Fashion Houston Preview

Fashion Houston Preview: Style extravaganza promises combo of Project Runway and Victoria's Secret

Fashion Houston promises combo of Project Runway and Victoria's Secret

News_Houston Fashion Week_ Net-A-Porter_Oct 2010
A runway scene from the first Fashion Houston in 2010. Michelle Watson for LastNightPics.com
Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2015 collection look 37
Bibhu Mohapatra will show his spring 2015 collection on Thursday night. Photo by Kevin Sturman
News_Houston Fashion Week_Cesar Galindo_Sept 2010
The first Fashion Houston opened with a symbolic cutting of the ribbon. Michelle Watson for LastNightPics.com
MET Dance Company presents "Indivisible"
The Met Dance Company will be part of the entertainment at Fashion Houston. Courtesy photo
Valentina Kova designs at New York fashion week Sept 2014
Valentina Kova, whose designs are shown her from New York fashion week, will experience her first runway show at Fashion Houston. Photo by Clifford Pugh
Fashion Week spring summer 2015 Naeem Khan October 2014 LOOK 8
Naeem Khan will show his spring 2015 collection on Wednesday night. Photo by © Dan and Corina Lecca
Look 9 Fashion Week spring 2015 Rolando Santana model
Rolando Santana will show his spring 2015 collection on Thursday night. Photo by © Fernando Colon
Model on the runway at the Jonathan Blake fashion show October 2014
Jonathan Blake will show at Fashion Houston for the first time on Tuesday night. Photo courtesy of © Select Studios
Amir Taghi runway show in New York Sept 2014
Amir Taghi will be among the designers to close Fashion Houston on Friday night. Photo by Clifford Pugh
News_Houston Fashion Week_ Net-A-Porter_Oct 2010
Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2015 collection look 37
News_Houston Fashion Week_Cesar Galindo_Sept 2010
MET Dance Company presents "Indivisible"
Valentina Kova designs at New York fashion week Sept 2014
Fashion Week spring summer 2015 Naeem Khan October 2014 LOOK 8
Look 9 Fashion Week spring 2015 Rolando Santana model
Model on the runway at the Jonathan Blake fashion show October 2014
Amir Taghi runway show in New York Sept 2014

Fashion Houston is growing up and coming home.

The style extravaganza, which kicks off four nights of activities Tuesday at the Wortham Theater Center, is celebrating its fifth birthday with some big changes. As usual, a number of top designers will show their collections directly from the New York runways, with trunk shows afterward at leading Houston stores and boutiques.

 Organizers are touting the lineup as "some from around the world, some from around the corner." 

Among the noted designers who I saw in New York in September are Naeem Khan, a favorite of Houston socialites, who has added glamorous sportswear — think glittery track pants and sequined tops — to his spring 2015 collection, along with his staple of gorgeous evening gowns, and Bibhu Mohapatra, who will show a sophisticated collection based on the travels of glamorous shipping heiress Nancy Cunard.

Sprinkled in will be hip runway looks from new and interesting labels like Grungy Gentleman — creative director Jace Lipstein is featuring live music from a big-name rapper during the show, along with flashy looks from  Lebanese designer Rami Salamoun and a glam evening collection from Alexis Monsanto.

But this go-around, there's much more of local presence, with more than a dozen Houston-based designers showing on the runway, several for the first time. They include Sameera Faridi, who excels at creating South Asian attire, Jonathan Blake, who is carving out a clientele among Houston socialites, Art Institute of Houston designers Breccia Demartini, Paola Contreras, Clarence T Lee and Lee O Yates, and a host of local designers who are taking part in the Little Black Dress Designer project created by Neal Hamil Agency director Jeff Shell.

They will join well-known Houston designers Chloe Dao and David Peck, along with up-and-comers Amir Taghi and Jio'zei Reyes, both of whom showed at Fashion Houston last year.

Organizers are touting the lineup as "some from around the world, some from around the corner." 

"We've brought in designers from Lebanon, the Philippines, Russia, Haiti and Latin America," said Fashion Houston founder and CEO Jared Lang. "Houston is such a melting pot as the Energy Capital of the World that it only makes sense that we're diverse."

Streamlined and tightened up

The Fashion Houston program has been tightened up and streamlined this year, Lang said, with entertainment replacing intermissions where the audience sat idly and often slipped away. In past years, there were several nightly intermissions, in which the crowd steadily declined, so by the end of the evening the massive Wortham lobby, where the shows are held, was nearly empty.

 The program has been tightened up and streamlined this year, Lang said, with entertainment replacing intermissions where the audience sat idly and often slipped away. 

"I feel like fashion is part of the creative community," Lang explained. "We have a lot of other talent in Houston to enhance the experience of Fashion Houston. We're not catering to (store) buyers. We're catering to the people with a 'Project Runway/Victoria's Secret' kind of show. It's fun."

The talent line-up includes singers Rocko Steady, who created a theme song for Fashion Houston 5, and Tamár Davis on Tuesday night,  the MET Dance Company and Latin singer Manuel Noe on Wednesday night, singers Kristine Mills and Ashley Toman Thursday night and singer Taylor Crowley and Crashing Colors on Friday night.

For those who want to party after the runway shows are over, there will be opportunities for the fashion crowd to mix and mingle at late-night events.

On Tuesday night, New York rapper jadakiss will be the featured performer at Hughes Hanger; Wednesday night at South Beach will feature Houston DJ/drummer Don Vaughn and America's Next Top Model contestant Will Jardell, Thursday night at the new Prohibition will showcase The Floozies and a big grand finale party will take place Friday night at Crimson.

Focus on clothes

Even with the added entertainment, the focus will still be on the clothes. Traditionally, top stores have brought in top designers who show at Fashion Houston and rack up sales at trunk shows the next day. That continues this year with a packed lineup of designers who will meet and greet customers at stores the day after they show at Fashion Houston.

 "Five years ago there was no real fashion presence here. But now we are turning the corner." 

Elizabeth Anthony is showcasing Mohapatra, as well as designers Rene Ruiz and Rolando Santana. Neiman Marcus is bringing in Rebecca Minkoff, Fabrice Tardieu, Rubin Singer, who is debuting his pre-fall 2015 collection in Houston, and Tibi designer Amy Smilovic.

Tootsies is hosting Khan, jewelry designer Matthew Campbell Laurenza and Peck, while Chloe Dao will be at her Rice Village store. Sloan Hall is bringing in Valentina Kova, a young designer whose New York presentation in a hotel penthouse drew a jammed crowd and whose clientele includes Lady Gaga, Lorde, Miranda Lambert, Julianne Moore, Glenn Close and Laverne Cox. This will be Kova's first full-scale runway show.

"We have been carrying Valentina’s fine jewelry for some time and had been watching the development of her apparel collection. We loved the attention to detail and craftsmanship and started carrying the ready to wear this fall.  Bringing her for Fashion Houston seemed like a good way to introduce Valentina to Houston," Sloan Hall co-owner Shannon Hall said.

To start off each evening of Fashion Houston, Mayor Annise Parker, who is not noted for her fashion prowess, will nevertheless offer her style do's and don't's by video.

Lang believes that Fashion Houston has come a long way since it launched in 2010.

"Five years ago there was no real fashion presence here. But now we are turning the corner. We have more than 400 people who are involved putting on this event, from the mayor to the students at HCC and all the artists. In order for to be sustainable, it can't be about only on demographic. It has to be for the whole city." 

------

For information or tickets, visit the Fashion Houston website.

ADVERTISEMENT
Learn More