Let's Hear It For The Boys
Skimpy swimsuits, rugged looks and jaw-dropping jewels light up Heart of Fashion runway
The second night of Heart of Fashion was all about the boys, featuring collections from Stag and M Penner for fall and spring. And while men’s fashion was the focus, a bright and sexy swimsuit collection by La Isla and a jaw-dropping jewelry show from Franco Valobra ensured every one went home happy.
M Penner: Menswear Italian style
Modern Italian style by Eleventy kicked off the evening with spring looks that were sporty and polished. M Penner owners Karen and Murry Penner focus on artisanal boutique collections at their Uptown Park store along with brands like Zegna, Cucinelli, and Kiton, so when they saw Eleventy, they knew it was a perfect fit.
“We were very excited to introduce Eleventy to Houston at Heart of Fashion,” Murry Penner said. “Eleventy offers a fabulous product with a great team behind the brand. This is definitely the collection to watch, and Vivian Wise's vision and generosity provided the perfect setting for the launch.”
Style cues for spring from the Italian line include layers and lots of them, in lightweight materials of course. Detailed vests and lightly structured jackets ruled the collection, but a black leather moto jacket paired with high tops and high-scrunched joggers was a crowd favorite.
Take note gentlemen; if Eleventy’s style trends are any indication, you may want to work on those calf raises over the winter. Many of the spring pants were ruched mid-calf. And, if you’re not sure what to do with that jacket or sweater when it starts to warm up, Italian sensibilities suggest simply tying it around your waist.
La Isla Swimwear: Teensy tiny bikinis
From the first bouncy beat of music to the last bright bikini, the La Isla Swimwear line was an escape to sunny skies and warm waters. Columbian-born Enrique Sanchez-Rivera merges South American sexiness with a casual California beach vibe, blending tie dye and animal prints, creative cutouts and styles for lounging or actually swimming.
While 99 percent of the swimsuits Sanchez-Rivera makes are for private label, he and his team reserve that very special one percent for their own creative whims and intricate handmade work by seamstresses in Columbia.
“Everything is completely handmade. We play with the design and the women in Columbia who make the suits are part of the creative process,” Sanchez-Rivera said. “We are all involved, we all brainstorm and our belief is, if you build it, they will come.”
Teensy-tiny bikinis did rule the runway, but there were also high-waisted bottoms and a gorgeous bustier top, a one piece and a sporty two-piece suit that begged for a surf board.
One of the suits shown was a collaboration between Sanchez-Rivera and The Bachelor’s Lucinda Aragon, who appeared on the 18th season of the show. She and her mother share the same name and the passion for swimwear and created a floral bikini shown at Heart of Fashion.
“I just always want to be surrounded by flowers. I just like the feel of flowers,” Aragon said. “This has always been our dream.”
Stag Provisions: Comfort and quirk
Stag Provisions on Westheimer rolled out fall looks for guys who like to blend comfort, style and a bit of quirk. Basic khaki trousers were punched up with puffy vests, flannel shirts were layered and grandpa vests and hats were the ultimate toppers. The look was approachable and the feel, a bit hipster with plenty of personality.
Houston crowds clearly haven’t met a leather jackets they didn’t like, and a chocolate brown leather jacket was a crowd favorite on a chilly November night.
Valobra Master Jewelers: Stunners worth $5 million
If the indication of a good show is to always leave the crowd wanting more, then the jewelry presentation by Valobra definitely accomplished that goal. A parade of black-clad cat burglars modeled after 1955’s To Catch A Thief slinked down the runway, showing of just shy of $5 million worth of stunning jewels.
Owner Franco Valobra drew from his stores in Italy, Switzerland, New Orleans and Houston for the show, keeping in mind the elements he knows Houstonians like best.
“Originality, color and attitude,” Valobra said. “Houston is an international city, so I selected pieces that reflect that, but I also know what Houstonians like.”
Indeed he did. The dazzled crowd buzzed about the collection throughout the after-party, which lingered into the night.