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Little Black Dresses wow: The fashion faithful get dramatic at designer awards

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17 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Roseann Rogers, Jessica Rossman, Miya Shay
Roseann Rogers, from left, Jessica Rossman and Miya Shay Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Houston Little Black Dress designer fashion show model runway designer
Ekaterina Levchenko, right, showcases her LBD design, which took second place. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
11 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Angel Rios, Ceron, Shannon Hall
Angel Rios, from left, Cerón and Shannon Hall Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Houston Little Black Dress designer fashion show Kay King
Kay King, wearing a LBD by Tadashi Shoji, received a standing ovation. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
3 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Judy Nyquist, Stephen Newton, Betty Newton
Judy Nyquist, left, with Stephen and Betty Newton Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Houston Little Black Dress designer fashion show model on runway with Amir Taghi
Julio Sanchez and his winning design. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
9 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Carmen Ibarra, Sarah Jawda, Jared Lang, Saba Jawda
Carmen Ibarra, from left, Sarah Jawda, Jared Lang and Saba Jawda Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
21 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Yuan Yuan, NAMES, Jeff Shell, NAME, , Amir Taghi, NAME
From left, Yuan Yuan Zhang, fifth place winner Shanna Tucker, fourth place winner Chanel Latouche, third place winner Paola Contreras, Jeff Shell, second place winner Ekaterina Levchenko, first place winner Julio Sanchez, Leah Cast. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
8 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Karina Barbieri, Paula Mott, Yasmine Haddad
Karina Barbieri, from left, Paula Mott and Yasmine Haddad Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
18 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 dancers on runway
Houston Ballet dancers Oliver Halkowich and Melissa Haugh performed before the start of the runway show. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
2 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Fritz McDonald, Amir Senemar
Fritz McDonald, left, and Amir Senemar Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
15 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Yuan Yuan, Martijn Van Koolwijk, Lis Shell
Yuan Yuan Zhang, from left, Martijn Van Koolwijk and Lis Shell Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
7 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Shiren Hadi, Mayra Mernies
Shiren Hadi, left, and Mayra Mernies Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
6 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Evan Wetmore, Sarah Pullin
Evan Wetmore, left, and Sarah Pullin Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
5 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 David McKeithan, Mary Ann McKeithan, Bob Shell
David and Mary Ann McKeithan, left, with Bob Shell Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
4 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Selin Salerian, Sy Salerian, Pauline Borally
Selin and Sy Salerian, left, with Pauline Borally Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
17 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Roseann Rogers, Jessica Rossman, Miya Shay
Houston Little Black Dress designer fashion show model runway designer
11 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Angel Rios, Ceron, Shannon Hall
Houston Little Black Dress designer fashion show Kay King
3 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Judy Nyquist, Stephen Newton, Betty Newton
Houston Little Black Dress designer fashion show model on runway with Amir Taghi
9 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Carmen Ibarra, Sarah Jawda, Jared Lang, Saba Jawda
21 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Yuan Yuan, NAMES, Jeff Shell, NAME, , Amir Taghi, NAME
8 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Karina Barbieri, Paula Mott, Yasmine Haddad
18 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 dancers on runway
2 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Fritz McDonald, Amir Senemar
15 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Yuan Yuan, Martijn Van Koolwijk, Lis Shell
7 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Shiren Hadi, Mayra Mernies
6 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Evan Wetmore, Sarah Pullin
5 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 David McKeithan, Mary Ann McKeithan, Bob Shell
4 Houston Little Black Dress Designer fashion show May 2013 Selin Salerian, Sy Salerian, Pauline Borally

The fashion faithful who filled the House of Blues Tuesday night for the fifth annual Little Black Dress Designer fashion show and awards party certainly dressed up for the occasion.

Given the LBD theme, Yasmine Haddad, Miya Shay and Jessica Rossman wore black — Haddad in sleeveless Valentino, Shay in a breezy Alexander McQueen dress that accentuated her baby bump and Rossman in a form-fitting black leather dress emblazoned with a red heart and the words "True Love" that she found in a New York vintage store.

Shawn Noble, a longtime Giorgio Armani executive who has just moved to Houston, looked smashing in Armani black slacks covered with beaded lace tassels and black jacket while beloved Houston fashion leader Kay King, the evening's honoree, sparkled in a sexy scoop neck black ribboned dress by Tadashi Shoji.

Judy Nyquist, who co-chaired the event with Shannon Hall, wore an exquisitely-constructed tea-length patterned dress from "Mickey's super closet," she said, referring to Tootsies' Mickey Rosmarin.

While many wore black, Donae Cangelosi Chramosta stood out in a vintage hot pink D-Squared sheath and pink feather cape.

 The student interpretations incorporated leather, satin, lace and quilted fabrics, along with a variety of styles. 

Not to be outdone, LBDD founder Jeff Shell appeared onstage in dramatic fashion. "In lieu of a little black dress, I decided to wear a little black cape," he said.

The competition, which Shell has nurtured into a statewide phenomenon, awards $30,000 in scholarships to fashion design students who display their creative vision of the Little Black Dress. "Even though the dresses are black, the designers are colorful personalities," Shell said.

The 10 Houston finalists proudly watched as their creations were displayed in a runway show on the stage of the House of Blues Music Hall before an approving audience that included Vicki Rizzo, Mary Ann McKeithan, Sofia Adrogue and daughter, budding fashion designer Sloane Adrogue Gustafson, Mandy Kao, Linda Brinkman, Roseann Rogers, Ceron, Lenny Matuszewski, Roz Pactor, Tamara Bonar and Chris Goins.

The student interpretations of the LBD incorporated leather, satin, lace and quilted fabrics, along with a variety of styles — flowing, belted, form-fitting — and trends — peplum tops and trailing skirts. With so many interesting designs, the judging panel, which I was delighted to be a part of, found it hard to pick a winner.

Houston Community College student Julio Sanchez took top prize with a sleeveless black shift with exposed zipper in the back and detailed handiwork. Other winners were Ekaterina Levchenko (second), Paola Contreras (third), Chanel Latouche (fourth) and Shanna Tucker (fifth).

When accepting the awards, what stood out most — besides their big smiles — was that none of the designers wore black.

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