Tag - Jeannie Vianney

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Austin Fashion Week 2013 at La Zona Rosa
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Austin Fashion Week at the Driskill- Day 2

Austin Fashion Week 2013 at La Zona Rosa

Austin’s fifth annual fashion week (AFW) this year consisted of three days of runway shows and a pop-up marketplace. The shows were held at La Zona Rosa- a music venue located in the Warehouse District of downtown Austin. Unfortunately, this year I was only able to attend one night of events…but that night culminated all the Austin designers that participated in NBC’s Fashion Star and Project Runway, plus some past AFW faves. Upon entering the venue, guests were able to browse a pop-up shop set up by Gilt City and shop the marketplace inside. Vendors this year included: my favorite Austin jewelry designer- Jeannie Vianney, Cynthia Bloom Jewelry, Crystal4U, Andrea Montgomery Designs, Cindy Schulze Jewelry and Hari Mari.

There were eight shows on the final and most-anticipated night of AFW runways and marketplace and it’s my pleasure to introduce them to you:

The first show consisted of whimsical, retro-inspired and fun looks that have been a huge hit in the city of Austin- Crowned Bird. Crowned Bird is the brainchild of Priscilla Barroso and was just recently launched in Fall of 2012 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Priscilla likes of think of her brand as a cross between if Zooey Deschanel and Audrey Hepburn had a style child- it would be Crowned Bird. The brand is made entirely in Dallas using sustainable or deadstock materials that she finds throughout the world. Priscilla makes everything in limited quantities and takes pride knowing that the wearer will have comfort knowing that not everyone will be wearing the same thing. Priscilla further explains, “Crowned Bird is a trans-seasonal brand that can transcend beyond trends and continue to make a statement in any era, any country, and season. I wanted to make clothes that you can wear forever. It’s a brand that you will never find on the racks of Buffalo Exchange. And I’m proud of that.” Austin Fashion Week was her first runway show since being on NBC’s Fashion Star and was a very symbolic evening for her. She showcased looks like the ‘trout skirt’(which was a fan favorite), then transitioned to Spring and finally presented highlights from the Fall 2013 “Dream Pop” collection. I enjoyed seeing the whimsical novelty prints and bold colors. Even though I would love to have one of everything in my closet, I especially LOVED the plaid suit and the orange slice two piece ensemble (I mean who WOULDN’T want to wear orange slice printed pants or top?!)! The collection screamed Spring, hints of vintage influence and strong versatility and wearability that can be transitioned from season to season. If you want to own a piece of Crowned Bird history, I promise it won’t break the bank at prices ranging from $60 to $250.

The next show was Three07, a flirty and feminine brand that is based in Birmingham, Alabama. The brand officially launched in 2010 and was founded by April Moore, Melissa Grimes & Courtni Tyre-who all shared similar passions for fashion and southern values. According to April on becoming a team, “We each have our individual styles, but three07 is our outlet to create pieces that we otherwise would not have created on our own. Together we create an easy ‘look’ that many women can wear. Three heads are better than one!” Their Summer 2013 collection that they showcased during AFW was titled “Bohemian Romance,” in which flowy silhouettes, cute prints and crochet textures played a significant role to create an effortless and fresh vibe. They also threw in some white and orange looks from their “Fall Gameday” collection in honor of local UT fans. I loved the blue off-shoulder maxi dress and printed shorts and pants-which I think are a MUST in upcoming hot Summer months. This brand is also light on the wallet with prices ranging from $40 for tops and up to no more than $80 for dresses. For more information and to see what stores Three07 is sold, go to Three07.com or check out their online boutique at Obaz.com.

There was another southern-based brand in the house that evening- Pearl Southern Couture. The ‘proudly made in the USA’ brand was launched in 2008 by Amber Perley- who was inspired by the charm and culture of the deep south and wanted to create a line to convey that lifestyle. Amber explained that every collection tells a story and is inspired by a different southern city or person. Her inspiration for her Spring 2013 collection was candy, along with Bow Wow Wow’s 1982 hit “I Want Candy,”which was also featured in the Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. After combining all those properties, she concluded that it would make for a great runway show…and it was. The song was catchy and upbeat, mixing with perky models in darling dresses, tops and shorts; flaunting sunglasses and giant lollipops. The brand is perfect for the gal wanting to look chic but doesn’t want to break the bank, with prices ranging from $50-230 retail. Also, catch Amber on Fashion Star!

