| Fashion |

Dress Fun and Flirty This Summer with Fotini

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Punch up your standard summertime wardrobe of short shorts and white tee with a selection from fashion brand Fotini's Spring/Summer 2013 collection of fun, flirty, feminine dresses -- perfect for Southern gals looking to make this summer a fashionable one.

"It's feminine, it's very romantic, but it's also very current and chic," says Fotini Copeland, creator of the brand.

Fotini's heavily feminine design comes from Copeland's love of Italian fashion, particularly the art of corsetry, which she learned while studying in the country's ateliers for three years. Her training in waist-cinching is seen in much of her clothing; though they do not come imbued with the curved metal material that forces one's torso to resemble an hourglass. The dress designs are cut into that shape, allowing for women of any size to get their Betty Boop on.

When Copeland started Fotini in 2007, she commuted between Italy and her hometown of Canada to work on the fashion line. She eventually moved her business to New York City, where she currently oversees lines in D.C., Florida and Kuwait, in addition to Houston. Right now her Houston line is sold exclusively in Elizabeth Anthony/Esther Wolf, an upscale boutique located in River Oaks, but she is currently in talks with other stores to expand the brand throughout the city. (Mum's the word on which stores.)

When we first visited her trunk show in March 2012, we noted lots of flared dresses in gem colors and exciting patterns.This summer's style is similar; deep V-cut necklines, thigh-high slits and swaths of layered fabric, once dyed into deep oranges and blues, are now cool and crisp in pastels and white. One good example of Copeland's description of feminine and chic can be found in the Camille, a light pink silk two-piece suit that would be considered on par with the androgynous fashion trend, were it not for the plunging neckline in front.

Far from androgynous is the Angelique, a little white dress that bounces and sways with every turn. The Marie Antoinette gown is a royal evening gown that sweeps the floor in every direction. Reminding one of Cinderella at the ball, its all-white color is electrifying and commands respect. For a casual day out, try the Nina blouse and Jeannette short, a pair that unseats the typical shirt and short set -- remember that bland summer outfit mentioned in the beginning? -- and trades it in for a beguiling mix of floral on stark white.

Also, all of the clothes are given women's names, further evidence of Copeland's commitment to women's fashion. And they are non-restrictive. Her dresses, Copeland says, are wearable with either heels or flats, and her suits and shirt-and-short sets can be worn as separates.

"It's diverse and gives options to the woman."

Copeland guarantees that what Houston buyers will be most attracted to are the beautiful fabrics and experimental colors that make up many of her clothes.

"I think the Houston woman is really the epitome of this brand," Copeland says. Visit fotini-nyc.com.

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