Tag - Matt Swinney

1
Austin Fashion Week at the Driskill- Day 2
2
Austin Fashion Week at the Driskill- Day 1

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.

Austin Fashion Week at the Driskill- Day 1

I relocated to the Capital of Texas- Austin, just in time for their annual Austin Fashion Week. It was held at the historic (and haunted) Driskill Hotel. Determined to include Austin as a legitimate fashion city, founder Matt Swinney launched AFW in July of 2009, but didn’t add the Driskill events until 2011. This year’s fashion extravaganza promised to bring out fresh local talent, as well as designers from around the world. The first evening of AFW, we were introduced to five designers: Isabella Rose, Bobby K., Ashley Zaba, Tess Designs and Lisa Kaminski. There were two intermissions and during those intermissions, guests were able to browse the ‘marketplace,’ which included: Valentina Shoes, Over the Moon, Jahanna Martinez and booths which featured an interactive survey and little goodies from Google +/Zagat and Fiat USA.

I’d like to introduce you to Austin-based designer Isabella Rose, who was the first designer of the evening. The cute resort collection was chic and simple…though with two cool attributes: one, it’s for tweens (girls) and the designer is only ELEVEN! Young Isabella as always been an artist at heart, which began with painting at age three. That love of art, as well as color and texture, eventually progressed into fashion when she started experimenting with sewing. She launched her label Isabella Rose (named after her of course) just two years ago and from then on, has been designing, manufacturing and fabric sourcing so she could learn as much as she can. Her collection in the show was inspired by her art. She had just completed “Color Stories” that was a series of paintings where she tried to capture the spirit and personality of each portrait through color. That color palette was the inspiration behind her resort collection and she wanted girls her age to be able to mix ‘n match the colors to express themselves. The Fall collection was inspired by Isabella’s experimentation with figurative drawing using charcoal. Trying to emphasize how form can be contained within harder boundaries, she had a mix of flowy blouson tops with edgy faux leather pieces. We saw what we thought was a plain white shrug paired with a black dress with lacy neckline, but when the model turned, we saw a self-portrait of the designer on the back of the shrug. The original painting was done when Isabella was ten and stands around five feet tall. ” I wanted to incorporate my art into my fashion in a more direct way other than just inspiration,” Isabella explained. She also had one of her paintings printed on the silk chiffon scarves that the models were wearing on the runway. Isabella herself even proudly walked the runway, clad in a faux leather shift dress and statement necklace. She looked amazing and for an eleven year old, she has incredible talent. You can expect to see more a ready-to-wear and dress collection in the future. As Isabella adds, “I feel like my friends and I always have trouble finding dresses we like – they are either too grown up or too childish.” She will be participating in Dallas Fashions Night Out and having an installation of her current line and some artwork at Kristy Stubbs Gallery. She will also be having trunk shows in select cities throughout the rest of this year. For more information, check out isabellarosefashion.com.

Next up is eclectic designer-BOBBY K. From skull cut-out back detailing on a tee to a spicy color blocked body-con dress, BOBBY K. made a statement on the runway. The Gainesville, FL based brand was launched in 2005 by Bobby Kelley and just focused on accessories. In 2006, the brand then transitioned into mens and womens apparel. The collection we viewed during AFW was from his Fall 2012 collection. It is inspired by a newly found independence he had personally experienced and was guided by the latest Sleigh Bells album, “Reign of Terror.” Lots of spandex, mesh, color blocking, chiffon and knit indeed ‘reigned’ in this collection. I love the muted navy and plaids paired with bright accessories. According to Bobby, “I design for someone who is ‘downtown,’ they live a lot of life, they work, party and do it all over again. Very much so the ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality. I make a garment and the expectation is that whoever wears it will walk into a room, and everyone is like ‘bitch’….” Such is that with this edgy collection. I could imagine myself bursting into a room in the multi-colored body-con dress, the hand crocheted dress or the chiffon jumpsuit. To add more SHAZAM to your wardrobe, check out BOBBYK.com!