I first saw Lisa Vian Hunter’s collection during AFW last year and have been a fan ever since. Lisa owns a boutique in Seattle and has her line manufactured here in the USA. She also appeared on Fashion Star during season one. Lisa’s Spring 2013 collection consisted of 50s and 60s inspired dresses, tops and skirts. Lisa scours the world (notably Belgium and Italy) for modern and fun fabrics to create beautiful and effortless clothing that women will want to wear season after season. My faves from the collection were the techno and green print ‘Ava’ dresses (inspired by 1958) and the plaid ‘Suzy’ dresses because they are chic and have a vintage and timeless silhouette. I applaud the Vian Hunter brand for its wearability and versatility for everyday living. Be sure to look out for her bridal collection that will be debuting later this year. Average price points for the collection range from $195-395. Check out VianHunter.com for additional information.

After the intermission, we had the pleasure of being introduced to RVN- a brand that is currently being sold locally at Young and Fabulous in the Hill Country Galleria. RVN was launched in 2011 by designer Ted Kim and is inspired by the creativity and pulsating art, music and fashion vibes of New York City. It is explained that RVN’s collections “are the street art to the backdrop of an urban landscape sizzling with creativity: where dreams are made, stars are born, and where rules are made to be broken.” I loved the flare dresses, especially the black/white striped one. I thought that the bodycon dresses were tasteful and the patterns were thoroughly executed to flatter the body. Prices range from $175-475 and you can find out more information on the RVN Facebook page.

The next Fashion Star designer I’m going to introduce is another Austin favorite- Ross Bennett. Bennett is very well-known in the Austin fashion scene and is also seen wearing a signature tailoring suit, gloves and bow tie. Upon observing the fashion scene during Austin Fashion Week, I just want to point out that AFW founder- Matt Swinney’s wife Kara looked stunning in a custom dress by Ross. The Ross Bennett Collection was launched in 2008 by Ross and his wife-Erin. Their main endeavor is to create classic, custom tailored garments that fit into the modern lifestyle, while also maintaining a Southern influence. As Bennett states, “As the business grows, my team and I are adamant about providing a personalized experience for each and every client. We believe clothing should be recognized as a piece of art, with each piece having its own story to tell. Providing our clients with classic, versatile sense of style that can be worn for decades we are building the next great American fashion empire, ‘getting things done, one stitch at a time.’” Ross’s AFW collection was titled, “The Classical Chaos” and was inspired by he and his wife’s fast-paced lifestyle. Ross breaks it down for LAFashionsnob, “The creative drive that as an artist I need to be able to hone into came from the juxtapositions of wanting a calm environment but having a “hustle and bustle” of a life. I drew comfort knowing that great designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent created some of their best work when their lives were utterly turned up-side-down. I wanted to move away from the traditional Ross Bennett Collection look of pretty and everyday to a more sensuous and daring look.” The collection maintained a general cohesiveness, staying in tune with neutrals while adding bold highlights, such as red and gold. The story that was being conveyed was that of an individual going from the office to a lunch out with friends to a red carpet event in the evening. I am a fan the black/gold hi/low dress and the gold (very Studio 54-inspired in my opinion) strapless dress. Bennett strives to maintain a classic, yet youthful feel for his brand so that women a variety of ages {“forward enough for a college woman but conservative enough for a mom”} are able to wear it. Prices for the collection range from $300 for skirts for $3,000 for an evening gown. They also offer custom bridal gowns and one-of-a-kind pieces. Bennett is also working with Blue Avocado, designing their mens 2013 American Designer Series. That line will be available on Amazon.com soon. He is also a part of the annual Texas Bow Tie Day. For additional information and to shop the collection, go to RossBennettCollection.com.

