The Marilyn Riseman Symphony Fashion Series at Brasserie Jo is a weekly fashion show that is near and dear to my heart. Marilyn was a close friend of mine and always-even in her 80’s- had her pulse on what was hot and what was not. The series of 20 shows per season started as a way to lunch and view budding local designer collections, which has brought attention to some very talented individuals. This week I am turning the spotlight on Chynna Pope.
Chynna Pope has come a long way from her fledgling beginnings at the School of Fashion Design and interning under the hand of master Roger Hinds. On Friday September 16, 2015, she featured a capsule collection, which showed 26 looks-some of the old mixed in with the new. Chynna was proud to say that because of her time spent with Roger, her very first prototypes seamlessly blended with her current work.
Backstage the atmosphere was calm and serene, not the usual frantic of some of the shows I’ve attended and hosted myself. Probably a reflection of the cool cat attitude of Chynna herself. She held her hand up to her right temple and showed me the shaved side of her head, where Pini took to her scalp with a razor just days ago. As she finished her touch up by makeup artist extraordinaire Cole McNair, she told me that she had actually consented to it, so had no regrets whatsoever.
Cole described the look as on trend-pastel tones. He used the daytime as inspiration for his makeup choice- daytime demeure. In collaboration with Chynna they decided to use pastel tones- lips nude pink (quiver), in a matte soft wash tint, blush a peachy shimmer (lovelust), and complexion illumination on the cheekbones to create a healthy glow and hydration to the skin-despite the unfriendly polar temps outside.
The girls ran back and forth from makeup to hair. Chynna enlisted master stylist Sameena Khan from Floyd’s Barbershop on Mass Ave. Sameena wanted to keep it fresh and show off the clothes by keeping the hair off of the face. She stayed on trend and did a messy, sexy, off the face look using a flat iron, teasing, twisting and body building sprays. Sounds like a workout for hair! Nonetheless, the finished product was impeccable. The models, most of whom were ice skaters, looked nothing like the pulled tight, shellacked buns you see at the Olympics, but rather serene angels with that messy, sexy swept up hair.
Chynna seemed to float around effortlessly, checking deets as her assistant asked various questions. She walked me through the collection as the models (3 ice skaters and 1 SFD student) shimmied into their first looks. The collection went from menswear inspired tuxedo shirts and pants for women-think wearing your boyfriend’s tuxedo home the morning after-to billowy, motor cross inspired gowns and kimono tops. I love fabric manipulation,” said Chynna, showing me the topstitching seen throughout her pieces. Though it is reminiscent of Catherine Maladrino, Pope stated that some of her influences were Jean Paul Gautier and the late Alexander McQueen. But more important to Chynna was the inspiration she derived from life events. Her topstitching motif was actually inspired by a motor cross race she attended in Ireland–The Scariest 500 Road Race. The riders were all wearing this leather structured topstiching, and it instantly spoke to her and ended up being the lead motif for her entire collection.
PHOTOS BY SHANNON HAWKINS