NEW YORK — Part of my Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week assignment in September was scouting out the designers who will be showing their spring 2013 collections at Fashion Houston, which kicks off tonight through Thursday at the Wortham Theater Center.
Houston organizers have put together a boffo list of designers for the fashion extravaganza. Here's a sneak peek directly from New York of some of the stellar, sexy designs you will see on the Wortham runway:
When he's showing: Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 9:45 p.m.
What you'll see: Posen loves red-carpet looks. His spring 2013 collection features a mind-boggling assortment of form-fitting gowns in an array of colors. Perfect for the woman who wants to make an entrance.
Pictured here: Cayenne stretch duchess satin draped bustier gown.
Why he loves runway shows: "I still believe that a show and it’s movement needs to be seen in person," Posen told Fashion Group International.
Zac Posen Harlem rose printed tulle ball gown
Zac Posen, celebrating after his show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, with supermodel Alek Wek. Posen will be on hand at Fashion Houston for his runway show Tuesday and will make a personal appearance at Neiman Marcus on Wednesday.
When they're showing: Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 9:45 p.m.
What you'll see: Body-hugging dresses in geometric patterns inspired by the quilts of Gee's Bend, a rural Alabama community known for distinctive style of traditional patchworking.
Pictured here: The collection's first look, a form-fitting dress in patchwork patterns.
The last look of the Herve Leger spring collection features the trademark stretchy bandage fabric with gold trim. The quilt-like pattern adds a warrior woman look.
Designers Lubov and Max Azria will oversee their Herve Leger spring 2013 collection at Fashion Houston on Wednesday (Nov. 14), as well as their BCBG Max Azria spring 2013 collection, which will be shown tonight at 9:45 p.m.
When she's showing: Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 8:30 p.m.
What you'll see: A light and breezy collection inspired by French countryside landscapes and 18th century paintings. "It's the 18th century impressionists that made me feel like I was bringing out the colors and painting myself. It's my canvas," Fotini explained while showing me her spring 2013 collection during a New York fashion week presentation.
The Greek-born designer incorporates a barely-there floral pattern on dresses and blouses. "The wisteria, which is one of my favorite florals, is developed in the print of what I'm wearing and what one of the models is wearing. It's fresh, it's very sensual, still sexy. She's a feminine, confident woman who wants to be noticed."
Pictured here: Models in a wispy dress and blouse with wisteria pattern. The blouse is paired with cool white short shorts.
Fotini will showcase her collection Tuesday night at Fashion Houston and will make a personal appearance at Elizabeth Anthony Esther Wolf Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 14-15) from 10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.Fotini
When she's showing: Thursday, Nov. 15 at 9:15 p.m
What you'll see: A red carpet favorite, Lhuillier is in a nautical mood for spring, with a sea-worthy collection featuring gowns in seafoam green and Mediterranean blue, along with body-hugging dresses featuring digital prints of cranes, koi and wavy shells.
Pictured here: Lhuillier works the peblum look in this ensemble of a strapless, belted top and pencil skirt. The designer also introduced a new line of shoes.
While most of the gowns in the collection are sea shades, Lhuillier closes it with a gown in colors of brown, gold and beige.
Lhuillier, shown here at her New York show, is jetting in for Fashion Houston Thursday night and leaving almost immediately afterwards. The Los Angeles-based designer, who made her mark creating bridal gowns before branching into a full ready-to-wear line, recently opened her first New York store. "The customer gets married once in her life. I want her to think of Monique Lhuillier multiple times a year, to come in if she just wants something special," she told Women's Wear Daily.
When she's showing: Thursday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m.
Backstory: Kahng was a fashion world darling in the early 1990s — Madonna wore a Khang lavendar romper on the cover of Vanity Fair — but dropped out of the scene when fickle buyers moved on to the next new thing. "It was instant success but I was shocked and so unprepared. I closed everything down," she told me at the presentation of her New York collection in September. "But now I'm back."
Last year, Joe Zee, creative director of Elle magazine, recruited Kahng to be on his show on the Sundance Channel, All on The Line, where he counsels fledgling or failing designers.
The exposure helped her relaunch her line, which Tootsies carries. "I'm so excited about going (to Houston). I have some fans down there and I can't wait to see them," she said.
Pictured here: Gemma Kahng's black see-through dress highlights a big trend: the sense of illusion. Kahng says she uses a lot of black in her collections.
"I start with black; it makes you look thin and stylish. You can't go wrong. It's a very easy color," she said.
What you'll see: For her spring 2013 collection, Kahng started out with a clean color palate. "It's pure and simple and not high tech or anything. It's just opposite of the way we live today so It's so refreshing. And then I started to notice all the beautiful things in nature — butterflies, moths, flowers — and I used those ideas in this collection."
Look closely and notice the floral appliques on shorts, top and coat.
Gemma Kahng adds a dash of yellow to her spring collection with a leather coat with butterfly appliques.
Kahng says she has visited Austin and Dallas but this will be her first visit to Houston.
"I like it there (in Texas)," she said. "It's very America."
Other designers at Fashion Houston include Georges Chakra, David Peck, Chloe Dao, Jerri Moore, Rubin Singer, Kevan Hall, Patrick and Fabrice Tardieu of Bogosse and Laurel Berman of Black Halo. Here's the link to the full schedule. And stop by the CultureMap Style Spot, located near the runway, where the CultureMap Fashion Team will be reporting all the latest Fashion Houston activities.