecNosPos, AZ. The experiences at the reservation are woven into her work. “The thread used to sew her collection is spun with drive, determination to make people understand where she comes from, and the beauty in being Native. As a single mother, the thread pushing through the fabric is also a metaphor stitching a wonderful life for herself and her son.” Penny presented a unique mix of jackets, ribbon shirts, vests and capes that were adorned with appliqués that told somewhat of a story in her Native culture.

Bossarolla hit the runway next, the fierce strut of the models gave an enlightened energy to the audience. The Albuquerque-based designers- Alexandra Sanchez and Leandra Rosenau showcased their “Strictly Business” collection. The duo were inspired by professional business attire, but wanted to add their signature twists and details. Each garment is also customizable to the consumer’s taste.

Upcycled t-shirt dresses from Kendra Grace Designs emerged on the runway. Kendra Brock is a self-taught designer, but with a background in creating life-size figurative sculptures. One day, after “sculpting” an upcycled t-shirt dress to her curvy figure, she decided that she wanted to create handmade, wearable pieces of art for women of all shapes and sizes. Since then, she creates garments and accessories using organic fabrics digitally printed with her own photographic images, upcycled t-shirts and eco-friendly fabrics for sizes ranging from 2- 24.

Santa Fe-based Orlando Dugi launched his namesake brand in 2011 in a small 150 square foot studio. In 2013, the brand moved to a more expansive studio and has since continued making gowns and hand-beaded evening bags, and now a jewelry line. The designer’s last name of DUGI is pronounced “doo-guy” and means “mustache” in Navajo American Indian language (and his heritage). Orlando creates his masterpieces in-house and out of the highest quality fabrics and embellishments and has enlisted the help of two bead assistants and a seamstress. For NMFW2016, he presented The Red Collection. “The Red Collection is hand-dyed in natural Peruvian cochineal dye, which is derived from the female beetle and involves a lengthy and complicated process. This elaborate collection is hand-beaded and hand-embroidered in Santa Fe. It has taken six artists hundreds of hours for six months to produce this small collection of six garments…Imagine a fantastical pre-Columbian matriarchal monarchy where strong and confident women dressed in elaborate sparkling gowns differing shades of a color reserved for royalty. The designs on the garments are inspired from the flora and fauna of the southwest and a fictional golden bird. The music is composed by cellist Randall Warren for The Red Collection and resonates the beauty and elegance within The Red Collection.”

Guests were then treated to an array of the latest in eyewear trends, thanks to Lovato Eyecare– Albuquerque’s leading eye care specialists. They are a “full-service eye care practice offering ophthalmology, optometry, optical and contact lens services. Dr. Lovato, a fellowship trained, board certified ophthalmologist in Albuquerque, treats a full range of medical eye diseases and performs cataract and laser surgery. He also provides his patients with their yearly routine vision care and has been the community’s trusted resource for superior eye care service and patient satisfaction for many years. Most major vision and medical insurance plans are accepted.”

The final designer of the evening was Santa Fe-based designer Danielle Foster-Herbst of Atelier Danielle. She combines luxurious textiles with vintage kimonos, saris and lace to form her original designs. “Her silhouettes are inspired by both tailored haberdashery and ethnographic forms with couture finishes. Garments are often reversible with great attention to detail and longevity. Clients and textiles are Danielle’s muse. Danielle pursues an environmentally sound design process. Every garment is created one at a time by Danielle, and skilled local artisans are paid a living wage.”

Stay tuned for night two!!

Cesar Galindo Fall 2016 Live Lookbook Presentation

Cesar Galindo Fall 2016

Cesar Galindo– New York-based designer, by way of Houston- decided to do something different when presenting his Fall 2016 collection to a small group of fashion insiders one sunny day recently. Instead of a typical runway presentation, he decided to do a live lookbook photoshoot for his “Starry Starry Nights!” collection.

He did not show this past season of New York Fashion Week, however he did build a collection; as he is focusing on the business aspect of his company. The collection harkens back to what he started out doing- clothing for the ‘after five’ market. He joked that him being born on New Year’s was the root of his love of that time of day.

