Fashion, Art Merge Beautifully at Artopia

Last night, I was kicking myself for never attending Artopia in the past. I will never make that mistake again. It's not often that all the creative worlds of Houston converge, which is a pity, but when they do, a real party results.

Presented by the Houston Press, Artopia is the ultimate intersection of culture, fashion, art, food and music. Winter Street Studio plays host to all sorts of live performances interspersed with food and drinks. Then to top it all off, a fashion show, visual art everywhere and live music. Like I said, I was kicking myself for missing all the fun over the years.

Slideshow: Houston Press Artopia 2014 in Photos

A few artists stood out to me, as I wandered through the crowds.

A collection of pieces from self-taught artist Nicole Gavin, known for her unflinching depictions of nude forms and vivid colors.

An abstract piece by Reece Carnley caught most people off guard. The piece was painted in blood sealed in resin. The artist explains that the blood was responsibly harvested and is meant to preserve the memory of something that once was alive.

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Multiple photography collections were on display, but Milkyway from SpaceCity by Sergio Garcia Rill really captures Houston in a new light.

A piece using Fashion's Night Out imagery, by mixed media artist Jim Hudex, was my favorite (surprise, surprise).

Jewelry designer Nikita McElroy of Sirod Alfre displayed her limited edition accessories inspired by high fashion images she finds in magazines.

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And now for the fashion...

Bright Brights and Nude Nudes, Kinda Danny Nguyen's presentation was a mix of his Fall 2013 collection and his new Spring 2014 line. Both were equally opulent with luxe fabrics like chiffon and lace, but each had their own story to tell. The Fall 2013 collection, a collaboration with local artist and fellow Artopia presenter Claire Richards, was meant to evoke abstract landscapes. The Spring 2014 collection was inspired by the life cycle of flowers. Pieces were very transparent but avoided the risque label thanks to strategically placed sequined appliques and dramatic lace overlays.

Bringing the Star Power You can expect a bit of a buzz whenever Chloe Dao shows a collection and I felt it as the crowd anxiously waited for her presentation. Whispers of "Didn't she win Project Runway?" and "I love her boutique!" could be heard as the crowd pressed in. Though Dao presented a pared down version of her Spring 2014 collection that debuted at Fashion Houston in November, she made sure to keep the best stuff in. Crop tops, high waist skirts, slinky dresses, and those lips necklaces we all fell in love with at Fashion Houston were once again a hit with the crowd.

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