Rubin Singer held his Spring 2017 collection preview in the intimate spaces at Highline Stages. He presented 32 looks, ranging from cocktail-chic to red carpet glam. His collection is titled “Into the Deep,” which centers around the concept of deep space exploration. “I went with this concept because my work is always reflective upon what’s going on at the time. I really wanted to focus into my strengths, and really go deep into them. Conceptually going into outer space felt right,” Singer further explained.
In the past, the designer has done collections based on quantum physics, abstract algebraic functions, and grammar. “I have very cerebral concepts a lot of the time. This one in particular felt that it could go wrong very quickly, you could start going into Barbarella or The Jetsons; but luckily after two weeks of working it out, I feel like I landed in a good spot.”
The ready-to-wear collection took about six months to develop, and then a month to make. Singer develops all of his fabrics and techniques. Everything is custom-made and made in New York. “The paillettes were custom-printed iridescent foiled plastic. I found several meteor-like rocks that I had found in different places and had them drilled and presented in a way that we could actually embroider them into the fabric. The supernova prints are all about lightspeed and time travel. All the different things came together in different ways, but all referencing outer space,” the designer said.
When asked why he had more of an intimate presentation, rather than a runway show, Rubin replied, “I wanted the presentation in this format because it’s about the clothes. I didn’t want to distract away from it, whether it be the make-up,hair, or shoes. The clothes are already so intricate, I didn’t want to get anything else involved.”
Recent HCC grad- Alan Gonzales held his first large-scale fashion show not long ago at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The fashion show had two showings over the course of a weekend. Now, this was not your ordinary fashion show. You see, Alan has been a theater major all his life. His fashion career started in high school when he wanted to showcase the costume designers, because he felt that the stage is always for the actors; and the costume designers never got as much praise as they should have. He felt that their work is also just as amazing. So, he decided to produce a fashion show for them. They then got the models and the venue ready, but when it came time to do it, the designers approached him, saying they couldn’t do it (and gave every excuse in the book). So they decided not to do it… That is, until one of the models, who didn’t get the memo, asked when the rehearsals were. Alan told him that there wasn’t going to be a show. He didn’t have designers. The model’s response led him to have a change of heart. “Do you need designers? What if YOU make the clothes?”
So within a month, he put together 35 designs and had his own fashion show. “That’s when I realized I think I could do it for a living. I found that I had so much happiness and beauty in myself being on stage. I like being able to project that on other people. So when I make a design, at that point it becomes about that person and their personality and getting to see themselves in their dream dress,” Gonzalez explained.
So, with that being said, it’s only fitting that, when you have an awesome theater background such as Alan’s, that when you put on a major fashion event, you have to “go big or go home,” right?!
He’s been working on this project for a year now, though it took about four to five months working with the models and getting the videos done by cinematographer- Andrew Petersen. The evening’s festivities started out with mingling in the Grand Hall. When it was time to proceed to the theater, we were treated to a Mariachi Band and models in long gowns as we walked down the main stairwell. We gathered in a smaller lobby, where a few more models in Gonzales’ designs were posing. One gal wore a white strapless dress, with the skirt created out of paper. This dress played the role of Alan’s guestbook. It was cool having a hands-on experience, being able to literally write on one of his creations.
We then headed to the Giant Screen Theater, where all three of Alan’s F/W 2016 collections would be presented on the 60ft x 80ft screen.
His ready-to-wear collection – “My Queen’s Fate” – was filmed in an abandoned building. Again, having his theater background in mind, Alan had two actors- Zachary Givens and Justin Gibbons- doing an intense fight scene, both on video and in the theater. The scene had an underlying message that also was in relation to the mass shootings that have been plaguing the world these last few years. “The idea of me not being able to control everything and knowing that some things are just out of my control. So the whole collection is black and white and it’s a knit, so it’s ready to wear. While the models are walking down the runway, we have actors shooting paint at the clothing while it walks, so the end result of how it looks or what the print is…I have no idea…It’s been scary not knowing, but it’s been great seeing the result of this new dress that I didn’t have control over.”
His avant-garde collection- “The Carter Collection – was filmed on scaffolding on the side of a church. Alan’s inspiration for that particular collection came from a situation he had with his best friend of almost seven years. Long story short, there was lots of unneeded drama and they have not spoken since. When Alan came back home, he took out all his aggression on his sketches. “The collection is red and black, paired with chicken wire hats .. so the whole collection is very aggressive. On a market standpoint, the collection covers your body from head to toe. The clothes don’t show much skin, which I think is very important, because we’re starting to notice the importance of women in today’s society- not just as these physical beings. So it’s nice to have women look great without showing skin.”
His last collection of the evening, the haute couture collection – “Glacier”- was filmed by a lake three quarters of a mile from where they parked. “I was trying to bring this ‘lake that had been frozen over with a mountainscape in the background’ to the city of Houston. But you don’t see that here. So I had to work with fabrics that would give you the sense of winter and cold and…just a glacier; but at the same time, it was Houston weather. So all the pieces are really light. The dress that everyone has been going crazy over (including yours truly) is 36 yards of fabric with horsehair hem at the bottom. I snuck boning into it as well, in order to give it the pouf that it has. The movement of it just comes from this ‘airy glacier’ that’s happening. Despite it being 36 yards of fabric, it’s extremely light and very breathable for Houston weather; that was my main concern, because winter here is never really “winter.” You get this breeze and than that’s it…”
After the video presentations, we proceeded back to the Grand Hall, where all 26 designs were on display on models. It was so cool actually seeing the clothes up close. I think that Alan did a fantastic job putting the whole production together and serving some fierce “Alantude.” Plus, what an interesting new fashion show concept, eh?
Check out Alan’s website for his portfolio and additional information!