The glitzy collection featured laser-cut fringe crepe dresses, repurposed mink jacket, tank and apron halter top, a fuchsia/silver glittered canvas coat and silver sequined caftan-style dress (that I’m still going gaga over), fluid jumpsuits, t-shirt dresses and layering pieces. He incorporated stretch leather arm accessories that were “like spanx for your arms.” He added sporty touches to a couple of the dresses, which included foiled and active mesh sleeve and hem details. He wanted the silhouettes to be relaxed, yet have a “Walk of Shame glam” feel.

I enjoyed seeing this concept in action and in an intimate setting. The models came out one at a time and lined up, while Cesar adjusted and re-styled the garment to his liking. Once on the platform, the the photographer and model seemed to work in tandem, as the shooting and posing went so fast; but also went effortlessly seamless. And of course, the CLOTHES… I could see several of the pieces in my closet.

Huge thanks: BLINC by Bambi Lynn (for the invite and helping to flawlessly put on a great show), Select Studios (venue), Page Parkes (models), Metromorphis Design, Jane Hruska Accessories, Tre Spa Salon, Arched Beauty Architechs and Avalon Diner (yummy treats and lite bites).

“Alchemy” at the MATCH: Featuring Chester Paul Roberts

One of Houston’s emerging designers- Chester Paul Roberts, held his first fashion show “Alchemy” at the MATCH Theaters recently. I’ve been following Chester’s work for a while, and have especially admired his Wild Poppies mens shirt (which I still want to totally rock) and the Auda(city) skirt. I was excited to finally see his work come to fruition on the runway.

The evening began with an energetic dance performance by James Peachtree (Pitre). Check out a portion of his performance on my Instagram. Chester’s eye-catching menswear collection followed immediately after. The collection was in collaboration with local painter Johnathon Michael Espinoza. Roberts goes on to further explain, “The menswear was especially inspired by Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes. He was the mastermind behind an unorthodox movement, but he was good at getting artists to collaborate for a good cause. That’s my focus- to continue to collaborate with different artists from different genres each collection.” The bright collared, button-down, stretch cotton shirts were detailed with patches that were drawn by Espinoza and inspired by the Ballets Russes. The shorts, constructed with stretch denim/denim sateen and cotton/linen-blend faille, were equally uniquely designed.

The short intermission was another dance performance, titled “Brand New Me,” and featured ballet dancer- Zoe Wallace, wearing a dress designed by Roberts and hand-painted by Espinoza. Check out a snippet of the performance on my Instagram.

Following that performance was the womenswear collection presentation. Roberts thought that since the 1970’s era is a huge trend right now (and that it’s also one of his favorite eras), it would be the perfect time to experiment with the idea. A tank featuring the CPR Brand logo in red sequins and a silver grey satin skirt opened the presentation. Further looks were modest and carried a 70s vibe. Roberts used a variety of materials to execute the collection, including: stretch denim, cotton, velvet; as well as sequin and grommet accents. My favorite look was the gold metallic caftan, with its long sleeves and long pussy bow tie- very Studio 54.

For more on Chester Paul Roberts, go HERE and HERE.

Kaleidoscope: Imaginarium

Kaleidoscope Houston concluded with Imaginarium- held at the very cool Vivaldi Stone Boutique. Wikipedia defines imaginarium as a reference “to a place devoted to the imagination. There are various types of imaginaria- centers largely devoted to stimulating and cultivating the imagination, towards scientific, artistic, commercial, recreational, or spiritual ends.” The event was exactly that… a destination into one’s imagination. The artists that showcased that evening (including myself) helped transform the showroom into a inspiring showcase. The art gallery-esque lighted stone sample walls created a unique backdrop for the runway. Shawn Flowers and Yung Chris HK (founder of Son Kiss’d) were the fabulous hosts of the evening.

