Cynique Evoule “Doctors on the Runway” Fashion Show

The Laura Rathe Fine Art Gallery was the setting for the Houston edition of Cynique Evoule Runway Series. Felicia Mosley launched the company in 2011 in hopes of bridging designers and models with some of the nation’s top influencers. According to Mosley, “The event is an opportunity for designers from coast to coast who have garnered attention from the general population of consumers and the media, to relay their aesthetic and their ideas through an inspired collection of garments and accessories. Since fashion has no borders, Cynique Evoule also sets out to serve as opportunity for talented designers from outside the country to introduce themselves in the Midwest fashion industry and grow their brands. The premise for this showcase is to bring the support of the city and other like cities to the governing bodies, gather the community under one roof to finally be able to appreciate design talent. What started out as hope for something ‘bigger and better’ for the city will now come to fruition throughout the country!”

The “Doctors on the Runway” series is part of Cynique Evoule’s community program. A portion of the proceeds benefit children’s hospitals in the cities where the the runway shows are held. This event’s portion of the proceeds went to Texas Children’s Hospital. Thirteen of Houston’s finest female doctors were transformed into models and sashayed down the runway, wearing Caché‘s Spring 2014 collection. The event also featured local designer Angelic Reese (a.k.a. Lisa Reed) and shoes by Luichiny.

The “Doctor’s on the Runway” series’s next stop is Chicago on April 27th, followed by Atlanta, Miami and finally New York.

**Dr. Heather Brown, Dr. Monica Gray, Dr. Terriya Richmond, Dr. Daisy Ayim, Dr. Nwanyieze Amajoh, Dr. Tamecka Knight, Dr. Kidada Lewis, Dr. Monique Mckight, Dr. Connie Nguyen, Dr. Lily Zhang, Dr. Vicki Carr, Dr. Tamyra Comeaux and Dr. Jonnae Atkinson — you ladies werked that runway! Congratulations and please keep doing what you do!**

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Love’s In Fashion at Tootsies- Houston

Love was in the air during the “Loves in Fashion” show at Tootsies- one of Houston’s hottest shopping destinations. The fashion show benefited Dec My Room, an charitable organization founded by mother-daughter team: Susan and Kendall Plank in 2007. They were visiting a young family friend who was scheduled to receive a bone marrow transplant at Texas Children’s Hospital, which would keep him holed up in a drab hospital room for at least three weeks. They decided that they wanted to do something to make him feel more comfortable during his hospital stay, so they found out what his interests were (an A & M fan) and “dec’d” out his hospital room in A & M gear. He and his family were overjoyed upon seeing the room. This inspired them to launch Dec My Room. They have since decorated hundreds of rooms in Texas Children’s Hospital and MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Center in hopes of “creating a healing place” for children going through various illnesses, medical procedures, etc.

The event featured several philanthropic couples as they strutted down the runway, such as: Elizabeth and Daryl Allen, Karina and Carlos Barbieri, Gina Gaston and Mario Elie, Duyen Huynh and MarcMarc, Jenna Jackson and Brendan Gilbert, Natalie Lefevre and Jürgen Pichler, Vivian Wise and Sergio Morales, Patti and Don Murphy, Susan and Michael Plank, Clifford Pugh and John Dascoulias, Layla and Walter Salek, Millette and Haag Sherman, Jenee and Nick Stefaniks, Brittany and Max Tribble, Holly Waltrip and Mike Long, Noel and Scott Wise and more. In between the two groups of couples, models took to the catwalk, wearing selected looks that were currently trending. I especially enjoyed the pink dress with structured and flouncy skirt and an ensemble featuring lovely floral pants, a red top and yellow clutch and a gorgeous pleated neon yellow maxi dress.

After the fashion show, there were two surprise guests- former A & M quarterback Johnny Manziel and six year old cancer survivor Charlie Dina (and fan of Manziel).

