HTX Up to Speed
Up To Speed Video

Inside Fashion Houston: Exclusive video of backstage antics and runway dreams come true

Fashion Houston: Exclusive video of backstage antics and runway dreams

No, that wasn't Rihanna at Fashion Houston Tuesday night, although several starstruck fans were convinced that CultureMap contributor Nicole Hickl, the on-air personality for our "Up To Speed" special series, is a dead ringer for the pop superstar.

But if the singer/style icon had been at the Wortham Theater Center, there was plenty on the 80-foot-long runway to entice her.

That wasn't Rihanna at Fashion Houston but if the singer/style icon had been at the Wortham Center, there was plenty on the runway to entice her.

Fourteen eclectic designers showed their collection on the opening night of the Houston fashion extravaganza, ranging from the relaxed looks of Tibi designer Amy Smilovic, whose new creation for spring is the "scant" (a culotte-like piece that is a combination between a skirt and pant), to the over-the-top creations of Alexis Monsanto, who closed his show with a Game of Thrones groom in chain metal armour and bride in a see-through column gown.

(Nine of the designers are students participating in the Little Black Dress Designer project, taking inspiration from nine of Houston's most stylish women to create a unique take on the iconic LBD. The muses each walked the runway, too.)

In this exclusive "Up To Speed" video, Nicole and I slipped in backstage to see the frenzied preparations for the relatively short runway shows, talked with Monsanto and Houston designer Sameera Faridi, the first designer of South Asian descent to show at Fashion Houston, who is making a name for herself with beautiful, intricately beaded gowns.

"I started working on this collection since July," she says. "I just wanted everyone in the audience to relate to it."

And then we discuss our favorite looks of the evening. Let us know if you agree in the comments section below.

Fashion Houston Night 1 November 2014 prince and princess
The close of the Alexis Monsanto show looked like a high-style episode of Game of Thrones. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group