Now, because I spend the good first half of the show behind-the-scenes, I wasn’t able to see most of the performances, which included: Fenyx Aerial, Stella Marie Manalo– (whose voice I heard during rehearsal, and the girl can SING!); Toki Singh and Son Kiss’d.

I showcased a curated vintage collection with pieces from my shop- Lone Star Vintage. I also included accessories that I have made throughout the years. It was a great experience for me to showcase my talent to the large audience.

Local bridal designer Natalie Harris of Damsel White Label had a low-key presentation, that of which I wasn’t able to fully see. However, I was able to catch a glimpse of the designer with two of her models after the program. She was showcasing select gowns, one of which is one of my faves. To the unforeseen eye, it’s a gorgeous white wedding gown, BUT if you look closely under the white overlay, you can see a beautiful print of a Texas bluebonnet field. The prints are basically why I’m going to get my (eventual) wedding dress done by her. Harris likes to incorporate edgy and memorable details into the gowns, thus giving the bride-to-be a non-traditional approach to her beautiful day.

The last half of the evening (and the half that I was able to watch) continued with the debut of Of Myth + Muse’s first collection. The brand’s designer- Em Natalicchio also collaborated with Elyse Herman of Bark & Beam, a brand that does bohemian flower and crystal crowns. Natalicchio’s designs were feminine and romantic. I loved the black leather romper with lace top, the bralettes and skirts.The Of Myth + Muse website is live, however the collection will not be available until spring.

The last runway presentation belonged to André Redou on apparel, Damari & CO. on gloves, and Shopnonhuman on jewelry. Fashion designer- André Redou is also a furniture designer. His collection was sexy and clever. High-waisted shorts (my fave), pencil skirts, tops and jackets were in materials such as: vinyl, mesh and nylon. Damari Rubio- glove designer-extraordinaire at Damari & CO.,created a collection of short and long gloves for Kaleidoscope that I feel represented each of her collections: Be Chic, Be Fit, Be Free, Be Playful and Be Romantic. Michelle Yue is the brains behind Shopnonhuman– a jewelry brand that focuses on minimalistic-meets-futuristic designs that are mostly created from high-quality lucite. I especially love the ‘knot choker‘ and the ‘bangle bundle.’

I want to thank Pamela of Ubertina Productions for putting on this amazing event where local artists and creatives can come together and do amazing things. I also want to thank the entire Kaleidoscope team- you guys worked extremely hard and rocked it! Let’s see what Kaleidoscope Houston 2017 brings!

** Toki Singh **

Photo by Ubertina Productions

** Lone Star Vintage collection photo courtesy of Ubertina Productions **

Kaleidoscope: Jet Set

Night two of Kaleidoscope Houston was titled – Jet Set, and was also held at the sprawling mansion in the Northside district of Houston. The evening’s designers were: Steve Guthrie, Jessica Lombana, and Meru Merus. The lovely hosts of the evening were: former Miss Houston 2015- Chyna Wheatley and model/actor- John Newinn. The entertainment between the fashion shows were: Saturn Hoops- who wowed the audience with their performance with light-up hola hoops and fire; dancers from the Son Kiss’d Dance Theater and Culturally Yours left the audience feeling energized and inspired.

Steve Guthrie took a cue from the ‘Jet Set’ theme and had his “jet-setting models” being led out to the runway by the “ground crew.” His vintage-inspired womenswear collection takes a nod to photos of Brigitte Bardot, while in Italy in the 1960’s. Guthrie also explained that the era represents his favorite characteristics: the timeless cuts, the texture of the fabrics and also the elegance that’s obtainable for every woman. He also wanted the the simplicity of the clothing to ensure that his goal of designing and manufacturing locally from start to finish, could be realized. Local jewelry designer Tiffany Recio of Recio Designs had several of her contemporary and minimal pieces to help accessorize Guthrie’s collection. Both designers complemented each other well in achieving a subtly-chic ‘jet-setting vibe.’

