Category - Uncategorized

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‘Fashionably Illustrated’ with Langford Market x Rongrong Devoe
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Rongrong Devoe – Fashion Illustrator
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Fashion Houston is for the Bees….
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Taoray Wang – NYFW September 2014
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Nolcha Fashion Week – September 2014
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Saunder – NYFW September 2014
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Erin Fetherston – NYFW September 2014

‘Fashionably Illustrated’ with Langford Market x Rongrong Devoe

My lovely friend and fashion illustrator- Rongrong Devoe hosted the ‘Fashionably Illustrated’ meet-the-artist event at Langford Market in Rice Village last night. Her presentation of her wares: prints, cards, totes and cell phone cases complemented Langford Market’s boho esthetic. Large framed prints hung all around the store. It was chance to shop, have light bites, champagne and mingle with the artist; who also did live sketching with an in-store purchase.

While there, I also met another fashion illustrator- Eva Duplan, who recently relocated to Houston from Dallas. She is (now) a mutual friend of Rongrong and I’s. I do hope that there are more events that enable local artists like Rongrong and Eva to showcase their talents to the community. These ladies are incredibly talented and their illustrations embody different traits that are special and unique. Basically, my point being… everyone has their own way of perceiving things and these ladies show that through their illustrating.

Before I took my leave, I had the chance to see Rongrong in action, sketching the cutest customer, wearing a hot pink knit sweater and billowy floral skirt. I was impressed to see that it probably took Rongrong maybe ten minutes to sketch her. The illustration (in color I might add) turned out exceptional and the girl was just ecstatic with joy.

Keep up the great work Rongrong!

Rongrong Devoe – Fashion Illustrator

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved to draw. However nowadays, my focus has changed…but I do admire folks who are talented in the art of illustration…in all industries. I recently heard about Rongrong Devoe- a local Houston fashion illustrator- via Popshop and of course, instagram. She has the gift of taking images of models, celebrities and bloggers and creating remarkable likenesses of them on paper. I had the opportunity to not only sit down with her to discuss her blossoming career as an illustrator, but also watch her draw a model in the latest Elie Saab collection.

LAFS: Tell me a little about your background in the fashion industry?

Rongrong: I moved to NYC to pursue my Master’s degree of Illustration at Fashion Institute of Technology six years ago. While I was in school, I worked as a part time design assistant at a women’s apparel company for a year, while freelancing as a fashion illustrator as the same time. After I graduated, I worked as a full time CAD designer for a private label company for three years. I mainly use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to design intimate apparel and sleepwear.

LAFS: What got you started in illustration?

Rongrong: I have loved drawing ever since I was a child. I fell in love with fashion when my Mom bought me the first fashion magazine- ELLE China since I was 15. I spent so much time drawing beautiful models and clothing during my teens. After college I realized there is a career called fashion illustration, so I decided to apply to FIT to study fashion illustration.

LAFS: Why “fashion”?

Rongrong: I have always loved drawing beautiful things. Models, gowns and street style are my major inspirations. Can you imagine without fashion, how boring the world will be?

LAFS: Do you have any mentors/favorite illustrators or designers you look up to for inspiration?

Rongrong: Yes. A lot of people inspire me, such as: David Downton, William Bil Donovan and Jennifer Lilya.

LAFS: What is your working environment like?

Rongrong: I work at home most time, though sometimes in coffee shops. There is one spare room in my apartment that I use as my studio.

LAFS: What mediums do you use?

Rongrong: I use pencil, watercolor and Japanese brush. But I am always looking for new mediums to experiment.

LAFS: Three words that describe your work?

Rongrong: Playful, Detailed and Colorful.

LAFS: Do you have any advice for people wanting to pursue a career in fashion illustrating?

Rongrong: I think you have to ask yourself how much you love fashion illustration? If you decide to pursue this career, you need a lot of practice and need to have social media accounts to share your work and to connect with your audience, which is essential!

LAFS: Where can we find you to see your work and connect with you?

Rongrong: I have a website and I am also on Instagram and Etsy.

In summary, Rongrong and her incredible talent are a huge asset to Houston’s fashion industry. I’m so happy she chose this city to call home and I’m excited to see what she does next!

** Thank you for the illustration of me! **

Rongrong from Heather on Vimeo.

Fashion Houston is for the Bees….

** Photos by Nicole Kestenbaum Photography, Quy Tran Photography and KTRK.

I believe this was “day 2″ of Fashion Houston 2014.

I’m wearing a Vintage Oscar de la Renta dress bought from the reNew reDux Fashion event, a Vintage Bee Keeper Hat c/o Big Bertha’s Paradise in Austin, Heels from Topshop, Vintage Handbag from my shop.

Taoray Wang – NYFW September 2014

International designer Taoray Wang‘s (Wang Tao) Spring 2015 collection was her official launch for her namesake brand. She chose to showcase her brand during New York Fashion Week because she felt that the American fashion market was of utmost importance to China. She is known for merging European and Asian cultures and influences throughout her designs, resulting in unique and elegant looks with global appeal. She is currently one of China’s more established and successful designs to date. You can also find her on the board of Shanghai Ribo Fashion Group.

