Working with Joan Jett and Gwen Stefani seems to have rubbed off on Cesar Galindo.
Based in New York, where he has recently designed with Jett and for Stefani's L.A.M.B. collection in addition to continuing his own upscale line, the Houston native returned home to unveil his new, more moderately priced collection, called Czar, at Fashion Houston Tuesday night. It's the best work he's done.
Instead of designing for the lady who lunches, Galindo has set his sights on her party girl daughter with a modern collection incorporating techno fabrics, clean design and solid colors (many of the 32 looks come in a silvery aluminum shade or bold citrus hues).
"My clothes are social party outfits. You're not going to go shopping in them. If you are, you're cracked out of your mind," Galindo said, with a laugh.
"I call it escapism because I think right now everybody needs to escape from this reality we're living in," Galindo said, backstage after the show. "It's about the future —it's a modern future, using classical silhouettes with modern fabrics and modern hardware. It's not reinventing the wheel but just moving it forward."
Galindo still showcases his ability to drape a fabric — few American designers do it better — but he has toned down his tendencies to go overboard with design tricks, finally realizing that less is more.
"It was kind of hard to reign myself in," the 45-year-old designer conceded. "I'm used to making incredible couture gowns that are finished inside and out. I had to learn to pull back and soften up my construction and the way I build the clothes and just make it a little easier for the price point. It's still a statement. It's just not a gown with a corset and a harness and all that infrastructure that I normally put into it, you know?"
He opened the well-thought-out runway show with a series of coats, skirts, dresses and palazzo pants made of shadow striped organza, a techy-looking fabric with a degree of stiffness that can be shaped, before switching to tactile fabrics like optical lace, used as an overlay in a nifty pair of blue satin hotpants, and a knitted medallion poncho. He closed with a number of body-hugging dresses in neon green, orange and gray.
Many of the looks were accessorized with fingerless gloves made by his friend, Jane Hruska, to give the clothes an edgier look.
He agrees that working with Jett and for Stefani in recent years influenced him a lot.
"It has taken me back to the Dolce & Gabbana days where I used to work (very early in his career). I have that party girl influence in there. My clothes are social party outfits. You're not going to go shopping in them. If you are, you're cracked out of your mind," he said, with a mischevious laugh.