LOMBANA by Jessica Lombana was the next brand to walk the runway. Designer Jessica Lombana presented to the Kaleidoscope audience, her S/S16 collection titled ‘Native’ and inspired by her ethnicity and roots. The collection consisted of elegant swimwear, cover-ups and flowy dresses (and one insanely bad-ass mirror fragmented mini-dress); all seemingly having a “tropical-meets-ethnic” theme going. Almost every garment was accessorized with Lombana’s colorful coordinating jewelry collection.

Umair Khan’s brand- Meru Merus‘ collection of cocktail and evening dresses closed the evening’s festivities. The collection was inspired by Arizona’s barrel cacti, which accounts for his heavy use of sequined, textured fabrics. The collection also had small influences of his Pakistani roots.

Stay tuned for Kaleidoscope: Imaginarium!

** Saturn Hoops **

** Son Kiss’d **

** Culturally Yours **

Kaleidoscope: Urbanity

Kaleidoscope Houston kicked off its inaugural three-night event not long ago. The first and second nights were held at a sprawling mansion in the Northside district of Houston. The event boasted music, art and fashion.

Night one was aptly named “Urbanity” and featured ‘urban-themed’ art and fashion, with sounds by DJ Nando 1. Proceeds from the first night benefitted Team GINI. That evening’s host was Omar Castillo.

Designers on deck for night one of Kaleidoscope were Swinn, Kooth Brand and a collection by a group of Art Institute students. There was also local entertainment in between the fashion sets, which included: The Mad Men Crew– a Hip Hop group that debuted a Houston-themed anthem that night, Femme Fatale Cru, Tobe Nwigwe– one of Team GINI’s founders, Brenden Winkfield– tap dancer extraordinaire, and Raj the Rapper– Hip Hop and R&B musician.

Swinn is an alternative athletic-wear brand from Austin and specializes in cheeky sports bras and other active wear that are made in the U.S.A. Texas Bgirl group- Femme Fatale Cru joined the models during the Swinn runway. Each girl busted out in their own hip-hop number at the end of the runway, creating an upbeat mood for the audience. Kooth Brand is based (and manufactured) in Houston. CEO and designer (and fellow FIDM alum) Shayne Salinas has spend a lot of time around farms, ranches and industrial plants and believes in timeless American-made workwear for the working class man. He draws most of his inspiration from the aesthetic of 1930s-60s blue-collar workers’ garments and used modern fabrics that mirrored the fabrics from the 30s. After seeing the brand in person and listening to Salinas talk about his mission statement, I’m hoping that he will make a womens division soon. But for now, I can totally see myself carrying the canvas and leather tool bag. The last designer showcase of the evening was collection created by an amazing group of students from the Art Institute of Houston: Wilbert, Keosha, and Kim. The trio created a collection comprised of denim with mesh accents, which truly had that urban edge.

Stay tuned for Kaleidoscope: Jet Set….

** The Mad Men Crew **

** Femme Fatale Cru **

** Tobe Nwigwe **

** Brenden Winkfield **

** Raj the Rapper **

Instagram Re-Boot with Sofia Emm

Image via Sofia Touassa

** Image used with permission via Sofia Emm **

My friend Sofia recently held a workshop for “Re-Booting Your Instagram” for an intimate group of local bloggers and small businesses. Sofia is an amazing photographer and her Instagram and marketing skills are in my opinion, top notch. The workshop took place over a span of almost two hours and included a powerpoint presentation and a Q&A session.

Here are some highlights of what I learned:

** Your profile bio should be clear and concise.

** Your URL should link to your blog, business site or event you are promoting.

** Be true to your Instagram voice…

** Create image editing recipe and use it to keep seamless feel throughout the feed…

** Cooler images have better response than warmer images…

** ID safe content:

** Post everyday at least once a day…

** Always follow those who support you…

** Follow list should be lower than followers list…

** Always be inviting in your caption/call-to-action…

** Follow trends (#TBT, #MotivationMonday, etc)…

** Giveaways aren’t always the best growth strategy…

** Post things your followers can relate and connect to…


** Don’t be afraid to tell your story…

If you are a local Houston blogger or business owner who would like to re-boot your social media and marketing strategies, check out

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