This season’s high-end luxury collection emphasizes the style and power of women from all walks of life. Wang was also inspired by the movie Black Swan‘s soft artistic message and the art of ballet. “I respect and appreciate how difficult it is for busy women to excel in today’s fast-paced environment. My clean, simple and elegant designs express the innate sense of sophistication one notices with powerful women such as my muse- Natalie Portman,” the designer explained.

I thought her collection offered strong yet classic pieces in crisp hues of radiant white, black, bright citrus, blush pink and navy blue. Voluminous sleeves, sheer, an “eagle” print, feathered skirts and dresses and refined suiting were trending on her runway presentation. Her use of her Black Swan inspiration was clearly evident in terms of the feathered fringe skirts, tuxedo jacket and dresses; as well as the structured soft jagged edging of some of the bust lines. Taoray’s debut collection was an overall refreshing and sophisticated breath of fresh air for the modern woman in crazy busy world.

Nolcha Fashion Week – September 2014

Israeli-born Rinat Brodach has always had a passion for fashion. After serving in the Israeli Air Force and gaining a stronger sense of herself and direction, she moved to San Francisco to pursue fashion design at the Academy of Art University. Her senior thesis was honored with a scholarship to study in Paris for a year. Rinat did just that and stayed another year, working for a top fashion house. In 2012, she moved to New York City, where she launched her namesake brand and commits to her extensive expertise in finishing and draping. Her Spring/Summer 2015 collection is called, “How to Expose the Heart,” which is inspired by the plight of exposing and protecting the heart. I’m sure you have heard that saying, ‘I wear my heart on my sleeve.’ Rinat goes on to explain, “Taken from everyday life where the heart is exposed, passionate, happy, sad, scared and vulnerable. Using boning to enhance the heart areas for protecting as a metaphor for the rib cage that creates a natural shield for the heart. The draping around the areas of the heart come to show us different situations and feelings after exposing the heart or protecting the heart. Sometimes art doesn’t make sense, because it comes from the heart.” Her minimal yet sculpted intricate silver accessories were designed by Orly Ruaimi. The woman who wears Rinat Brodach is strong, powerful and ready to take on the world.

At just 22, Puerto Rican designer Sofia Arana is the youngest Latin designer to showcase at Nolcha Fashion Week. She is known for the concept of ‘less is more’ when it comes to designing a collection. She starts out with a classic silhouette and plays with cutting-edge lines and flares that result in exclusive contemporary styles. Her “Gallery Girl” collection was inspired by a walk through an imaginary garden of muted-hued flowers that also have pops of color. For this being Sofia’s first time successfully showing at Nolcha , she sure had me at her garden prints, lace and flowy pieces.

Schuyler4 Collective Ltd., was launched in 1977 by Jack Makoujyis and is an exclusive U.S. Distributer of better European men’s sportswear collections. The brands are: Alberto pants, Carl Gross sport jackets, Codice knitwear and Haupt shirts. The Spring/Summer collection was easily wearable, fun and proof that men can wear prints, while maintaining a masculine edge. Oh and the vibrant floral print pants during the finale…I’m crushing HARD on them.

New York City based Mariana Valentina‘s Spring/Summer collection was titled, “Le Jardin Persian,” in which she was inspired by two films. One film shows a mystical garden where women were turning into vines and they were living in a forest; whereas the other film depicts the Persian War and is based on Persian and warrior princesses. Mariana blends the two together to create a stunning collection of whimsical evening wear with embellishment and risqué yet incredibly sexy silhouettes.

San Francisco and Paris based designer Mimi Tran may be new to the design world, but is a pro when it comes to creating handmade gowns with classic silhouettes and brilliant embellishments. This season, she created two collections, inspired by classic ‘Old Hollywood glamour’ and European style. Her ‘Old Hollywood’ collection included her signature fabrics, while the ‘European’ segment featured couture designs. Both collections were elegant and sophisticated. It seemed that each sequined panel on the fabric was perfectly sculpted to the body, creating this statuesque vision that flowed down the runway.

One of my favorite contemporary luxury brands of NFW was Charles & Ron. The self-taught duo are based in Malta and have been designing since the 90s. Since their launch, they are known as one of the leading fashion houses in the country, with their bi-annual fashion show being one of Malta’s most talked about events. Their designs are distinctively known for their Mediterranean flair. The Spring/Summer 2015 collection was titled “Humilissima Civitas” and is inspired by Malta’s capital city of Valletta and some of its historic landmarks, for example: the Triton Fountain and the designs by Renzo Piano in the newly restructured city gate. I loved the geometric print and pastel color palette that make up the blue print of easy to wear, airy silhouettes. The grided cut-out top and dress and the voluminous maxi skirt at the finale were my absolute faves!

Gregory Apparel designer Rachel Gregory embodies her continued muses for her inspiration of Spring/Summer 2015, which are the empowered women of New York City. The collection consisted of soft, wearable and feminine silhouettes in easy colors. I thought the playful halter romper with cascading ruffle detail was just the bees knees! Gregory Apparel is easy to travel with for the gal-on-the-go and relatively versatile to transition from day to night.

