Tag - Fashion Houston

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Fashion Houston- Day 4
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Fashion Houston Day 3
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Fashion Houston- Day 2

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!

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!

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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