Now in its fourth year, Fashion Houston hosted the opening night of its four-night run at the Wortham Center last night. Doors opened at 6:30 p.m. for a full 90 minutes of red carpet arrivals; attendees walked the giant red carpet before entering the theater, where music thumped, guests mingled with cocktails, and people watching was at its peak.
Fashion Houston's creative director Neal Hamil opened the show by giving a shout-out to Houston talent, saying that the show "has to be an incubator" for local talent. The show started with more famous names, like Marios Schwab and Catherine Deane, but the crowd was just as eager to see Talbot Runhof, Jo'se Reyes, Viet Kent Nguyen, and local wunderkind Amir Taghi, who at just 17 has already interned for Oscar de la Renta and whose label you will find at Tootsies.
The show got off to a late start, so there was plenty of time to peep the guests' fashion. Men, women, and even children were wearing their most fashionable threads. As seen from Section C, Row E:
• A woman (@lafashionsnob) with a full headdress made out of wire coat hangers. (It doesn't appear to be a political statement, but knowing that ruins the fun a little.) • Another pair of Chuck Taylors, and on another member of the press, this time on a girl in a pink tulle tutu. Brilliant. • Lots, and lots, and lots of Louboutins. Sigh.
There were also things we didn't see enough of, including opera length gloves (one), men in excellent drag (one), and women who, at first glance, seemed at least partially nude (three).
As mentioned, the show started late--just over twenty minutes--which gave guests time to feel the cold. No, not the brisk temperatures outside, but the air conditioned room inside. There was no cover from the forceful air that was pumping down on guests from the ceiling, and women who weren't wearing furs were leveling a hunter's gaze at those who were. After the first couple of shows and an intermission, guests seemed relieved to be back on their feet and moving around.
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All of the designers showed strong collections, though the crowd seemed particularly enamored of Schwab and Deane, as well as Talbot Runhof and Amir Taghi.
• Marios Schwab showed first, to a crowd ready to be warmed by hot clothes; his ready-to-wear collection was visually interesting with black-and-white graphics, boxy-but-feminine shapes, and some daring uses of transparency. • Catherine Deane's collection followed, and was utterly ethereal and feminine in comparison. Softly draped fabrics gave the garments a dreamy effect, and special design elements on the backs of the gowns provided a one-two punch of impact. • The crowd went crazy for Talbot Runhof, whose classic silhouettes were crafted with strong lines and well-chosen graphics that had "oomph" on the runway. One woman gasped and bounced up and down in her seat every time a new garment turned the corner. • Houston's own Amir Taghi wowed the crowd that was waiting for him all night long. He's absolutely designer for a young client (he's only 17, after all) and it shows--his clothes, and even his styling, were far edgier than anything else we saw on the runway ... so far.
Fashion Houston continues tonight, through Friday, at the Wortham Center Downtown and the Houston Press will be on hand all four nights. As we prep for tonight, we are going to share a few tips for you if you are attending:
1. Bring something warm to wear: You are going to want to dress up and look sexy, but you are going to be cold once you take your seat. Steal a tuxedo jacket from a kind stranger, or bring a wrap--or even two--to cover up. 2. Hydrate, people: Whether you are drinking or not, it's a long night and you are going to get thirsty for more than vodka. Alternative: Pack a flask of whiskey to keep you warm. 3. Seven bucks, please: Parking at Wortham is actually really easy, and pretty cheap--seven bucks and the parking garage is heated, well-lit, and safe. Please don't try to walk four blocks on stilettos to a dark public lot to save two dollars.