Houston Fashion Week: The Wortham, Champagne and Sky High Heels

The Second Year of Fashion Week got off at the Wortham.
The Second Year of Fashion Week got off at the Wortham.
Photo by Jay Marroquin

For more photos, see our slideshow.

The Wortham Center glowed last night with Houston's fashion crowd. In the Audi Pavilion tent, we took a quick inventory of what Houstonians are wearing as we transition into our supposed autumn weather. There were plenty of bare legs in the crowd, warranted by Houston's still steamy temperatures. Tights were all around too -- opaque black, patterned and textured. Oh and there were leggings. Pleather, leather and metallic were just a few of the varieties we saw, proving Houston is all about legs for fall.

The vibe in the Wortham Center was clubbish, with a sleek white runway and a large screen displaying the show for those who had a less than desirable view. Unlike many fashion shows, Fashion Houston ran on time to the button, with a voiceover that asked guests to take their seats creating quite the fashion cattle call. One of our favorite things about Houston is the strong individual style you see on people of all ages. There were an array of women -- twentysomethings in leather jackets over frilly dresses, intricate wedges on those seeking comfort and mature ladies who lunch showing off svelte arms in their shifts from Tootsies. Personal style is something many Houstonians take seriously and they aren't afraid to play with color, shapes and patterns.

Colors popped.
Colors popped.
Photo by Jay Marroquin

Fashion Houston began with designer Jerri Moore, who is a native Houstonian. Moore is inspired by fabrics and colors, and lets the material give her a vision for her designs. Her gowns were true showstoppers and worthy of a red carpet in Hollywood. A black strapless gown with a confection of tulle created a dreamy scene that channeled Black Swan. Moore knows Texan women love color, so the collection was rounded out with yellow and floral patterns in modern cuts. A standout look was Moore's shimmering black jacket and shorts ensemble, which created a playful suit, worn with an emerald blouse. In this heat, glittering shorts qualify as eveningwear as far as we're concerned.

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You best know Barbara Tfank as the designer of Adele's dress at the MTV VMA's. The heartbreak crooner has a penchant for Tfank's traditional silhouettes, as does the First Lady. Tfank showed a collection with beauty notes inspired by the late Liz Taylor. Stark black wigs topped models in day dresses with nipped waists and tea length hemlines. Tfank stuck with a pastel color palette and worked with shantung and silk for an ultra-feminine collection that reminded some in the Twitter world of The Stepford Wives.

Patrick Schwarzenegger (yes, son of Maria and the former Governator) was at Fashion Houston showing his Project 360 line. Schwarzenegger created the line with two friends and hopes to raise awareness for Alzheimer's and AIDS, to name a few of the causes Project 360 works with. Project 360 items are manufactured in the good ol' USA and often made of sustainable and recycled fabrics. T-shirts, hoodies and sweatpants are emblazoned with words of hope. While the message was clear, photogs at the end of the runway became tired of the countless T-shirts and the incessant clicking heard at fashion shows came to a halt.

Closing the show was designer Douglas Hannant. Hannant, who began his career in fashion as a window designer for Barneys, is all about wearable glamour. This strikes a chord in a city that deals with sweltering heat waves. Hannant's dresses are easy, breezy and chic. A striped lavender and gray maxi gown reminded us of Isaac Mizrahi circa the mid-90s. It was a decade where fashion went minimalist. Hannant retained that minimalist appeal, bringing a modern edge with quirky patterns, whiskey wide belts and plenty of ivory lace. Fashion Houston 2011 continues through Thursday at the Wortham Center. The Audi Pavilion opens at 6 p.m., with the fashion shows starting promptly at 8 p.m. Follow @SamSaysFashion for live tweets from the show.

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