Fashion Houston 2014

High drama, glamorous gowns and sexy models send Fashion Houston off in style

High drama, glam gowns, sexy models send Fashion Houston off in style

David Peck runway show models with masks at Fashion Houston
Models in masks closed the David Peck runway show Photo by © Omar Marcos
Rami Salamoun gown at Fashion Houston
Rami Salamoun midnigh blue evening gown. Photo by © Omar Marcos
Amir Taghi collection at Fashion Houston
Amir Taghi combined his spring and fall collections into one runway show. Photo by © Omar Marcos
Fabrice Tardieu floral jacket and leather pants at Fashion Houston
Fabrice Tardieu paired a floral jacket with leather shorts an sneakers. Photo by © Omar Marcos
Houston Ballet performed during David Peck show at Fashion Houston
Houston Ballet dancers performed during the David Peck runway show. Photo by © Omar Marcos
Valentino Kova at Fashion Houston
In her first runway show, Valentina Kova featured robe like dresses in bright shades. Photo by © Omar Marcos
Rami Salamoun hot pants and tops at Fashion Houston
Rami Salamoun sequined hot pants and jacket. Photo by © Omar Marcos
Fabrice Tardieu looks at Fashion Houston
Fabarice Tardeiu is a friend of Ben Franklin. Photo by © Omar Marcos
Valentino Kova at Fashion Houston
Valentino Kova paired colorful gowns with pastel jackets. Photo by © Omar Marcos
David Peck faux furs at Fashion Houston
David Peck sent out a bevy of models in faux furs. Photo by © Omar Marcos
Rami Salamoun gown at Fashion Houston
Rami Salamoun gown offers a lot of transparency. Photo by © Omar Marcos
David Peck at Fashion Houston
David Peck acknowledges the Fashion Houston audience. Photo by © Omar Marcos
Amir Taghi collection at Fashion Houston
Amir Taghi's spring colleciton includes high waist pants and bustier. Photo by © Omar Marcos
David Peck runway show models with masks at Fashion Houston
Rami Salamoun gown at Fashion Houston
Amir Taghi collection at Fashion Houston
Fabrice Tardieu floral jacket and leather pants at Fashion Houston
Houston Ballet performed during David Peck show at Fashion Houston
Valentino Kova at Fashion Houston
Rami Salamoun hot pants and tops at Fashion Houston
Fabrice Tardieu looks at Fashion Houston
Valentino Kova at Fashion Houston
David Peck faux furs at Fashion Houston
Rami Salamoun gown at Fashion Houston
David Peck at Fashion Houston
Amir Taghi collection at Fashion Houston

When David Peck showed at Fashion Houston for the first time four years ago, the fledging designer could barely scrape together 20 looks for the runway at the Wortham Center.

This time he was the star.

Peck was given the prime final slot on the closing night of the fashion extravaganza Friday and he delivered with a fast-paced show that combined dozens of practical looks with moments of high drama.

But he wasn't the only designer to offer a twist on traditional fashion.

The last night included a Lebanese designer who specializes in flashy evening wear for women and men, a Russian designer who is a favorite of Lorde and Laverne Cox, a laidback designer who offers the coolest menswear I've seen in a long time, and a young Houston designer who may emulate Peck's success five years from now. 

Rami Salamoun: From Lebanon with love

Salamoun got the final night of FH off to a glam start with a parade of evening gowns that blended illusion tulle and strategic beading to cover key body parts. I'm guessing there must not be a sequin or beaded crystal left in Beirut, where the designer is based, because each gown — and many of the menswear jackets — were covered in gems that sparked in the runway light.

I 'm guessing there must not be a sequin or beaded crystal left in Beirut. 

While some of the looks seemed more suited to beauty pageants, Las Vegas shows or the 1980s camp classic TV series, Dynasty, many styles had the crowd awestruck. Ericka Bagwell and Ursaline Hamilton, on the front row, seemed particularly taken with a body-hugging purple beaded gown with squiggly waves that showed just the right amount of skin.

To close the show, Salamoun sent out a man in a gigantic sequined cape that represented the flag of Lebanon. Despite all of the strife in the Middle East, Beirut remains a center of glamour and nightlife fun. Cheers to the designer for continuing the tradition.

