“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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Fashion Houston- Day 2

Fashion Houston day two brought upon a new era of anticipation as the night starred a number of well-known New York designers. The evening’s line-up was Bibhu Mohapatra, Rebecca Taylor, Chris Knott for Peter Millar, Yigal Azrouel and Nicole Miller.

The first designer that showed when the lights went down was fashion and costume designer Bibhu Mohapatra. Indian-American Bibhu has always had a knack for fashion from an early age. He started out by designing clothing for his sister. After moving to New York City, he enrolled in FIT. During that time, he won the Critic’s Award for Best Evening Wear Designer during his senior year, which launched his fashion career to the next level. He has worked for Halston and J. Mendel before he transitioned to launch his namesake label in 2009. Since his launch, Bibhu strives to focus on “designing clothing with quality, craftsmanship, luxurious integrity and a life of beyond one season.” His love of lavish Indian fabrics, vivid colors and the crafts of his beloved native India are what draws most of his inspiration for his collections. While his Spring/Summer 2014 collection he showcased during Fashion Houston was influenced by the freedom, grace and beauty of modern dance, whereas the floral pieces showed a nod to have been influenced by the bright orange red Butea Monosperma (or Indian Palash) flower. The flower signifies a notion that Spring is coming and boy was Spring alive in the collection (and even the on the two projection screens between the runway)! Billowy dresses in Palash and geometric cut-out prints danced effortlessly down the runway. If that wasn’t enough eye-candy; tops, dresses and pants that were embellished with 3-D flowers were paired with their chic, crisp white reciprocals. Thank you Mr. Mohapatra for bringing a little bit of New York panache dressed with some Indian flair to the city of Houston.

For the next showcase, we switched gears a little towards a contemporary ready-to-wear collection of New York City designer Rebecca Taylor. In the beginning (circa the 90s) she, along with business partner Beth Bugdaycay started the brand under humble practices, such as going the sales, packing and shipping themselves. Both women are very grateful on how far they have come. Rebecca is well-known as a master of layering delicate dresses and skirts with textured and knit tops. For her Spring 2014 collection, she looked towards Cecil Beaton photographs from India, 90s rap style, American work wear, floral lithographs and a quote in a film about Impressionist painter- Renoir. The quote is paraphrased (since it was originally in French) as, “There is so much ugly in the world, why not make something beautiful?” Rebecca indeed made the world a bit more beautiful that evening as layered sporty yet very downtown chic looks breezed down the runway. The sporty looks also easily flowed into the last part of the collection, which featured pretty frocks and separates with ethereal Impressionist-style floral prints.

Cut25 by Yigal Azrouel was among the myriad of well-known New York City designers to present their collections during Fashion Houston. The talented Israeli born designer launched his namesake brand in 1998 and gained rave reviews for his womens ready-to-wear collections. He is now known for his impeccable construction, lux fabrications and cutting-edge designs. He recently debuted his latest line- Cut25 back in 2010. Cut25 is Yigal’s more contemporary line that associates high fashion with the simplicity of everyday wear. The line offers a youthful, feminine yet edgy appeal that marries exclusive fabrics and body-conscious contours. The Spring 2014 collection that was viewed was very streamlined and simple. There was ample black and white contrasting, moto jackets and vests, Baroque prints, body-con dresses, leather leggings and asymmetrical hemlines.

Chris Knott brought preppy menswear to Houston through his company- Peter Millar. Knott founded the brand in 2001 and created the name “Peter Millar” based on an inscription from an antique lawn bowling ball his Mother had given to him. He felt the bowling ball was from an era when people cared passionately about the impression they were actualizing in their daily lives. It is because of this, that Knott instills careful attention to detail, luxurious fabrics and superb craftsmanship in all his golf and lifestyle wear. We witnessed his Spring 2014 menswear collection that evening, which consisted of classic yet modern mens separates, which were seemingly inspired by Hamptons-meets-Southern charm. Colors were mixed. Solids and pastels popped against stripes and plaids. The classic mens suit was given a new modernized yet handsomely tailored twist. Kudos to Mr. Knott for giving men everywhere a chance to golf and paint the town red in style.

The last designer to show that evening was another well-known NYC designer- Nicole Miller. Growing up, Nicole studied at Rhode Island School of Design and had “intense” training for a year at L’Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, where she trained in fabric manipulation, drape and the art of haute couture. She launched her company with business partner- Bud Konheim in 1982. Since then, her designs are focused on either black or brightly colored form-flattering dresses and very uptown separates with a hint of edginess. She pays strict attention to the cut of the garment, such as: necklines, proportions and curves. Miller’s Spring 2014 collection titled “Rebels with a Cause” was set against a digital floral backdrop with the beat of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” blaring throughout the venue. Her signature form-fitting dresses were the stars of the show, with floral prints and body contouring lines. We also saw florals and solids in an elaborate patchwork motif. Florals were tastefully mixed with stripes and popped against neutral solids.