Thank you Tootsies and Dec My Room for having me! Kendall Plank- it was lovely meeting you after the show. Oh and I had a “Walker moment” when I met a Texas Ranger! #Starstruck

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Kissue Trunk Show

Over the holidays, I was treated to a lovely trunk show and preview of a newly launched e-commerce boutique, based in Houston. The brand is called Kissue and was founded in August 2013 by sisters- Kailey and Kaygan Tissue (hence the name- Kissue). The young entrepreneurs eventually want to start a clothing line, but they felt that they first want to get their feet wet by testing out their esthetic in the online boutique realm. They pride themselves on hand-curating their merchandise that is well-made and distinguished in details, such as: clean cut, modern, sharp and fine lines. They carry a variety of brands that aren’t mainstream, though rather more specialty, like: Ark & Co., English Rose, Nameless and C. Luce (which are their favorite brands as well). They strive to find balance between their esthetic and the needs to their customer.

Their quaint trunk show represented what they currently have up online. Multiple clothing racks were set up in their private residence, which set the mood for a relaxed and intimate shopping experience. Clothing styles varied, ranging from casual to cocktail attire. Think faux fur vests to offbeat chic bright pink blazers to crop tops with fun cut-out detailing, tops with fringe, cute leather pants to flowy maxi dresses- Kissue has something for every fashionista’s needs. They also feel that it’s important to have solid garments at affordable price points. Prices range from $28 for leggings to a coat for $106. Be on the lookout for a flagship brick-and-mortar store in Houston sometime in the next few years. To shop the brand or for more information, check out kissuetx.com.

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Francesca’s Holiday Blogger Party

I’ve never really known about Francesca’s until I landed in Texas, where they are based. I was finally introduced to them when I attended their blogger party over the holidays at their location in the prestigious Highland Village neighborhood in Houston. Francesca’s opened their first store in Houston in 1999 and caters to the fashionista who loves whimsical hand-curated clothing not normally found in the major department stores. They also sell bright statement baubles, trendy bold accessories and fun, kitschy gifts. The brand is now located in 45 states and has over 350 boutiques, plus their online shop. The staff at the Highland Village store made me feel right at home during the party and were extremely helpful. Oh and did I mention how talented they are too? I LOVE how the visuals and mannequins were styled (without the use of a merchandising manual). It really gave us a lot of ideas on how to mix prints and textures, style the jewelry, etc., without looking too busy or minutes away from being a fashion disaster. The gifting table is just fantastic! I found an array of quirky items, such as Ryan Gosling books (I mean…100 Reasons to Love Ryan Gosling…I’m on that!), Etch-A-Sketches, red heeled iPhone stand and so much more! I’d love to also thank the store for having delicious light bites (extra kudos for the cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches), treats and cocktails. The night was such a nice way to enter into the holidays. I ended up getting a cute floral printed blazer with the gift card that the Francesca’s team so graciously gifted the bloggers, as well as a generous gift bag.

Thanks again for your hospitality Francesca’s and Francesca’s Highland Village!!

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“Everything Ice” Fashion Show

Local Houston stylist Jazzlin Raquel is now delving into fashion design and is currently enrolled at Houston Community College and is on her way to graduating. Fashion design has always been a desire, but she was always being told that it takes money or that you have to come from money in order to be successful in the industry. She decided to break out and put on a small runway show to showcase her designing, sewing and styling talents and prove people wrong. The show was held at Elite Hair Salon in Pearland, Texas and was hosted by The Fresh Prince of ATX , with performances by Lana Fame and Mystro. Jazzlin named the show “Everything Ice” and pulled inventory from my shop- Lone Star Vintage and also pulled from her closet and designs. She felt her inspiration came from being at odds with everything…to be different…to wear something that you might not be comfortable wearing everyday. Since Jazzlin was one of the few key players in the show, her meaning of ‘everything ice’ goes from anything flashy and shiny, to confidence and that women who can walk into a room and be THAT woman (while everyone is whispering ‘YES’). The hair stylist- Brandi Parks’s ‘ice’ was “I’m sexy, I’m flashy…I’m whatever I want to be because I’m ice.” When Jazzlin asked the models what their ‘ice’ is, they had their own scenarios, such as what you feel, what you are, etc. Jazzlin felt that by asking all involved in the show, she felt that it was a great way to get everyone’s input. Since she loves everything sequins and flashy, she wanted to utilize those aspects and have them coincide with the models confidence and their personalities. This was no ordinary t-shirt and jeans fashion show, the models ‘werked’ the runway, exuding that confidence that Jazzlin so dearly wanted. One girl was wearing a vintage sequin dress-turned-blouse-and-skirt, other looks included vintage metallic dresses, chic jackets and vintage sequin tops paired tastefully with spanx and bras. The ladies rocked the clothes and their unique personalities shone through their dance-and-pose performance at the finale. Jazzlin made her entrance at the end of the show wearing a handmade black net headpiece, a signature sequin top, black pants and killer heels. It was her night and she did a great job showing her talents.

