Tag - The Driskill

Eleven Eleven: An Evening of Extraordinary Fashion
Austin Fashion Week at the Driskill- Day 3
Austin Fashion Week at the Driskill- Day 2

Eleven Eleven: An Evening of Extraordinary Fashion

The night of Austin’s iconic designer- Stephen Moser’s “Made in Heaven” fashion show was the night to see and be seen. I knew that dressing over-the-top was a MUST for me, so I enlisted the help of my then boss- Henry from Austin veteran vintage shop Big Bertha’s. I ended up wearing a vintage (obvi) YSL military-inspired jacket with black taffeta skirt, red shirt with high ruffled collar, my sky-high H by Halston heels from Bakers and deconstructed a floppy hat…then voila! Instant Victorian-inspired outfit. Very high-fashion and perfect for that evening. That evening, I was accompanied by Henry and our mutual friend- Hannah, who looked amazing in a chic black dress with statement necklace and one of my veiled headpieces. The fashion show was held at the historic Driskill hotel and consisted of three designers that showcased their collections before Stephen’s finale show. The designers were: Tina Johnson of Four Small Cats, Roosevelt Cavallos Shoes and Gail Chovan of Blackmail.

Acclaimed Austin writer/designer Stephen Moser debuted his Fall/Winter 2012/13 collection after an eight year hiatus. All his fabrics were sourced from TexStyles and the collection was locally made at White Star Manufacturing. He had reached out to a bevy of local celebrities to strut their stuff on the catwalk in his unique mens and womenswear. The collection was inspired by a lifetime of creative influence, ranging from art, movies, color, etc. The men dazzled in shimmery, bold hues and brocades while the women stunned in body hugging silk and velvet gowns with jaw-dropping, plunging fur-trimmed backs. My favorite gown of the collection (that would be just AH-mazing to wear) would be the finale gown- a black velvet number with stiff ruffle detail at the neck and runs down the back to the train. It’s the simple things that include the surprising detail like that, that make the garment eye-catching and dramatic.

Proceeds from the event went to benefit Hospice Austin’s “Pet Piece of Mind” program. The show was produced by Stephen’s lifelong friend- Jackie OH.

Congratulations Stephen on an amazing show and welcome back to the world of fashion!

Austin Fashion Week at the Driskill- Day 3

The last day for AFW runway shows was ‘the show to end all shows,’ with the most designers on the runway and in the marketplace. In the marketplace were the following brands: Cindy Schulze Jewelry, Oscar & Anna, Eye on the Sparrow Designs, Raven+Lily and Crystal4U. I would love to take a moment to spotlight Raven+Lily. I heard about the company while still in LA, from the lovely Kristen of Style Wax Poetic. I thought it was perfect timing that I was now in Austin and they just happened to be participating in the marketplace during AFW. Raven+Lily is such an awesome brand. Not only are they sustainably eco-friendly and ultra-conscious, but they partner (and empower) with women artisans in Cambodia, Ethiopia and India- who have been victims of trafficking, shunned from society or suffer from HIV. The company also uses 100% of their profits to empower these women through design by employment with fair trade, sustainable income, launching new partnerships and funding healthcare and education in their communities. During the marketplace, I was able to check out the jewelry, clothing and lifestyle collections that are made from recycled bullets, hand-loomed cottons, naturally-dyed and other remnant materials. Some of my faves include: Oun Fold Over Clutch, Mulu Hand-Loomed Black & White Striped Infinity Scarf, Ferdoz Wooden Bangles (seen here, here and here), and mostly all of the necklaces (seen here). I really love this brand and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them. For more information, please check out RavenandLily.com. And now, may I present the last designers of Austin Fashion Week at the Driskill:

First up was a rather delightful maternity line called Ashley Nicole Maternity. The San Antonio-based brand was founded by Jacqueline Carrau, a petite mom who was tired of the limited choices for maternity wear (while she was pregnant), and launched the line Fall 2011 while introducing the Spring 2012 collection. Her Spring/Summer 2013 collection was inspired by a mixture of tropical and resort looks, which were comprised of bold and soft colors. I adored the tops and dresses with a multi-colored tie-dye splash print and the brown and white top paired with red skinny pants. What’s also cool about the brand is that Jacqueline created the garments with pre and post-pregnancy in mind, as she explains, “I spoke to many working moms who felt the need for dresses they could wear to work that could be used during pregnancy, post pregnancy, and also for breastfeeding and pumping. I developed the dresses with the idea that they can be worn during and after pregnancy. The dresses can be cinched inside at the waist to give them a pre-pregnancy look. They can also be easily used for breastfeeding or pumping without having to remove the entire dress. I made sure to offer fun prints, and solid colors to offer buyers different options.” I love that I don’t have to pregnant in order to wear her chic line, as I’d love to get a pair of tie-dye splash leggings, dresses, etc. and of course, the brand is entirely made in the good ‘ole US of A! Prices range $15-50 wholesale and $30-100 retail. The line is being showcased at the California Market Center in LA, Dallas Market Center and Canada. Please check out ashleynicolematernity.com for more information, including where to buy and a list of sales reps. The line is also being sold online at Bloom Maternity, Sears and Amazon.

The next line that strode down the runway stirred up the audience (at least in the female sector) rather titillatingly. Gorgeous male models emerged, immersing us in the land of elegantly tailored menswear of Richardson, TX based Ken Tyler. In 2007, designer Kelvin Robertson was laid-off, which created some hardship. But, he used this to his advantage and launched his own showroom ranging from casual to formal menswear. The suiting and outerwear were impeccably tailored, as Kelvin made sure that attention to detail was enforced. The Ken Tyler look is classic but offers a Southern twist. For all you gentlemen reading this, head over to Karson’s Clothier in the Dallas-area and pick out a Ken Tyler original… or if you aren’t local, be sure to check out Karsonsclothier.com.

We women need quality basics in our lives… like a tee, tank or legging… I mean, where on Earth would we be without them? Enter Austin-based Herff Christiansen. We were engaged in a world of dark, simple neutral European-style separates, which being able to be layered or interchangeable. Each piece, inspired by the urban sprawl of Austin echoed the effortless, chic and laidback lifestyle of Central Texans and their beloved Capital. Be sure to check out more on Herff Christiansen when you need your next basic, yet chicfully functional outfit for the airport and such!

I would like to introduce the second menswear line of the night: Dallas-based League of Rebels. Now, of course there was plenty of swooning from the crowd, especially when five handsomely dressed men came out on the runway at once…. Finely chiseled models donning swanky suits paired with unexpected brown shoes. Basing their love for fashion, lifestyle and some fashion retail know-how, a group of old college pals launched League of Rebels in 2009. Their Spring/Summer 2013 collection that we viewed during AFW was a take on Old Brit style with emphasis on Italian textures. The line indubitably prides itself on quality, craftsmanship and fit and no doubt it shows. Prices for their collection range $592 to $1,350. If Don Draper was a character in this era, he would definitely be wearing League of Rebels (Janie Bryant- take note!) LOR is only available at Edge Boutique (Downtown Austin,TX). But be sure to to check out their website for more updates and such.

I would like to introduct Seattle, WA based line- Vian Hunter next. Designer and owner- Lisa Vian Hunter launched the line in 2006. For AFW, she showed some little black dresses that she’s been selling for six years, along with her Spring 2013 line- inspired by lovely fabrics she had found while traveling in Milan and Barcelona. Keeping her signature vintage-inspired (ranging from the 40s to the 60s) silhouettes, she updated the collection for spring to include bright colors and neons. I loved how the more subdued hues were styled with neon statement necklaces and patent heels. If you’re a fan of vintage, you’ll love Vian Hunter’s genteel, high-quality and ‘Made in the USA’ line! Check out more information on Lisa on www.VianHunter.com, including her stint on Fashion Star.