Miller’s show was the perfect ending to the second day of Fashion Houston.

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Fashion Houston- Day 1

Downtown Houston’s Wortham Center became the hub of the Houston fashion industry’s four day fashion extravaganza, known as Fashion Houston. Fashion Houston was launched in October 2010 by Jared Lang, in hopes to bridge Houston as one of the pivotal fashion cities of the the world. He points out that Fashion Houston caters more to the consumers than the buyers, which helps to set Houston apart from other fashion weeks around the world.

This year, Fashion Houston brought on board seventy-two designers, both local and international. The runway shows were sold out every night and each show provided their own unique flavor to the Houstonians in the audience. This year, Neal Hamil (of the Neal Hamil Agency) was the ever-so-charming and witty emcee. The first night consisted of six designers: Marios Schwab, Catherine Deane, Amir Taghi, Viet Nguyen, Jo’se Reyes and Talbot Runhof.

London-based Marios Schwab was the first designer to present his Spring/Summer 2014 collection to us. Schwab officially launched his own brand in 2005, after having quite an extensive background in fashion design training (including the prestigious Central Saint Martins). Schwab’s collection is called, ‘Contours’ and featured body-con dresses with minimalist airbrushed lines that seemed to mimick the female form. We also saw crisply tailored white separates that were paired together with fun dark brown (and brown sequined) lattice panel patterned counterparts. If some of the garments were looked at from a more closer angle, you can see that some of the detailing on some of the pieces are fastened with staples. His entire collection basically played homage to the female form, in tasteful representation. My favorite pieces were the lattice panel patterned pieces and the sheer gowns with contouring lines and styled with gold sequin skirts. These dresses were casually accessorized with chic backpacks and Grecian sandals that were in collaboration with Greek sandal makers- Pantelis Melissinos and his Father, the ‘Poet Sandal Maker.’ The contemporary sandal collection was inspired by the artistic nature of the family-owned business (and the celebrities who have worn them, like Jackie O and Sophia Loren). If you are looking for something that will enhance your curves, then look no further than Marios Schwab!

There was another fellow Brit involved in Fashion Houston- luxury womens wear designer Catherine Deane. After relaunching in 2008, Catherine’s esthetic ensured flowy fine fabrics that draped flatteringly around the female form. All this resulted in the creation of stunning and wearable gowns and separates. In 2012, she refocused her brand on full-length evening and cocktail gowns that soon gained recognition among the ranks of Lanvin, Gucci and Celine (but at a more affordable price point). Throughout her design career, Catherine has been inspired by the cultural references she from took from her nomadic lifestyle {having been born in Ireland, raised and educated in South Africa before moving on to London} and her passion of long forgotten craft techniques. “My work is a very personal expression of my observation of nature and beauty, my exploration of culture, people and places, and a strong faith in an extraordinary outcome. I use the craft techniques as my starting point and develop in an organic process of layering and sometimes taking away until I find I have reached a balance in each piece.” Also in 2012, Deane was appointed Ambassador over at the Unlimited Child. For every dress (starting with her Autumn/Winter 2012 collection) sold, the brand will make a donation that is commensurate to a year’s worth of educational toys for one underprivileged child. To this day, the brand wholeheartedly stands by their ambassadorial statement: Beauty. Craft. Exploration. Faith. Benevolence. Catherine’s Resort 2014 was inspired by the return to London and everything the city embodies: culture, history, energy and colors. The color palette of subtle pastel greys, ballet pinks, hints of green, opal diamante embellishments and 3D embroideries are reminiscent of past eras. Some pieces shined in cream and black hues and the pieces that offered significant details like contouring lines in solids and sequins that are what give the collection a feminine edge. This brand is for the bride or gal looking to feel amazing and stand out during her special day or occasion.

This next designer is only SEVENTEEN and he’s already taken Houston by storm. I would like to introduce Amir Taghi. Growing up, Amir was surrounded by a great sense of style. His Grandfather opened up a high-end menswear boutique after emigrating to the US from Iran. The shop specialized in such Italian brands as: Brioni, Versace and Ricci. Amir also credits his mother- Fariba Taghi for having amazing style. This prodigy has always had a knack for fashion. He started designing at the the age of five and then launched his label at fifteen during a private fashion show. He just recently interned at Oscar de la Renta this past July and really got to delve deep into the industry by working closely with the head designers and then met Oscar himself. He can now add ‘showing at Fashion Houston’ to his credentials. His Spring/Summer 2014 collection was inspired by the classic and elegant look of the 50s, only modernized. To set the mood of the modernized 50s gal, he turned to the Japanese Samurai as inspiration. He narrowed it down to their armor, which consisted of many layers of metal. He used that concept as a focal point on the shoulders of his garments. He also had a strong focus on sheer paneling, leather and the color blue as well as its complementary color- orange. Let’s also talk about the models eyelashes, shall we? They were originally designed by Aubrie Layne from Therapy, but were made for the show by Jentry Kelley. I really loved the leather bustier with peplum, the white leather shorts with contrasting black peplum and the navy blue strapless dress with poofy tulle skirt. In the future, Amir wants to transition into sportswear as well. You can find his collection at Tootsies.