Congratulations Jazzlin! Looking forward to new designs and stylings!

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Fashion Houston- Day 4

Each night of every fashion week I’ve attended thus far, the collections seem to get better and better. Such was the case for the fourth and final night of Fashion Houston. Four designers were spotlighted- Johanna Johnson, Zachary Prell, Haute Hippie and Wes Gordon.

Australian designer Johanna Johnson did her country proud when she showcased her Spring/Summer 2014 collection. Johanna launched her label back in 2005 and is entirely based in Australia. Her signature design aesthetic is old world style and is infused with vintage finishes and techniques. Today, the brand is known for its timeless red carpet gowns and is favored by many celebrities. The collection that was spotlighted in Houston was titled- ‘Muse.’ The swoon-worthy gowns were had a very “old Hollywood glam” with 1920s Art Deco silhouettes. The beading on some of the gowns took about a month to complete, which just adds to the decadent quality of the brand. Beautifully delicate crystal headpieces and accessories added extra ambiance to the “Great Gatsby -esque” collection. I especially loved the metallic gold maxi skirt and the finale silver gown with beading. Both pieces are elegant and versatile, in that you could easily dress them up or down. The Johanna Johnson presentation was one of the those edge-of-my-seat moments and left me wanting more.

New York-based mens sportswear brand Zachary Prell was up next on the runway. Originally a business and finance pro on Wall Street, Zachary had always found issues finding a shirt that fit well. That set the stage for him to create the perfect sport shirt. He has had no formal training in design and decided to just roll up his sleeves and design by trial and error. After two years of working on product development with his team of industry experts, he officially launched his namesake label in 2006. Since then, the label has grown and is known for skillfully crafted clothing that is versatile and sharp. Zachary presented a mix of key pieces of his Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 collections during Fashion Houston. The Fall 2013 collection was inspired by “easy luxury” and the wardrobe needs of the modern man. We saw muted colors, cozy knits, layered shirts and suave motorcycle jackets. The collection easily flowed into the Spring 2014 collection, which was inspired by the Cosa Rican seashore- lots of color, prints and slubbed-cotton solids. For more information on the brand, please check out ZacharyPrell.com.

New York based brand- Haute Hippie was launched in 2008 by Oklahoma native- Trish Wescoat Pound. She moved to New York City in 1994 and began her fashion career at Calvin Klein. Throughout the years, she climbed the ladder and gained exceptional stature with leading industry insiders. In 2008, she pulled out her whole life savings, traveled to India and six months later, showed her first collection in LA. When asked about the conception of the brand, I’d like to paraphrase Wescoat, “When fashion stops being a trend and becomes a style. There’s a very big difference between fashion and style…We design into a style, a look or aesthetic and not necessarily what the trends are…It’s always about that “style”…Who a woman was in the 20s or 70s- the marriage of all that. Modernizing vintage, yet with masculine tailoring too. Think of pairing a gown with a motorcycle jacket…That is Haute Hippie.” The Spring 2014 collection was inspired by the story of Persephone- The Greek goddess of Spring. According to Greek mythology, Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and wife of Haides- god of the underworld. Long story short, she had to eat a handful of pomegranate seeds, after which she could spend six months on Earth and six months in the underworld; which is how the seasons came about. The collection was inspired by Persephone as a person and the duality of her. She goes from being an innocent girl to being a woman and then queen of the underworld and goddess of Spring. I loved the collection in that it did tell a story… from minimalist silhouettes and neutral colors that slowly blossomed into beautiful floral prints and bright colors. I also noticed some looks that referenced roaring 20s influence (which I was naturally drawn to). Trish did a wonderful job also juxtaposing vintage-inspired accessories with modern pieces. Let’s not forget about the “chest-ccessories”- like beaded collars, opulent shoulder and chest pieces (Trish believes one should always protect their heart) and other body jewelry. This brand is sure to cater to the little “haute hippie” in all of us (it did for me)!

