Fashion Split

Fashion divorce: Major changes planned for Houston's runway extravaganza after top organizers split

Fashion Houston split portends big changes in runway extravaganza

6260 Fashion Houston Night 2 November 2014 Jared Lang and Vivian Wise
Jared Lang and Vivian Wise at last year's Fashion Houston. Photo by © Omar Marcos
Model on the runway at the Jonathan Blake fashion show October 2014
A look from Jonathan Blake's runway show last October at Colombe d'Or. Photo courtesy of © Select Studios
Carmen Dell'Orefice on the cover of New You magazine
At 83, Carmen Dell'Orefice is still a cover girl. Courtesy photo
Valentino Kova at Fashion Houston
Designer Valentina Kova's collection at Fashion Houston last November. Photo by © Omar Marcos
26 Lynn Walsh and Franco Valobra at the Valobra Pin Oak holiday party December 2014
Franco Valobra, center, will present a runway show for the first time. Photo by © Fulton Davenport/PWL Studio
Clifford, Fashion Week spring 2013, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, Marimekko, Carmen Dell'Orefice
Photo by Dario Canatatore/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz
News_Delores Hawkins_Diane DeWitt_Kristy Hinze_Carmen Dell'Orefice_Houston fashion week
Carmen Dell-Orefice, far right, appeared in a Fashion Houston tribute to Eileen Ford. Other supermodels included, from left, Delores Hawkins, Diane DeWitt and Kristy Hinze. Photo by Michelle Watson for LastNightPics.com
6260 Fashion Houston Night 2 November 2014 Jared Lang and Vivian Wise
Model on the runway at the Jonathan Blake fashion show October 2014
Carmen Dell'Orefice on the cover of New You magazine
Valentino Kova at Fashion Houston
26 Lynn Walsh and Franco Valobra at the Valobra Pin Oak holiday party December 2014
Clifford, Fashion Week spring 2013, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, Marimekko, Carmen Dell'Orefice
News_Delores Hawkins_Diane DeWitt_Kristy Hinze_Carmen Dell'Orefice_Houston fashion week

One of Houston's biggest fashion events of the year is undergoing a major change after its two top leaders decided to part ways.

Fashion trendsetter Vivian Wise, known for her pink hair and stylish wardrobe, had joined forces with Fashion Houston founder Jared Lang to produce the annual runway extravaganza showcasing top national designers and local favorites.

But Wise told CultureMap that she has decided to go it alone because her vision and Lang's did not match up. She attributes the split to "irreconcilable differences."

" Hopefully people will be OK with me on my own. It will either be a colossal failure or a triumphant success. I'm excited to be able to try," Wise said. 

Lang founded Fashion Houston in 2010, with a several days of runway shows featuring such designers as Christian Siriano and Lela Rose at the Wortham Theater Center. Each year since, such designers at Monique Lhuillier, Zac Posen, Naeem Khan and Bibhu Mohapatra have participated, with subsequent trunk shows at top retailers, including Neiman Marcus, Elizabeth Anthony, Tootsies and Sloan/Hall.

"Fashion Houston has been a part of Houston for six years and it's not going anywhere," said Lang, who continues to own the trademark to the name. "I'm not at liberty to say anything beyond that."

But Wise says she is embarking on her own plans, shortening the event to three nights in November (18 through 20) and adding a luncheon and VIP dinner.  Each night will highlight a charity, with proceeds earmarked for the organization being honored, she said.

Legendary model honored

Wise is sticking to the original November time frame because she had previously inked commitments from legendary model and actress Carmen Dell'Orefice as the first Legacy Award honoree. The Legacy Award was created to honor an individual or organization who has made a significant contribution to the fashion industry.

The 83-year-old Dell'Orefice will be honored on the first night and will walk the runway "her knees allowing" on the final night, Wise said, with Los Angeles-based designer Peter Cohen as the featured designer. Famed designer Ralph Rucci is rumored to be attending to give Dell'Orefice the award.

 "Fashion Houston has been a part of Houston for six years and it's not going anywhere," said Lang, who continues to own the trademark to the name.
"It became necessary to sever ties," Wise tells CultureMap. "The details of that don't matter, but (Lang) is going to keep Fashion Houston the name, what he does with it is entirely up to him. The facts still remain for me that Carmen Dell'Orefice is still being honored as the Texas Legacy Award on opening night. All the things I was laying the groundwork for Fashion Houston I can do lock, stock and barrel myself as a separate thing."
 
Wise said she has received commitments from Houston designer Jonathan Blake and jeweler Franco Valobra, who will present his first runway show. And some major retailers who previously secured designers for Fashion Houston have expressed interest in continuing their commitments, Wise said.

She is also forming a host committee to attract the social crowd, which supported the event but has dropped off in recent years. "I want to use it as a vehicle to support charities here in town and our local community and our local designers. There's so much talent that has not even been acknowledged or even found yet," she said.

New name

Wise is seeking suggestions for a new name with plans for a new location. Possibilities include a warehouse or converted airplane hangar, with stadium seating so those in back rows can get a good view of the runway, or a tent at Discovery Green.

 "This is a celebration of fashion. It's a true fashion week, just like it's always been," Wise said. 

"This is a celebration of fashion. It's a true fashion week, just like it's always been," she said. "It's the only consumer-based fashion week there is in the world, which still holds true. What Fashion Houston didn't do and what I was hoping to achieve when I was still affiliated with them was to bring in a charitable component to have fashion serve a higher purpose to serve the community that serves it."

"People forget that fashion is an art form. It's beauty. But with beauty comes great responsibility and I want to use this to elevate people's idea and notion of what fashion is — the whimsy and the dream that came from the designer."

Wise says she is excited to reinvent the event in a way that puts Houston on the fashion map. "Hopefully people will be OK with me on my own. It will either be a colossal failure or a triumphant success. I'm excited to be able to try," she said.

 

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