This next collection offered incredible fabric manipulation detail that blew my mind. Houston designer Viet Nguyen’s interest in fashion was conceived back in 1999 when he was working as a fabric designer in Vietnam. In 2004, he emigrated to the States, where he took various jobs in the industry and also took classes at Houston Community College. Upon graduating, he has participated in several fashion shows and has won many competitions. Viet’s brand is called VKNfashion, which stands for Viet Kent Nguyen fashion. His collection that was showcased during Fashion Houston was based on TR (Transformational Reconstruction), which is the belief on the basic body and reconstruction into a new look. He used a new technique called “VORTEX,” which was the flower-like 3D detail on most of his pieces. The whole collection was just otherworldly and visually stunning. I adored his use of pastels mixed with bold lines and subtle metallics and sheers. That jacket with structured peplum and the skirts with tapered silhouettes that then flow out at the knees…just gorgeous. “Fashion has become my greatest passion. Every time I see something in nature or in the world of fine art, I immediately ask, ‘How can I translate this in clothing.’ The process of creating fashion is not only my livelihood, but also something that truly makes me happy. Fashion allows me to express myself in ways that words cannot,” stated Nguyen.

Hawaiian native Jo’se Reyes learned all the fine points of sewing from his Mother. Growing up, he explored his artistic side by experimenting with all sorts of creative mediums. He studied Toxicology and Environmental Science at Rice University; but after deciding that toxicology and Environmental Science weren’t his cup-of-tea, he returned to his first love- fashion and enrolled in Houston Community College’s fashion program (he is slated to graduate this month). Upon seeing his collection, I can definitely say that Reyes found his true calling. He did everything (from the sewing to the dyeing of textiles) himself. The collection was inspired by Dior’s ‘New Look’ designs from the 40s and 50s and Marie Antoinette, if she lived in modern times. He focused on 18th century details, such as the tiny cinched waist and accentuated hips and used those primarily in the suits in bold solids (my fave was the green one). He based the black tulle, sheer and handpainted number off of Marie’s mourning clothing (from when she lost two of her children). The gorgeous black lace and leather jacket was based off of Marie’s hunting jacket. One of the fun facts regarding the voluptuous blue gown is that it took Reyes three weeks to get the fabric dyed that lovely shade of blue. Jo’se Reyes, if Marie was alive today, I think she would be proud! To contact Jo’se regarding ordering and such, please email him at jyoseireyes@gmail.com.

The last brand to make an entrance that evening was Munich-based Talbot Runhof. The brand was launched in 2000 by dream team- Johnny Talbot and Adrian Runhof. Tennessee born Talbot started out as an electrical engineer. While on a business trip to Munich, he met Runhof…and the rest is history. Talbot dropped engineering and partnered with Runhof to create the brand that is popular to this day. Talbot is the brains behind the construction and mathematical precision of each piece, whereas Runhof oversees the styling, image and marketing aspects of the brand. The duo presented their Spring/Summer 2014 collection titled “Down with Love” and inspired by Barbra Streisand, when she sang “Down with Love.” They also merged that concept along with the lyrics, music of Harald Arlen, the costumes that were designed by Irene Sharaff and Barbra’s cleopatra eyes. The collection embraced whimsical fabrics (like black and white piano keyboard prints), strong shoulders, flared skirts, hologram foil flower detailing, open backs, embroidered necklines and Barbra’s signature cape silhouette. My favorites from the collection include the dresses with black and white zig-zagging and the dresses, pants and jumpsuit with the piano keyboard print. This collection was a great ending to the first evening of Fashion Houston.

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Giuseppe Zanotti’s Rare Texas Visit

I had the pleasure of experiencing a rare occurrence- shoe designer to the stars (like Beyoncé, Rhianna, Lady Gaga and Kanye) – Giuseppe Zanotti made a rare appearance at Saks Fifth Avenue at Houston’s upscale Galleria mall. The event consisted of a Q&A session with the designer and Joy Sewing, passed champagne and light bites and a glimpse of the latest collection. The event benefited Recipe for Success Foundation- which was launched in 2005 by Gracie Cavnar. This charity caters to helping to fight childhood obesity by changing the way children understand, appreciate and eat their food; as well as educating and mobilizing the community to provide a healthier diet for children all over the city of Houston.