After viewing her collection during SxSW, I was really excited to learn that Lilly Lorraine was showing during Austin Fashion Week. As I had viewed the same collection during SxSW, seeing it on the runway that evening just made it love it even more. Austin-based Lilly Lorraine was launched in March 2012 by Christi Craven during Style X (SxSW), where she received rave reviews for two garments that she designed and created a textile for, called BAMBLI. Craven explains that “this unique textile utilizes both the soft texture and breath-ability of bamboo, and the warmth of wool to make wonderfully comfortable and stylish winter ensembles.” The technique she used still has a patent pending and the name BAMBLI is in the process of being trademarked. The Fall 2013 collection is called “Rendezvous in the Moonlight” and is inspired by “the neutral tones and textures revealed by the moonlight upon the beauty of the earth’s natural architecture. Surprises revealed by the cast of a moonbeam or gust of wind reveals color, texture and flowing movement that awakening the sense of romance beyond the night’s shadows.” All I really have to say is that this blogger is a fan of everythinnggggg in the collection! Lilly Lorraine has since been worn on Grammy Winner Esperanza Spalding, The Bachelor’s Kacie Boguskie, singer Teresa Williams and Susan Walker. They have also been featured in numerous local and national publications. For more information and to pre-order garments (prices range from $150-1,200), please go to LillyLorraineinc.com.

The finale show for the evening was awarded to Daniel Esquivel-whom you may know from watching season 11 of Project Runway. Daniel’s passion for fashion started at an early age and has since blossomed into a burgeoning career, as he’s been designing Austin’s elite for several years now. His inspiration for the AFW collection came from when he was dancing to “Double Dutchess”- a fabulous group that is based in San Francisco. The collection was comprised of womenswear and a few menswear looks that were all about being happy and free. Esquivel has such a bubbly and sweet personality, which showed in some looks, but lacked in others. My favorite looks from the show were the voluminous black/white polka-dot gown, the yellow/black romper, the short red flare dress and the light pink/silver tiered flowy dress. I’m excited to see what Daniel has in store for the future, though I just hope it doesn’t involve a tee paired with a bikini. You can ‘fan’ Daniel on his Facebook Fan Page and stay up to date with any news and happenings.

Huge thanks to PomPR, the designers, models and the folks at Austin Fashion Week!

Austin Fashion Week at the Driskill- Day 2

Austin Fashion Week day two, held at the Driskill Hotel featured more designers and was just as fun and eventful. Like the first night’s events, there were two intermissions, where guests could check out the marketplace designers. Day two’s designers were: ProjectNCY, Cynthia Bloom, Jeannie Vianney, Bombshell and Alondons. The designer that really caught my eye was local Austin jewelry designer- Jeannie Vianney. My eyes immediately zoomed in on an amazing antique gold lace cast collar necklace. Jeannie launched her first collection online in 2005 and hasn’t looked back since. She is known for her meticulous attention to detail when crafting her lace casts in either silver or gold plate. Check out her collection here! And now, may I present the designer showcase for AFW Day Two:

The first designer of the evening was the much anticipated Boudoir Queen line. Boudoir Queen launched in 1997 in Los Angeles and the its name emanates from a 1920s boudoir doll collection owned by designer Dawn Younger-Smith. Models in chic vintage-inspired garments strutted down the runway to mixed tunes from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I fell in love with the soft mix of peter pan collars, lace, headdresses and socks and tights with little rhinestone detailing on them. Younger-Smith drew her inspiration from 1956 movie- Baby Doll by Tennessee Williams. That movie basically coined the term, ‘baby doll,’ for the short childish dresses or nightgowns that the main character- Baby Doll Meighan was known for. The stunning finale tea-stained pink dress was inspired by Blanche DuBois from Streetcar Named Desire. Dawn felt that by the end of putting the show together, the looks seemed to had taken on a Valley of the Dolls twist. From 1950s innocence to 1960s sultry femininity- Boudoir Queen’s ready-to-wear is sure to please every taste. Since the Boudoir Queen line is mainly one-of-a-kind, prices range from $175-475 for ready-to-wear and $675-1,200 for couture gowns. For more information, please check out the Boudoir Queen website and etsy.