Fabrice Tardieu: Laid back luxury

Backstage before his runway show, Tardieu gave his male models some runway advice. "I want all the ladies screaming their lungs out," the charismatic designer said.

The models, indeed, seemed to have a sexy good time on the catwalk, displaying Tardieu's collection of luxurious urban street wear, ranging from woven loafers and zippered high tops to light cotton blazers with leather shorts, leather sweatpants and jackets in quilted fabrics.

"I want all the ladies screaming their lungs out," the charismatic designer said.

"I decided to do a little more about what my personal style is about," said Tardieu. "It's a laid back luxury. Everything is inspired from a jogging suit. It usually comes with a drawstring. There is no lapel on the jacket, so it makes it a little more easy to wear."

"When you see that today in the fashion world that Kayne West, who is a hip hop person, is doing clothes for Louis Vuitton, you understand what fashion is about. It's become something very different," he said. "Leather has become the new silk. The sneaker has replaced the boot. Everything's more laid back now."

While developing his new collection, Tardieu also works as creative director of Boggose, a line he developed with his brother, which doesn't leave him much free time. But he doesn't mind the double duty.

"When you work in fashion you always find time to do what you love." he said.

Amir Taghi: Two shows in one

Though only a high school senior, this is the second appearance at Fashion Houston for Taghi, who was showcased as an emerging designer last year and and who recently unveiled his collection at New York fashion week.

Even at his young age, Taghi recognizes that fashion is a business, so he featured fall looks that can be purchased now, along with his spring 2015 collection, which can be pre-ordered. His aesthetic features unadorned styles with clean lines, so that many can be worn now or  still look classic five years from now.

 "If you don't have knowledge, you can't really get anywhere," Taghi said.

 "I'm doing two shows in one," he said backstage before his show.

For fall, Taghi mixes shades of red in skirts, blouses and an eye-catching strapless gown. For spring, he features high-waisted pants, crop tops and short shorts in pastel shades, and a black racer back dress that flares at the hem, offering just the right amount of sexiness and modesty.

Taghi plans to show in New York in February, but then hopes to hone his craft at the prestigious Parson's School of Design in New York or Central St. Martin's in London after graduating from Episcopal High School next spring.

"I'm going to stop for a couple of years because I really want to go and study and learn more," he said. "If you don't have knowledge, you can't really get anywhere."

Valentino Kova: First runway show

In her first full-scale runway show, Kova mixed primary colors with clean shapes for a fresh take on fashion for her hip customer. Included in the mix were languid robes, high-style military coats, bright orange or green gowns, tempered with pastel motorcycle jackets and a black evening gown with lace sleeves, emphasizing Kova's sweet and tough look.

David Peck: Several surprises

Having just shown his collection in a big show at the new JW Marriott Downtown Houston a couple of months ago, Peck added several surprises to close out Fashion Houston's fifth year with a flourish.

At one point, he sent out a bevy of models in snow leopard faux fur vests that are the hallmark of his fall collection. Then he featured his made-to-measure evening gowns interspersed with a performance by Houston Ballet dancers Jessica Collado, Melody Mennite, Deanna Pearson and Linnar Looris.

 Peck also revealed some thrilling news: He will soon become a father. 

 For the grand finale, models came out wearing gowns with beaded masks as a salute to the Houston Ballet Masked Ball next February. (Proceeds from the masks, which Peck designed and are available at his boutique, will go to the Houston Ballet.) Among the stunners for evening were a draped plum velvet V-neck  gown and a gray trumpet skirt and printed longsleeve blouse.

Peck's bread and butter remain his day dresses and the collection features a variety of styles from those in color block patterns and patchwork sheaths to his take on the wrap dress, which he calls the "faux wrap dress," in two-tone patterns. Most are under $300 and everything on the runway is available at his boutique.

Peck was excited about how his collection — and Houston's fashion week — has grown.

"I feel like everything has gotten bigger and better and a little bit more grand. The fashion actually made here in Houston has more of representation than it ever has before, which is really exciting to see that we're not just importing it, we're exporting it, too," he said.

He also revealed some thrilling news: He will soon become a father. His wife, Michelle, is pregnant with a son, who is due in April.

"Who knows? I may create a boy's line," Peck said with a laugh.

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