After the first intermission, we viewed a chic swimwear line by Ontario, Canada-based Ashley Zaba. I absolutely adore this swimwear collection, which had sort of a retro vibe to it. I loved the mixing of prints and colors and the fitted construction of the tops. The brand launched in 2008 with emphasis on contemporary womens wear, but also a strong awareness on swimwear. Ashley’s love of adventure, travel and photography has helped inspire the unique print mixing, colors and cuts that has ultimately become the label’s signature. This year at AFW was Zaba’s debut collection of swimwear and was influenced by the ocean in general, along with white sands and sun tans, as well as old world charm that flows into the streets of Cuba (where she plans to travel this winter). While she mixed the prints of the suites for the runway, each style comes with its coordinating color top and bottom. She just styled them separately on the runway to show the line’s versatility, but personally, I love (and would prefer to wear) the mix of color and prints. So along with a stand out customizable approach, Zaba’s label focuses on quality and fit, making sure the inner construction of padding delivers flattering silhouettes for all body types. Each swim item is sold separately, with tops ranging from $90-140 and bottoms ranging from $60-80. One pieces run around $180. She also has a small selection of cover-ups available for an average of $115. Ashley Zaba Swim will soon be available for purchase online beginning March 2013, with pre-orders on her website starting November/December 2012. Find out more information on Zaba at ashleyzaba.com!

Next, I would like to introduce another Austin-based brand, Tess Designs. I had the chance to briefly meet designer Theresa Kopecky after the event and her sweet and bubbly personality coincides with her collection of vintage-inspired girly printed dresses and tops and feminine separates. Kopecky’s Spring/Summer 2013 line was inspired by a road trip she had recently made through the Southern states-from New Orleans to Jacksonville. She re-imagined old world Southern charm and infused a little bit of modern silhouettes and voila, we saw her vision come alive during AFW! The silk cotton and linen separates, playful seersucker suits and handpainted silk dresses were simple, yet… had us envision the days of classic Americana, optimism and a longing for days of a monthly book club party with mint julep, sweet tea, scones and finger sandwiches. For example, actress Jaime King’s character in Hart of Dixie- Lemon Breeland would eat this collection up and fabulously pair a dainty floral print dress with one of her signature fascinators. Theresa also shared cocktail dresses from her Holiday 2012 collection, inspired by the lavish jewel-tones of the Arabian Nights. The collection was styled by Leonardo D’Almagro, with jewelry by Personal Adornments and sweet little fascinators by Austin-based Milli Starr. What’s also great about Tess Designs, is that it is manufactured here in Texas. The Spring/Summer 2013 collection will be available for purchase beginning February 2013. Prices for separates range from $65-90, $130-250 for the day dresses and $220-260 for the cocktail line. Check out tessdress.com for more information!

After the second and last intermission, we viewed the final collection- an eco-conscious swimwear line by Jacksonville, FL based Lisa Kaminski. This self-taught designer was born and raised on the sandy beaches on North Florida and made her first bikini at age fifteen. As I had mentioned before, her line is eco-friendly, having only using reclaimed hardware and found materials, while utilizing superb craftsmanship; as each suit is constructed with double fabric durability. Her 2012 collection that she showcased during AFW was inspired by a trip to Italy. According to Kaminski, ” I wanted to express that with my dramatic opera music intro of Pavarotti’s “Nessum Dorma” with looks: The colors Tangerine and Coral is very on trend! As well as Blue (Cobalt or Royal), Aquamarine, Pinks, Purple and White, colored animal prints, color blocking, and retro florals.” We also previewed eight designs from the 2013 collection, which included two mono-kinis in “Happiness” and “Shining Star” and a one-of-a-kind swimsuit inspired by a reclaimed Radiohead concert tee. The finale bikini, called “The Beagle” was designed for canine lovers and a portion of the proceeds go to the ASPCA. The model wearing the bikini walked the runway with ‘Nipper’ the beagle, who is a local hound that needs a loving home. Please email info@houndrescue.com for more information. The Lisa Kaminski brand is quite unique in that they are made in small quantities, artisan-inspired and made in Florida using only the best reclaimed fabrics, hardware and vintage pins. Her prices vary depending on how limited the design is or it’s an original one-of-a-kind: $79-359. Her suits are available online and at Red Boutique in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. For more information, check out lisakaminski.com!

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

And that’s a wrap for day one of Austin Fashion Week. Stay tuned for day two….

Copyright © 2013. Created by Meks. Powered by WordPress.