AFW was surely on a roll with featuring designers from “Fashion Star,” as the next designer- Sarah Parrott was another participant. Sarah started her company in 2011, after having won the ‘People’s Choice’ award at Charleston Fashion Week’s emerging designer competition and just biting the bullet and going after her lifelong dream. She then got selected to participate on “Fashion Star,” where she reached a broader audience that probably would’ve taken years to accomplish and had seven designs sold in H&M. The collection Parrott showcased during AFW was comprised of strong,finely tuned lines and mixing fabrics such as: silk, with some infusion of leather. I loved the black peplum tops, one of which was paired with an awesome pair of leather shorts. I also thought that the tuxedo pants with contrasting stripe going down the leg, chic blazer and peplum strapless dresses really stood out and gave the collection a sophisticated yet harmonious balance. Prices for the collection range from $100-350. Be sure to check out more information on the Sarah Parrott brand here.

Marietta, GA based- Jag Saint Joi was the last of the menswear lines to show that evening. The clothing definitely had an eclectic twist to ready-to-wear for men. There was a mix of color and print that hinted of a well composed man- one who lives for comfort yet strives to maintain a sense of culture. Jag Saint Joi was launched in 2010 and is bounded on the belief of creative ideas, design and culture. Designer Nzimiro Oputa also adds, “We speak through the expression of fabrics & details by creating classic elements with a timeless feel for an everyday comfort. Our desires are to be an extension to the culture and lifestyle we all live & love. We feel that things like passion need no validation to be relevant.” The theme for the AFW collection is an introduction to who Jag inspires to be every single day… confident. He was also inspired by the “traveling man,” as he goes on to explain, “I use this term literal and in every sense possible. “Travel: Journey through area; to go on journeys through, around, or within a particular area”. Wherever you go, go in style and be present.” Ok, I know that this is menswear, but I’d LOVE to rock Jag Saint Joi (especially the frayed hem shirt with purple pants and the shirt print shirt with vest and red pants…) Not only would I style it in a ‘women-friendly/stylish-blogger’ way, but I’d look fantastic and be comfortable wearing it. (Any thoughts, Nzimiro?) Prices for the Jag Saint Joi collection (whose must-have essentials would include: stars and polka, the everyday red checkered shirt/blue pants, frayed hem shirt, the striped tee and trench and the blazer piece) range from $70-100 for a shirt, pants from $68-88, blazers from $200-300 and outerwear starting at $200. Check out Jag Saint Joi here!

The last designer of the evening was Boynton Beach, FL based- Nikki Poulos. Nikki started her line back in May 2008 because she wanted to make things that she wanted to wear. She started off designing printed maxi dresses (can’t go wrong with maxis) and it immediately was a hit in Miami. In 2009, she launched her swimwear collection, which got picked up by Anthropologie. She too, had the amazing opportunity to be on “Fashion Star,” which helped A LOT as an independent designer; and gave her more exposure to a broader audience. During her stint on the show, she had brought thirty-five of her own designs to wear while on the show, which was a great marketing strategy that seemed to work, as she received an exceptional amount of positive feedback. So, fast-forward to 2012 and AFW… When the first ensemble hit the runway, I was like, ‘I have GOT to wear this!’. It was a lovely polka-dot button down top paired with high-waisted houndstooth print trousers. It was eye-catching and very glam. The rest of the collection was very print and structure-based and inspired by 1930/40s Hollywood icons. We saw loads of 1940s neck lines, keyholes and 1970s gypsy sleeves. She made almost the entire collection from jersey knits and thus, making it easy to wear and could go from the beach to dinner. The signature piece- a knee length dress with a keyhole neckline, named “The Lake” after actress Veronica Lake is also Nikki’s favorite and sums up the collection in her opinion. Nikki felt that AFW was another amazing opportunity and she wishes to thank all involved. It was such a great opportunity to be introduced to the Austin, TX market. Prices for the collection start at $175. As always, please check out NikkiPoulos.com for the latest information!

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

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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