Sportswear brand Oiselle (wa- zell) was created by Sally Bergesen (an avid runner herself) who was tired of going to the store and finding athletic wear not fitting right. Oiselle is derived from the French word for “bird.” They presented their Spring 2015 collection on athletes and runners, instead of the usually ‘straight skinny model-type.’ The line focused on architectural lines, vibrant tones and subtle yet edgy details, all with keeping their mission of “making the runner women happy.” I thought the collection was wearable, fun and unlike the mainstream athletic clothing I’ve seen. Great work Oiselle!

Monstruosite‘s millinery collection blew me out of the water, in the best way possible (it helps that I love creating headpieces myself, so I can relate). The Florida-based brand was founded by Dolly Donshey in 2010. The Spring/Summer 2015 was titled “The Rise of Ostara” and is a celebration of Spring. The vibe explores the concept of the Spring Equinox derived from Pagean culture. Dolly breaks away from traditional millinery materials and uses more exotic materials, such as 18k gold plated paint on twine, peasant feathers, beading, flowers and other natural fibers. Every piece was statement-worthy and provided a fresh transition from a focus on just apparel.

B’VENAJ Designs was launched in 2010 by Vanessa, who created the brand’s name using the initials of her siblings: Brandi, Vanessa, Eleasha, Nathalie, Abigail and John. Vanessa’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection was named, “DIPO.” Dipo is a traditional Ghanaian festival to user in puberty. Traditional African prints and rich colors were used in the collection of dresses, separates and menswear.

New York based Jennifer Burgos presented her Spring/Summer 2015 collection with her tropical roots and the elegance of women in mind. Burgos enjoys playing with colors and different fabrics, along with keeping to her signature form-fitting and A-line silhouettes (basically anything that accentuates the body). I loved the green skirt with draping on the hips and the eye-catching green glossy long-sleeve jumpsuit.

“Project SUBWAY” was the finale of Nolcha Fashion Week runway shows (for me anyway). The second annual competition challenged emerging designers to create a one-of-a-kind look based on vegetables at SUBWAY. It was interesting seeing what the designers came up with, which included classic and avant-garde looks based on onions, tomatoes, carrots, pickles, etc. The competition was then judged by a panel of celebrities, including: Bella Thorne, Johnny Wujek, Nastia Liukin and Russell Westbrook. In the end, the onion-inspired look by Veritee Hill took home the winning prize.

For more information on Nolcha Fashion Week, please click on the link.

Saunder – NYFW September 2014

Emily Saunders launched her namesake brand- Saunder in 2011 with the mission of creating quality garments and keeping her love of New York City in mind. Everything in regards to her design and manufacturing is kept in NYC’s Garment District.

Her Spring/Summer 2015 collection was inspired by “In A Gadda Da Vida” by Iron Butterfly. This song was produced in 1968, which is considered to be the beginning of the heavy metal era. Emily explores this concept by imagining a “Rock n’ Roll Garden of Eden” and loaded it with vibrant colors, prescription pills, deconstructed snake prints, a chic mixture of textures and polished silver metallic booties with clear heels; not to mention with intense beehives that were styled on the models. The collection also took a tongue-in-cheek nod to Neely O’Hara, the stylish yet troubled actress portrayed in Valley of the Dolls. The collection takes on a 1960s twist with modern edge. She also infused a striking mod collection of accessories and jewelry, with help from Megan Isaacs for the jewelry collection. Megan gave us a fresh presentation of her bold statement jewelry, also inspired by the song.

Though I would’ve liked to have seen something other than the pills taking center stage as an influence, it was still a great collection with girly silhouettes, statement-worthy accessories and a beautiful color palette.

Erin Fetherston – NYFW September 2014

Erin Fetherston was another NYFW favorite that I was honored to have attended. Fetherston is no stranger to learning and expanding her knowledge, as she graduated from UC Berkeley and went on to study abroad at Parsons Paris. In 2005, she showcased her eponymous feminine and whimsical label during the Paris Haute Couture shows. She moved to New York City in 2007 and has become a staple designer in showing her ready-to-wear collection during New York Fashion Week.

Her Spring/Summer 2015 collection was titled- “Moonlight and Roses,” infusing her signature feminine charm with the spirit of la dolce vita; as well as equal parts Grimaldi glamour and California cool. The collection takes us on a journey through flower fields and blossoming roses through Fetherston’s use of whimsical florals in a delightful mix of laces, jacquards, printed neoprene and flowy printed organza. We even saw glimpses of swanky tops and clutches with the slogan- Charmed, I’m Sure, which is based on the short film- Charmed, I’m Sure. The film takes a witty nod to mid-century finishing schools, with the designer teaching ‘model students’ the arts of style, charm and social graces. These sloganed pieces blended in nicely with the theme and Fetherston’s overall aesthetic. I admired her entire collection, but most importantly, her use of dainty crop tops that were paired with wispy statement skirts. Every garment was carefully thought out and tailored, especially the shorts and pants, for a casual stroll under the moonlight.

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