Sophie Theallet isn't exactly a household name, but the front row of her fashion shows are always filled with top fashion reporters who want to see what the saucy French designer has in mind. Theallet began featuring models of diverse size, skin color and age on the runway long before other designers and her sexy creations run the gamut from tight-fitting woven mini-skirts and furs on petite women to form-fitting evening dresses on curvy plus-size models.
Her fall collection, unveiled at New York Fashion Week in a wonderful Art Deco building near Wall Street shrouded in smoke and incense, is a mix of styles, from a gray-plaid dress tied high to one side, revealing a lot of leg, with matching bomber jacket, that opened the show to the closer — a lattice-work lace gown that crisscrosses the bust. Both looks were showcased by model-of-the-moment and Vogue cover girl Imaan Hamman.
'90s supermodel Veronica Webb appeared in a black velvet turtleneck dress with exposed shoulders while plus-size favorite Candice Huffine sparkled in a black cocktail dresses with sheer sleeves and bodice.
Theallet, who moved to New York from Paris in 1998 to create her own label after assisting the legendary Azzedine Alaïa for a decade, retains Alaïa's penchant for creating out-of-the-ordinary, eye-catching clothing. "Azzedine taught me how to cut clothes and never to waste fabric," Theallet once told Time magazine.
She utilizes bold fabrics (who knew a gold leopard print could look so good?), along with oversized bows, textured lace, criss-crossed velvets, shiny draped lamé and furs worn in different ways — sometimes on the model's head. It's as if Theallet dipped into her vintage trunk and pulled out all sorts of fabrics to showcase in interesting and innovative styles.
Her collection is shown exclusively in Houston at Elizabeth Anthony.