Fashion designer Michael DePaulo is having a good year. Last February, the Boston native made his Palm Beach debut to critical acclaim and is getting ready to launch a new bridal and ready-to-wear line in December. Known primarily for his cocktail, evening and special occasion designs, DePaulo’s use of sophisticated lines with an innovative edge has attracted an A-list clientele that includes media and sports powerhouse Linda Pizzuti Henry and Tony Award-winning theater director Diane Paulus. We recently caught up with the handsome and peripatetic 34-year-old over coffee in the South End, where we talked about the intersection of fashion, design and architecture as well as the joys of the perfect plate of pasta.
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The goal of the evening was a fashion magic carpet ride, an inclusionary “big tent” event that a diverse gathering of fashionistas, both men and women, could enjoy regardless of their personal approach to style. I wanted a designer dream team, each possessing an original vision for strong females with the type of talent that transcends and inspires. I chose the fresh, confident chic of Kreyol, the futuristic military vision of Julie Kontos paired with Race & Grant, and the red carpet drama of David Josef’s dresses.
Kreyol, created by the glamorous Haitian born designer Joelle Jean Fontaine, opened the show with her Capsule Collection. The collection included 50’s inspired garments with circa 1800 details and modern touches. The structured bouffant sleeves and full, oversized a – line skirts were reminiscent of a by gone era, but the form fitting pencil skirts and cropped tops in colorfully rich patterns gave the collection a distinctly modern sex appeal. Looks were completed with strong jewelry, flirty sunglasses, and leather driving gloves. Fontaine designs Kreyol for “the woman who creates her own reality, she is born to stand out and rule her destiny looking fabulously chic.”
The second presentation featured Boston-based designer Julie Kontos paired with Tracy Belben & Helena Grant, the accessory designers behind Race & Grant. This fusion created an evening wear collection that blends the team’s talents and commands attention. Kontos “classic with an edge” aesthetic evokes the structure of military styling with clean lines and symmetry, yet balances femininity by implementing thoughtful cut outs and flattering silhouettes. Touches of lace and shimmery fabrics enhance the crisp navy, gray, and white color palette. The fashion designer worked directly with Race & Grant to create customized accessories to compliment features within each garment.
Meticulously handcrafted by the designers, Race & Grant (aka ‘R&G’) is a fusion between chain jewelry artist (Belben) and handbag/ accessories creator (Grant). “In military styling, function is important. We created durable bags that incorporate both vegan and real leathers in rich color tones to accompany Julie’s collection,” states Grant, who crafts and engineers the structure of R&G’s bags. Each R&G bag is intricately wrapped and finished in hand-linked chainmaille, which further expresses the military concept within Kontos’ collection. “If you look closely, you will find hidden symbols such as crosses and American flags linked within the chainmaille”, says Belben, who finishes each R&G piece with chain adornments. This fashion stylist says “Sign me up!”
Closing the show and bringing down the house was designer David Josef, a force in the fashion world for nearly 40 years. He attributes his long success to recognizing the needs of each individual client and focuses on silhouettes that enhance a woman’s beauty, no matter her age or dress size. Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Ave have all carried his collections. David Josef has been featured in ads in Vogue, Town & Country, and Harper’s Bazaar. The client list for his beautiful cocktail dresses and gowns is extensive and includes both national and local celebrities in film and news media. David has worked with Judith Light, Dionne Warwick, Debbie Reynolds and WCVB’s Susan Wornick. More recently, David worked on the wedding gown for Ariana Brown, daughter of former Senator Scott Brown and Gail Huff, for her July 2014 wedding.
Models provided by Dynasty
DAVID JOSEF – facebook
It’s always exciting when one of our favorite designers comes out with a more affordable collection. And while these less expensive works can often range from lines for Target, Macy’s and H&M, I often feel a bit disappointed at the cheap version of what was once a luxurious piece of art. And please, does adding the word “Target” to our label really make us feel luxurious? (yes, I’m speaking to you, Mulberry for Target).
The B Atwood for Saks debut is to me exactly what these collections are all about. The price points aren’t so low that the quality will suffer, but you’ll definitely feel you can justify that classic Atwood pump you were once on the fence about.
Even better? Often times these “budge- friendly” compilations result in a much less creative version of what was loved about the designer in the first place. Not in (ahem, smart and handsome) Mr. Atwood’s case, though, much to our relief! He’s taken the opportunity to be even more innovative with a cohesive variety of textures, prints and embellishments (think leopard, calf hair and fringe), but while still throwing in some traditional platform pumps to stay true to his aesthetic. I honestly cannot even begin to tell you which shoe is my favorite as the collection as a whole is anything but monotonous. In fact, I think you’ll find there’s a little something for everyone in this high-heeled line-up.
Start pre-ordering HERE (link: http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/editorial/brianatwood072611.jsp)
And check them out at Saks this Fall.
Before you know it, Labor Day and the very-much-anticipated New York Fashion Week will be just around the corner (read: brace yourselves for another frigid winter). But fret not, my dears: this Alexander Wang cowl-neck dress is a to-die-for transitional piece for your last round of summer cocktail-garden parties.
There’s the impeccable draping in classic A.Wang style, of course, but also a worth a mention are both the unexpectedly uber-cool-sexy asymmetrical cut of the dress and the gorgeous ‘butterscotch’ color! Bisous!
GET IT HERE.
We were lucky enough to be in the presence of this amazing work of art for our Spring Accessories Showcase segment shoot last week (more on that soon enough…) and understandably, we were all drooling. And more than just a little bit.
Reed Krakoff has been at the helm of Coach for ages, guiding its (very successful) rebranding from a once art-house luxury leather company to… well, the giant that it is today. It’s little surprise that the designer understands the importance of great details, and with his Punk Boxer Bag he brings together all of our favorite contrasting colors and textures from the runway.
Defined structure, buttersoft leather, metallic, canvas, exotic, black, white. The result is almost overwhelming, but for me it feels more like fashion at its best: a fabulously overstated piece of art you’ll doubtfully ever want to put down.
Saks Fifth Avenue, Prudential Center
800 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02199
P | (617) 262-8500
Spring is here…finally. And we are actually starting to feel that tinge of…well…happiness is it? The sun is shining (who knew it still existed?) and I, for one, am ready for the concomitant Spring mix of color. Coral dress? Check. Electric blue pumps? Check. Now I just need a bit of sparkle, which brings me to…
The Anzie Trunk Show at Saks Fifth Avenue: May 5th-7th.
It’s the perfect chance to shop some Spring jewels. Anzie’s collection of colored gems serves as a build-able jewelery wardrobe that’s perfect for the casual, jeans-and-a-t-shirt every day, but can easily do double duty for eveningwear.
A few of my favorites, after the jump.
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For our FASHION FORWARD segment this past weekend, we focused on the best and brightest (quite literally) of the Resort and Spring collections. And, as a nod to these interim months, we brought you a few of our favorites from the local haunts to keep you warm until, finally, we can all shed a few layers and declare it Spring.
EDITOR AT LARGE
CHIEF FASHION CORRESPONDENT
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