Wes Gordon grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and has always had that passionate drive to be a designer. When time came, he moved to London for four years, during which he studied at the prestigious Central St. Martins and spent his summers shadowing Oscar de la Renta and Tom Ford. Upon graduating, he moved to New York and made his first small collection and then showcased it in a hotel room during fashion week 2010. It wasn’t until this past fashion week in September where he won the hearts of his audience and celebrities alike during his first fashion show. He certainly won my heart as well, as his Resort/Spring 2014 collections were pretty fantastic. I was able to get the inside scoop on the inspiration behind the collections from Wes himself and this is what was concluded…Resort/Spring 2014 was about exploring clean, streamlined but still feminine and delicate look. The looks are modern, luxurious and fresh at the same time. They also pay homage to the late 90s elegance: Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, Gwyneth Paltrow a la Great Expectations and Kate Moss in W. Gordon implemented a lot of pastels, which he also grounded them with blacks, coppers and bright whites so they {the pastels} look cool instead of looking “pretty-pretty” or like an Easter decoration. One of my favorite pieces (besides the copper chain-mail crop top) from the collection were the sheer lace tapered pencil skirts that were worn with a striped dress skirt…So chic! Gordon commented that he wanted the models to move relatively fast because he thought the skirts looked better when they moved. It was such a beautiful way to end the last evening of Fashion Houston!

Til next year…..

I’d personally love to thank On the Mark Communications Neil Hamil Modeling Agency and Fashion Houston. To all the designers- thank you for coming to Houston and it was such an honor to be in attendance at your shows!

David Peck, Chloe Dao, Johanna Johnson, Wes Gordon, Trish Wescoat Pound- it was such a pleasure to meet you and speak with you!

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Fashion Houston Day 3

Day three of Fashion Houston was buzzing with excitement, as two of Houston’s notable local designers were featured on the runway. The line-up for the evening was Rolando Santana, Chloe Dao, David Peck and Yigal Azrouel.

I’d like to begin with the first designer of the evening- Rolando Santana. Rolando was born in Cuernavaca, Mexico and had a love of fashion and design from an early age. He would spend a lot of time watching his Mother create beautiful garments for her clients at her home-based dressmaking shop. He also loved going to the fabric stores, getting lost in the midst of all the unique fabrics. When he was 13, he starting helping his Mother out in her new production factory, which is where he gained better experience with pattern-making, construction and sewing. In 1991, he moved to New York City to further pursue his career in fashion. He studied at Mercy College and FIT, before working for a few fashion houses. In 2009, he was finally able to launch is own namesake brand and focused on designing with his customer in mind. His Spring/Summer 2014 collection was inspired by artist- Frida Kahlo and her strength and confidence. Rolando felt that her eclectic style and her bold way of wearing classic tailored garments were what influenced his collection the most. I felt that Santana’s collection was very fine-tuned and classic. The color palette was mainly soft, though I did see pops of bright yellows pretty florals. The fabrics were rich and crisp (loved the laces and sequins). The flouncy peplums on the pencil skirts, dresses and tops also caught my eye. It was a great collection that I’m sure Ms. Kahlo would be proud of.

