Tag - Ross Bennett

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Austin Fashion Awards 2013
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Austin Fashion Week 2013 at La Zona Rosa
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“Fashionably Pink” Event- Austin

Austin Fashion Awards 2013

It wasn’t until my recent attendance at the 2013 Austin Fashion Awards that it dawned on me… I’m really digging the golden boots…Not just because they are handed out to lucky individuals in the Austin fashion crowd, but they look ahem…fashionable…like ‘I wouldn’t mind pairing them with a pair of skinnies or a skirt or dress’ fashionable.

Ok..so all analogies aside, the ceremony took place at Austin Music Hall and was hosted by Sandy McIlree from the JB & Sandy Morning Show on Mix 94.7. The event featured The Golden Boot awards, with fashion shows mixed in between. There was also an intermission where guests could shop the pop-up shops by such vendors as Raven & Lilly and Goorin Bros. hats, check out Facecake- who’s concept ‘Swival’ allows users to be able to virtually try on clothing and accessories in real-time; and get have some fun in the photo booth. The host was witty and kept the audience entertained throughout the show, while also excusing himself during intermission to quickly have a tie made by Ross Bennett. Huge congratulations should be in order for the following winners:

2013 TRAILBLAZERS:

~ Stephen Macmillan Moser
~ Kendra Scott
~ Cheryl Conley Bemis (Fashionably Austin)
~ Lance Avery Morgan (The Society Diaries)
~ Rochelle Rae

2013 RISING STARS:

~ Isabella Rose Taylor
~ Daniel Esquivel
~ Jennifer Martinson
~ Sandra Antoun
~ Priscilla Barroso

2013 Mash-Up Team Winners:

~ Best Mash Up Team (Critic’s Choice): EON
~ Best Hair & Makeup Team (People’s Choice): The Innovators
~ Best Mash Up Team (People’s Choice): Vintage Deity

There were five runway shows that evening. The first show offered looks from forty mash-up teams (meaning a team of at least a Photographer, Hair Stylist, Makeup Artist, Apparel Designer and Model- who then had to put together a concept for one amazing image). Then the last four involved four of Austin’s most distinguished designers: Kendra Scott, Boudoir Queen, Gail Chovan and Stephen Moser.

I would like to begin with Boudoir Queen by Dawn Younger-Smith. Her collections are always ethereal and hauntingly beautiful, each with vintage influences. This collection was no different. Younger-Smith used antique fabrics (mainly from the 1800s-1930s) and based her inspiration on a juxtaposition of numerous ideals: ‘Rock n’ Roll Belle Époque’, ‘Paul Poiret’, ‘Ballet Russes’, ‘the Rolling Stones in Morocco in the 60s’ and ‘Diana Vreeland.’ The collection that flowed down the runway was apptly named “The Vreeland Collection” in which visually stunning gowns that could have come straight out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel danced down the runway. Being such a huge fan of vintage, I felt a fond appreciation of the collection, where everything is not only “green” but also one-of-a-kind works of art. Go to TheBoudoirQueen.com for further information and to shop the collection.

After several awards were handed out, it was Gail Chovan’s turn to take the stage. Gail Chovan was been an Austin staple for over twenty-five years, designing for her boutique and atelier- Blackmail, which is located on S. Congress Avenue. Chovan is known for creating artisanal couture in limited quantities and one-of-a-kind pieces. The Fall/Winter 2013 collection that glided down the runway was titled “Abiquiu” and was influenced by the painter Georgia O’Keefe and her life and work in the southwest town of Abiquiu, New Mexico. It is said that O’Keefe wore black in the fall & winter and white in the spring & summer. “The ephemeral nature of dust and the timelessness of stone…the idea of movement as opposed to the sedentary. A silhouette in black, a silhouette in white against the light of the desert and the mountains..The fabric chosen to represent this feeling was leather and hand-washed linen, at times dipped or sprayed in rubber to give it a stiffer form,” Gail explained about her inspiration and design technique. I loved the deconstruction and the simplicity of the designs. After looking up images of the late great painter, I envisioned that if O’Keefe were alive today, she’d be dancing around the beautiful New Mexico landscape in Chovan’s designs. Gail further explained her design aesthetic, “My work is unique because I eschew mass consumption and over industrialization. My designs shouldn’t be disposable. They should be timeless, each one made by hand with careful attention paid in my south Austin atelier…What I do within my designs is a study of weight, balance and texture. There is a playfulness and organic nature in the designs that let them take on a different dimension each time an individual tries on a creation.” If you are in the Austin area, take a trip over to Gail’s boutique…or if you aren’t local, go to BlackmailBoutique.com.