There was a large audience in attendance to hear the Italian designer speak with Houston Chronicle reporter-Joy Sewing. It was such a joy to hear the “master shoe designer” himself speaking about how he got started in the business and his perspective on his brand, etc. He was very down-to-earth and had some great advice. We were even introduced to one of his sons- Ricardo, who was looking dapper in a sneaker from his father’s menswear collection. Here are some highlights from the Q&A session:

*His love of shoes and fashion (which started at a young age) comes in second prior to his love of music.

*He still has his first pair of shoes from his Mother, which he acquired when he was around 7 or 8 years old.

*He was a radio DJ in Italy before his rise to fame as shoe designer.

*He owns over 17,000 pair of shoes. Those of which are from his brand and also shoes he buys from all over the world.

*He designed the shoes for the ‘Mrs. Carter World Tour.’

*He designs 800 shoes every six months.

*Twenty years ago during his first season, he sold 700 pairs of shoes. Now he sells over 500,000 pairs per year.

*When asked about making mistakes as a designer, Mr. Zanotti replied, “I don’t want to follow what the other designers are doing…If you follow everybody else, you can lose that direction. It’s better to be passionate. Sometimes you need to do something wrong to learn…”

*His suggestion to young designers: “Be passionate, learn and then dream. Think. Fly very far with your mind. Pick something and take a risk. Take your risk and follow yourself {not everyone else}.”

*He designs for beauty and not so much comfort.

*When asked if his shoes had a song, he replied, “ABC by the Jackson-5.”

*He doesn’t have just one muse. “When I close my eyes, I have to think ‘woman and wardrobe.’ {I have to have a shoe for every occasion}. I get excited when I see something cool…like an outfit or in the street. Or a great tattoo or expression or personality. Also, beautiful vintage jewels or a super-chic classic dress with a nice cut…all is inspiration…”

It was great listening to this amazing and very humble designer speak about some of his life and design experiences. I also had the extreme honor (and the equivalent of star-struck, but in the fashion sense) of meeting him. Total highlight of my week!

Thank you Saks and Recipe for Success for allowing me to attend!

heathermarie_033's Giuseppe  Zanotti Event album on Photobucket
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Mix 96.5 Project Glam 2013- Houston

It was a rainy Thursday evening, but that didn’t stop Houston’s fashionista crowd from trekking out to the Bayou City Events Center for Project Glam- a one night fashion and beauty event that is open to the public. The event was hosted by CBS Radio’s Mix 96.5 and featured local vendors, VIP beauty treatments, accessories, product samples and style consultations, giveaways, exclusive offers and sweepstakes prizes. Vendors this year included: Amerejuve, Avon, Bedroom Kandi/Naughty Girl, Bootights, Color by Amber, Dao Chloe Dao, Deeter Mazda, Dice, Dulce Vida, Edward Sanchez, Evamor, Glam Boutique, Haute Chic Boutique, Houston Texans, Jamberry Nails, King of Luxe Paris, La Vie, Lavo Collections, Lola G, Mary Kay, Niagara Water, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Page Parkes, Personal Safety, Pomp & Circumstance, Rebel Rise, Rodan-Felds, Silver Eagle, South Hill Designs, Stiletto Stampede, Supple Skin, The Rose, Tie and Fashion Guy, Vida Antigua/Yoko Vintage, Woody’s Furs, Wrapped in Wellness and Your Nail Palace.

My favorite vendors of the evening were: Lola G Boutique, Pomp & Circumstance, Rebel Rise, Dao Chloe Dao and Vida Antigua/Yoko Vintage. I immediately hit it off with Lola G‘s owner- Gisela, as she’s a fellow Los Angeles native. I also learned about portable pop-up dressing rooms when I saw that she (and several other vendors) had one at the event. Her inventory included trendy pieces that she felt she would bring a taste of LA to Houston. Pomp & Circumstance- another local Houston boutique offered exceptional jewelry, like the “Sophie” layered necklaces and the “Saint Benedict”- which has a vintage rosary pendant with St. Benedict on it. There were also other cute accessories and clothing in their stash as well. Rebel Rise gave shoppers a taste of statement jewelry. Dao Chloe Dao is a local boutique owned by Project Runway alum- Chloe Dao. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to meet her, but I saw that she had some of her designs, as well as clothing and accessories from the boutique on hand for shoppers. Lastly, Vida Antigua and Yoko Vintage were on hand, sharing a booth and showcasing their best vintage sequins, prints and wildly awesome accessories.

The highlight of the event was fashion show. It was hosted by three of Mix 96.5′s radio personalities and spotlighted several looks from a variety of the vendors there. It was styled by top Houston stylist- Todd Ramos.

Thank you for having me and I can’t wait for next year’s event!

heathermarie_033's Project Glam album on Photobucket
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