Houston has gained a noteworthy designer ever since her winning slot on Project Runway. Chloe Dao realized her love of fashion from an early age. She studied at Houston Community College and then went on to obtain a degree in pattern-making from FIT in New York City. She worked in New York for about eight years, getting her hands dirty in every aspect of the fashion industry. In 2000, she returned to her hometown of Houston, where she opened Lot 8 (now DAO CHLOE DAO) in Rice Village. In 2006, she tried out for Project Runway and won Season 2. Chloe is known for her cocktail and evening wear, so for her Spring 2014, she decided to branch out and try something outside the box. Her inspiration was street fashion- mainly the fun and quirky outfits worn by some of the world’s top editors (like Giovanna Battaglia for instance). Chloe loved how effortlessly put-together and carefree they look while running around from show to show, etc. She worked on building the inspiration for the collection for months and actually put together the collection in only four weeks. She knew it would be a challenge to incorporate street fashion into her aesthetic, but she was up for that challenge. She was also inspired by how the girls would mix prints, so she knew that that would be the focus of the collection. She started out with fifteen prints before finally narrowing it down to four dominant ones. She felt that prints speak to people and wanted the Spring collection to be fun and carefree. The accessories were also a crowd pleaser that evening, think rhinestone-encrusted lizards, giant lips and rings wire-wrapped with an oversize “COOL” slogan. Her favorite accessory was the ‘lips with cigarette’ necklace, which she proudly wore in the finale. She felt that the accessories were unexpected, yet allowed her collection to pop against the vibrant prints and simple silhouettes. I loved everything about the collection and can’t wait until it comes out next year so I can own a few pieces. Be sure to check out ChloeDao.com and add her on all your social media sites to get the latest information.

The next designer also captured a roaring applause from his community- David Peck. David first started on a path towards a career in music. It was while he was working at Ralph Lauren doing their windows, that he realized he was more into fashion design. He then moved to Paris for five years, where during that time, he studied at Parsons and worked for several top fashion houses. In 2008, he moved to New York City, where he co-founded Untitled 11:11, a sustainable and high-end womenswear brand that was favored by celebrities like Taylor Swift and Rose McGowen. In 2010, he moved to Houston (where his wife is originally based) to be closer to family and eventually launched CrOp (Creative Opportunities) by David Peck. His brand is dedicated to socially responsible and local manufacturing, charitable partnerships, job creation and using practices that offer minimal impact on the environment. During his presentation at Fashion Houston, he gave us a taste of the different variations of his brand. The first half of the collection was his Fall/Winter 2013 ready-to-wear. He was inspired by his love of classic cinema, notably three Gregory Peck films- To Kill a Mockingbird, Gentlemens Agreement and Roman Holiday because they have themes of social responsibility or social injustice. The silhouettes are also inspired by the “Hitchcockian Era” of the 50s and 60s. He feels that this Mid-Century vibe is very relevant by today’s standards of timeless fashion. The second half of the collection was a peek into his Spring 2014 collection and custom bridal wear. The Spring 2014 collection was inspired by his taking a “desk vacation” since he’s been quite busy and not much time to travel. He used various objects he found around the office and was able to create prints and such for the collection. My favorite looks were the Mink faux-fur vest (the crop top version that wasn’t shown, though I saw at Tootsies, is on my “want list”), the herringbone exaggerated jacket with ruffle top and pencil skirt suit and the peridot chiffon oversize blouse with peacock handwoven pencil skirt. The finale caused the audience to tear up with joy as not only did David come out for his bow, but he brought out his entire team. He believes that it really takes a team to make the designs happen. He wanted them to experience the fashion show and see how well the community responded to his brand and the impact that it had on the city.

The night ended with Yigal Azrouel presenting his namesake signature Resort and Spring/Summer 2014 collections. He had just presented his other more contemporary line- Cut25, the night before. The collections were very geometric and architectural in design and construction. Once again, he stuck with his two signature and favorite colors- black and white and minimalist silhouettes; although he did add a few splashes of color here and there. We saw body-flattering dresses, moto jackets, slits and zippers. My favorite piece from the collection was the finale dress- a transparent halter dress with geometric structure and a hi-low skirt.

Stay tuned for the final night of Fashion Houston!

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