This season, 27-year-old Melbourne designer Michelle Aznavorian turned to past decades of fashion icons of Studio 54 for inspiration of her S/S17 collection preview in New York. The Misha Collection designer references classic 1970s and 1980s silhouettes for demure cocktail dresses, jumpsuits, belted coats, and slinky gowns. Intricate hand-beading and embroidery, custom lace, ostrich feathers, silk Devore, and pony leather were among with many luxurious materials that were used to create the feminine clothing. Iconic British model- Jourdan Dunn, opened the show, wearing a black leather mini wrap dress and gloves. She finished the show wearing a dark silver metallic maxi dress with sky-high slit.
Emerging designer and Art Institute graduate- Breccia Demartini stood at the end of the runway with her models and took the selfie that probably still has Houston buzzing. She had just debuted a part of her first Spring/Summer 2015 collection, inspired by Spanish culture (from the blue waters of the ocean to the scenic beauty of the country in general) and her trip to the Canary Islands back in 2013. I loved the pops of yellow and blue in the otherwise neutral-colored collection. My favorite piece was the strapless gown with mermaid skirt and scalloped neckline. Demartini just launched in 2013 and is already off to a running head start.
Art Institute emerging designer Clarence T. Lee unveiled his Spring/Summer 2015 (and senior) collection “Woven Sophistication” under his brand- DAL (hasn’t officially launched yet, but in the works). DAL represents the names of his Mother and Grandmothers: Deborah, Audrey and Lena. He credits these women as his muses for every collection, as they embody qualities that mean everything to him, like: sophistication, elegance, strength and timelessness. The collection was heavily influenced by the relationships of his close-knit family and friends, which translates into the concept of basket weaving. The basket weaving was seen in four of the eight looks and according to Lee, “Represents the foundation, strength and support that my family gives me every single day to do what I love: design. I knew this collection would be more personal than anything, so I did not focus on trends. Outside of my family and friends, I was inspired by natural fibers; linen, silk organza and satin, cotton denim, and bamboo. The fabrics are breathable, wearable and are perfect for the Houston weather. Lastly, the idea to do an all white collection with the hint of grey came from my favorite flower; peonies —elsa sass to be exact. The flower is elegant and timeless but it is also crisp and clean.” To me, the “heart” of the collection was the lavender maxi skirt. Not only am I obsessed with them, but I loved how polished and defined his design was. You can find Clarence on instagram.
Inclán Studio was launched in 2013 by Paola Contreras, a long-time fan of fashion (and Art Institute graduate) who had originally planned on being in the international business sector. She realized that fashion design was her true calling and taking a leap of faith, hasn’t looked back since. The debut collection was titled, “Athletic Cubism” and featured easy-to-wear sporty pieces with cut-out detailing and Picasso-esque paneling. There was one top in particular- a feminine take on the jersey- with the number 02, that held a special place in her heart. It was Paola’s number during her high school and college years playing soccer. The presentation additionally included 3D printed handbags, also crazy geometric good. Inclán has really upped the ante in terms of effeminate sporty wear, transitioning it with more pleasing fabrics like: linens, silks and ultra-suede. For additional information, check out inclanstudio.com.
Art Institute emerging designer Lee Yates presented his senior capsule collection “Elegant Phoenix” under his brand- 2 2 8 by L. Yates. “2 2 8” stands for the date he was born and is the doorway to the creative mind that embodies his brand. I loved how the bold red played well against the light and dark grays. This collection emphasized minimalistic tailoring, cut-out detailing (some garments with zippers) and color-blocked paneling. His inspiration “comes from the legend of The Phoenix, Reawakening herself and Rising from the ashes with the Aura Equivalent to a Gem. The three stages displayed in the collection were: Charcoal, Ash, and The Phoenix. Throughout the collection, you will see The Phoenix Breaking Free, Gaining Confidence, and Rising Above The Ashes.” Be sure to follow Lee on Instagram and Facebook for all the latest happenings.
Rubin Singer (you may recognize him as one of the designers for Beyoncé) returned to Fashion Houston, exhibiting his collection- “Future Primeval.” It was tribal in nature, sensual with a hint of aggressiveness. The collection, consisting of gowns and separates; started out in black and white, prints, exquisite curvature and intriguing silhouettes. The last half of the collection enlightened us with chic red carpet worthy pieces in pops of fuchsia, olive green, metallic silver and dark lavender. Call it ‘lyrical femininity’ at its finest.
Houston Metropolitan Dance Company- MET Dance performed a piece from their show- “Indivisible” during the brief intermission. MET Dance is a contemporary jazz repertoire concert company where eleven dancers are contracted for a year, beginning from September to September and are in-house trained by some of Houston’s most prestigious instructors.
M.C.L by Matthew Campbell Laurenza was launched in 2007 at Bergdorf’s. Matthew credits his travels and immersing himself in a variety of cultures as his main inspirations for his jewelry. He also blends his abilities in architecture, sculpture and jewelry to create high-end and unique statement pieces. Be sure to check out mcldesign.net to shop the collection and find out more!
Latin sensation- Manuel Noe performed a couple of his latest hits during yet another brief intermission. He even had some of the gals in the audience and start dancing to his rhythmic tunes.
Miamai-based designer Rene Ruiz has been known world-wide for his original designs and luxurious fabrics since the 90s. He unveiled his Spring/Summer 2015 evening wear collection that had an air of romanticism with Miami flair. The gowns were light, bohemian and elegant, with little touches that make the woman feel care-free and invincible. Head over to reneruiz.net for additional information.
Another Houston and celebrity favorite, New York City based- Naeem Khan dazzled the audience with his gowns and glam sportswear. His Spring 2015 collection was about romance and flowers, including the blooming of the garden and its ‘coming to life.’ There was nothing I didn’t like about the elegant collection. I felt that the easy silhouettes were wearable and provided the woman wearing it with the utmost sophistication and confidence. Naeem Khan was a great choice for rounding out night two of Fashion Houston.