After a few more awards were given out, we were feted to a rather lavish presentation provided by famed Austin jewelry designer- Kendra Scott. Kendra launched her brand in 2002 with just $500 and now has a global multi-million dollar label. The extravagant statement pieces, although designed for editorial use only, just screamed ‘wear me!’ Kendra’s inspiration for the collection is not only by current and upcoming pieces, but is also associated with the seasons, as she explains, “infusing rich colors and textures to create mega statement pieces reminiscent of spring, summer, fall and winter. A parade of bold baubles merging layering chains, tassels, ornate caging, feathers and organic etched metals with a kaleidoscope of colors, from turquoise and cobalt to abalone shell and tigers’ eye, created a season sensation on the runway.” It indeed created an audience sensation that night. This blogger was literally wide-eyed and oooooing-and-ahhhing the entire show. It was visually intense, but in the best way possible! If you’d like more information, shop the collection or create your own piece of jewelry at the Color Bar, go to KendraScott.com.

The grand finale show combined a mixture of theater and over-the-top fashion by none other than the iconic Stephen Moser. Moser launched his brand, Made in Heaven by Stephen MacMillan Moser in 1987 and has been a household name in the Austin fashion industry ever since. This was literally the show to end all shows in a sense that Moser once again portrayed illustrious showmanship and skillfully crafted twenty-six looks for men and women. This collection was called “Fashion As Theater: A Pagan Royal Wedding” in collaboration with headpiece designer- Jennifer Ayers. The story opens with a shaman (portrayed by Grant Hicks in black cut velvet trimmed with iridescent peacock fringe) chanting an invocation for the awards audience to join in a matrimonial celebration. Then we watch as a procession of royal guests from various unknown cultures parade across the stage, leaving us making up stories with our imagination about their origin. The ceremony then commences when the three high-priestesses arrive, with Pagan prince’s attendant and then the Pagan prince himself (portrayed by Fets Benevides in silver-on-silver silk lamè and velvet brocade trimmed with Blue Arctic Fox) in tow. Then we see two bare-breasted mistresses of the Pagan princess appear, followed by the Pagan princess herself (portrayed by Elle LaMont, star of the new Machete movie, in a silver stretch foil column topped with crystal-beaded mesh and trimmed with Blue Arctic Fox). After the union is consecrated, the shaman makes a blessing. The end. Oh and did I mention there was a flame swallower in the middle of the action?! It was pretty intense. I must say, this is the second time I’ve witnessed a Stephen Moser runway show and I must say that he’s outdone himself in this being one of the most unique shows I’ve seen. As Moser states, “Seeing is believing…”

It was a great show and turn-out. Again, huge congratulations to all the winners!

 

 

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!

“Fashionably Pink” Event- Austin

As I’m sure you are all aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month…a month where all things pink are highly marketed and a plethora of events are held to raise funds for awareness. I recently attended the “Fashionably Pink” event, held at the swank W Hotel in downtown Austin. It was held outdoors on the lavish pool deck and even though it was somewhat windy, the weather played nice. The inaugural event was put on by Fashionably Austin and Stiletto Stampede to benefit the new Seton Breast Cancer Center, that is scheduled to open June 2013. The following nineteen local designers showcased one creation (pink-of course) to show down the runway (and were available for online auction the next day): Ross Bennett – Ross Bennett Collection, Anslee Connell – Savannah Red, Paola Moore – Rare Trends, Csilla Somogyi – Csillawear, Theresa Kopecky – Tess Dress, Valeri Abrego-Liszewski – Jinxedaposed, Sarah Eileen, Amanda Yilmaz, Rick Gonyo, Jodi Schreiner, Dina Chavez, Ruth Waddy, Laisa Macias – LaLa, Ilonka Braun – Ilonka Designs, Isabella Rose, Lauren Polt – chicka-d, Regina Simone, Megan Pinto and Wanderlust Boutique. Everyone did an amazing job and $1,000 was raised (from door donations).

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