The next line to invade the runway was something girls have dreamt of since they were five- their wedding dresses. Local designer Sarah Eileen brought that memory back to me as I watched her collection of bridal gowns flow gracefully down the runway. Although Sarah launched her company in 2007, she officially debuted her collection during AFW. The collection started out simple, but then gained momentum as I saw that each gown had its own unique personality, whether it be lace detailing on the back, 40s style button-down dramatic back detail or a pretty lace detachable shawl. The finale dress indeed was a showstopper, with an exaggerated full skirt and train and a sexy yet refined lace bodice. When the model got back to the beginning of the runway, she turned and just when we thought it was over, she dropped the full (and now detachable) skirt, revealing a shorter, yet still as gorgeous dress underneath. According to Sarah, “The Finale gown was inspired by brides inquiring for two separate gowns, one that represented a stunning dream wedding gown for the ceremony and on that she could dance and have a great time in at the reception. My idea was to design a transformer gown that was classy for the ceremony and fun for the reception.” From ‘Roaring Twenties’ to the ‘Fabulous Fifties’, the Sarah Eileen Bridal collection is sure to be the object of every bride-to-be’s affection for luscious gowns! For more information, please be sure to check out www.saraheileen.com.

Let’s transition to the next collection… where Steampunk meets Neo-Victorian in a collection titled “The Travels Of Lady Victoria” by San Antonio based label- HOUSE OF KRIMSON (who just launched this Spring). Creative Director Toni J. explains, “Styles [for the Spring 2013 collection] fall into two groups- ‘Aristocrat’ and ‘Time Traveler’. The ‘Aristocrat’ group is more Victorian in aesthetic, with elements like puffed and pleated sleeves, plaids, cinched waists, high necklines and structured shirting. The ‘Time Traveler’ group is modern but with small Victorian influences, muted tones and very body conscious.” I personally loved the blouses with Victorian silhouettes, the avant-garde high-neck collars and the ode to tartan. HOUSE OF KRIMSON not only keeps their designing and manufacturing here in the U.S., but their edgy brand is catered to a both younger and older clientele, as well as a wide range of sizes. “For example, the leggings and pants are mid-rise with a fuller hip and long inseam. The shirts are designed to accentuate the waistline and longer to cover the waistbands. I also incorporate a lot of stretch fabrics so the customer has better mobility and comfort. HOUSE OF KRIMSON is also one of the few boutique lines that is available in sizes two through eighteen. I don’t think fashionistas stop at size twelve and don’t see the logic in limiting the line to such a small size run,” Toni J. states. Prices for the collection range from $65-135 for shirting & bottoms, $125-275 for dresses and jackets, $150 and up for limited editions and leathers. Pieces are only available through pre-order only on the HOUSE OF KRIMSON website.

The next label I’m so excited to share with you literally coins the statement, “If you got, flaunt it!” The models for this presentation did just that… May I present- Savannah Red! Savannah Red launched in September 2009 and is a local Austin brand catered to plus-size women and designed by the lovely Anslee Connell. The clothing that was presented on the runway was cute, unique and really flattered the curvy figure. The theme for the Spring 2013 collection was titled “Native Swing” and drew aesthetics from the 1920s and the Native American culture. Anslee has always been interested in the 1920s and Native American style and she wanted to embrace her strong Cherokee heritage within the collection as well. Anslee (who is self-taught) is not afraid to be fearless and push boundaries when it comes to designing for plus-size women…and why should she be? Fashion, no matter what size you are, should be fun and uplifting! So not only does she design gorgeous flapper dresses, beautiful strapless mermaid gowns and flirty tops with fringe, but all the garments are made from eco-friendly materials. I have to admit, while I loved all the brands during AFW, Savannah Red sure took the cake when it comes to “the life of the party.” The models took their ‘fifteen minutes’ of fame and just let their smiles and personalities shine through and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing that. Along with the garments, the models also wore stunning jewelry, made by Anslee’s friend- Jillian Simmang of Simmang Design. Jillian did a major job with pairing adornments to the appropriate outfits. Prices for the “Native Swing” collection range from $300-2,000, and I’m sure if you ask nicely, Anslee might be able to do custom work as well. How about a dinosaur or cupcake print dress that’s custom-tailored to your body in lieu of the plain LBD? I’ll take mine in a strapless mermaid silhouette with a sweetheart neckline and gotta have a big pink satin bow in the back, please!

