The second night of Fashion Houston was filled with firsts.
Rubin Singer unveiled a never-before-seen collection just for the event, Miami-based designer Rene Ruiz brought his collection of shimmering evening gowns to the Fashion Houston runway and students from the Art Institute Houston introduced capsule collections to the public.
For the first time, CultureMap’s own Clifford Pugh teamed up with Fashion Houston creator Jared Lang to kick off the evening that was punctuated with dance and musical performances in between fashion presentations.
And then there was Naeem Khan. Though it was also his first time to appear at Fashion Houston, every piece of his spring 2015 collection was so magnificent, I was hoping he would show it again.
"We felt it was an exciting thing for Houston to see something fresh and different."
Art Institute Houston
Fashion Houston sharpened its focus on local talent, selecting four Art Institute Houston designers to kick off the show. Breccia Demartini showed her Demartini line, Lee O Yates featured his 220 by L Yates collection, Paola Contreras showcased her Inclán collection, and Clarence T Lee unveiled his DAL line.
Linen, zipper details and sheer cuffs highlighted their collections, but it was Contreras' Inclán collection that wowed the crowd the most. A structured handkerchief skirt, sheer hoodie, well-placed cutouts and dashes of color made for a high-energy sportswear look.
Singer’s Houston connection grew even deeper Wednesday night as he chose to reveal his first-ever pre-fall collection of black and white looks to the Fashion Houston crowd. Singer and Beyoncé worked together on her 2013 Super Bowl halftime costume, as well as her “Mrs. Carter Show” world tour, and his affinity for the city showed on the runway.
"We felt it was an exciting thing for Houston to see something fresh and different. It was a great opportunity for the public to see my new work,” Singer said.
The tribal-inspired collection was at its best as soft leather skirts floated down the runway, juxtaposed with structured leather crop tops. He mixed leather and lace, and form-fitting bodices with gathered, free-flowing skirts. A kimono-sleeve dress flipped the feel, giving movement on top and a straight skirt on the bottom. Slicked back hair and dark, dramatic eyes conveyed mystery and hints of danger.
Jewelry designer Matthew Campbell Laurenza has been a familiar face at Tootsies, but he brought his bold, architectural jewelry to the masses. He gave a lesson on accessorizing the LBD at the show, layering long necklaces, chunky cuffs and sparkly bangles on the runway.
Rene Ruiz promised a soft, colorful palate and that’s just what Fashion Houston audiences saw. His collection blended from creams to blush, blue to green, morphing into black and metallics, mirroring a day-to-night spectrum of color.
Vibrant hues are essential to Ruiz’s designs and his gowns have extra sparkle thanks to sequins and beading. He took his collection national and international six years ago, but has created a name for himself by manufacturing in the United States.
Khan was like a fashion superhero, blowing a kiss to the crowd, jumping off the runway with great aplomb.
“It’s what I’m most proud of,” Ruiz said. “We have the tailoring and craftsmanship of Europe, but the spirit of America in our designs. After 23 years in the fashion industry, Ruiz knows what women want in a dress and he is only too happy to oblige.
“Women want to be sophisticated, beautiful and comfortable,” Ruiz said.
Khan designs for women whom he calls sexy, strong, feminine and well-traveled, which pretty much sums up the Houston woman. He has a massive loyal following here and the moment his show started, the Fashion Houston crowd fell under his spell. Gorgeous, intricate beading. Breathtaking fabrics. Truly, it was poetry in motion and a delight.
His foray into sportswear is equally as stunning. Together, many of the embellished pieces felt more appropriate for night, but break them apart and you have a luxe look that far supersedes anything from Lululemon. It’s an exciting new direction and one we can’t wait to see more of.
After his show ended, Khan was like a fashion superhero, blowing a kiss to the crowd, jumping off the runway with great aplomb and then grabbing one of his very best friends and most loyal fans Becca Cason Thrash. The duo dashed from the Wortham, making for a memorable end to an exciting night.