NEW YORK — What does every woman need to wear with a slinky lace slip dress or a gown with cut-outs at the breast and thigh-high slit?
A black cowboy hat, of course.
That's the look the hot design duo of Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs are sending out for fall. Obviously influenced by Karl Lagerfeld's Texas-themed Chanel collection, shown in Dallas several months ago, the Cushnie Et Ochs lineup featured a bevy of slinky models in black dresses trimmed in lace or with plunging necklines and tulle illusion, topped off with a black Stetson.
The collection also includes shiny black peplum bustiers and peek-a-boo blouses with a high tech attitude as well as teal velvet draped dresses and a chartreuse pencil skirt and satin blouse with a '40s sexy librarian vibe.
"It's a New York girl packing for Texas."
On the front row, Houston-raised singer Kelly Rowland gave high marks to the revealing styles. "I love all the different cutouts and the use of the cowboy hat was my favorite because I'm a Southern girl," she said. "I think the cowboy hat with the evening gown was gorgeous."
Just back from Houston, where she had visited her family, Rowland said she stopped by her favorite Tex-Mex restaurant, Lupe Tortilla. "I stuffed my face with fajitas and queso and a strawberry margarita," she said, which made me wonder how she fit into the figure-hugging black Cushnie Et Ochs gown.
After the show, during a Q&A at the American Express VIP Card Member Lounge at Milk Studios, Ochs told a small audience that the duo had added the cowboy hats designed by Albertus Swanepoel as a special touch. "It's a New York girl packing for Texas," she explained.
With the hats and body-hugging looks, Ochs agreed that the collection is made for a confident woman. "Our DNA doesn't change from season to season. It's a strong sexy woman. We really want to emulate that, so that she feels welcoming and can come back to us each seasons and knows what she's going to get," she said.
The collection impressed Fashion Houston creative director Neal Hamil, who would like to bring the designers to Houston for the annual November fashion extravaganza at the Wortham Center.
"Those Cushnie Et Ochs gals are adorable," Hamil said. "The cowboy hats amused me and I could not help but think "Karl Lagerfeld in Dallas!" It will be fun to see if others pick up on that movement at Chanel paying homage to our great state and heritage. But this collection did not disappoint. Always young, chic and fun."