The next line is based in Lagos, Nigeria; but with one of the designers living locally. I actually had the opportunity to feature a few of my fascinators in their show (such a huge blessing- thank you ladies)! I would like to announce House of Victoria- designed by sisters: Esther, Elizabeth, Rosemary and Isioma. The brand is named House of Victoria after their two Grandmothers, who were both oddly enough, named Victoria. They were raised by strong women in a family where style was apart of their self-expression. House of Victoria launched in 2010, upon the requests of friends or random people whom they met that were wearing their designs. Their line mixes their wonderfully rich and colorful African (Benin) heritage with some European refinement. Through their dazzling and creative designs, they introduced African fabrics and style to the fashion industry outside of Nigeria. The collection they acquainted us with during AFW was considered their “Coming Out” event and was inspired by the fun-loving woman…the gal who is going about her daily routine but still wants to stand out from the norm. The ornate jewelry and coral accessories are drawn from the ceremonial dress of the Benin people of Nigeria. I drooled over the amazing colors and textures of the garments and lusted over this one particular dress made with tiered tulle and hues of pink with red paneling. I can’t wait to one day travel to Nigeria to experience the wonderful heritage and dress that these lovely ladies shared with us at The Driskill that evening. Their prices start at $200 and are only available at their flagship store in Lagos (25b Akwuzu St. Lekki Phase 1). But they are in the works getting their brand in the U.S. here soon. Stay tuned!

The last brand up of the evening was Rare Trends. It was founded by sisters- Paola Moore and Marina Silver, who hail from Argentina, but are now in Austin. The label is still a baby-having only been around for barely a year and was conceived on a flight to Montreal. Paola had written the business plan and shared it to her sister once the plane landed and the two built the brand based on their love for Argentina, the creative design process to their love of fashion and Austin. According to Paola, “Our slogan is our mantra, we believe women should wear art. For years we traveled the globe and noticed how fashion veered to mass manufacturing and fewer designing techniques. Each of our garments has a unique design process and they each tell a story. Our collections are bold, intelligent, architectural and full of movement. We create pieces by working with designers in Argentina who have incredible skill and listen to the needs of what women in America want. Really an artistic expression.” They actually had two collections go down the runway. The first collection featured Allo Martinez, an Argentinian designer they have been collaborating with. The first collection truly represented the ‘Allo woman’- sleek, sexy and sophisticated; and featured Fall/Winter pieces like overcoats, evening/cocktail gowns and suits. The ‘blue is the new black’ trend made quite an impression on the runway as well, as featured on a biker jacket, pants and several dresses. I loved the blue and red pleated mini-dresses and the got a kick out of the dresses that would be simple going down the runway, but then once the model turned, BAM… dramatic plunging back with a cross necklace. LOVED the finale “Dots”dress…a black number with metallic polka dot stamping in front and then plunging back with a row of polka dots cascading down the middle. The second runway show was Rare Trends and sticking true to their native Argentina, they included the inspirations of: leather, design, tango and elegance. The ‘Teardrop’ collection was inspired by the melancholy of the tango (which was played in the background as the models swayed down the runway) and could be witnessed on skirts, shirts and overcoats. There was no basic dress in this collection, as the designers conceptualized a dress with two-tone fabric and eye-catching raised sleeves. Metallic leather tops, alluring knit dresses with leather detail and skin-tight pencil skirts married glamour with ‘met my boyfriend and stole my Grandmother’s hat.’ The finale dress, named “Spirit of Art” was another fave of mine, with the tulle and floral cut-out detail. I also thought it was mighty clever to include a bouquet of paintbrushes. Prices for the collections range from $150-900. Check out RareTrends.com for more information!

Huge Thanks to Matt Swinney, the designers, models, volunteers, Kristen of PomPR, hair and make-up by: Aziz Salon and FaceKandy.

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