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
Mary Katrantzou is a London-based designer who has been making waves since her début runway collection for F/W 2009. The attention is due largely to the virtuosity of her printmaking, but it is also due to her evocative sense of silhouette and proportion, that variety of exaggerated shapes by and large restricted to the haute couturiers.
Such statement-making pieces have quickly become the darlings of both fashion editors and street-style-stars alike (Ms. Anna Dello Russo wore Katrantzou to Chanel’s F/W ’11 show, and has donned myriad other Katrantzou duds…). The editorials featuring her work (ranging from the quite obvious to the more surrealistic) often complement her maximalist tendencies rather than juxtapose them. Yes, I realize florals v. industrial spaces is hyperoverdone (in as much as it was parodied in The Devil Wears Prada), but there’s a sleekness to her silhouette that is at odds with the prints, and I don’t think that particular tension has been duly explored.
Opining aside, the pieces are, as singular expressions of an artistic spirit, beautiful beyond reason. Even better? Buying one such dress is a near-finite guarantee that you’ll never be caught wearing the same thing as some other woman, unless you keep the company of the aforementioned Ms. Anna Dello Russo. (Editor’s note: if you do, please call me, immediately. Let’s be friends. Kthx.)
In these times of watered-down designer collections pandering to the last dollar, how often can you really say that something you bought is unique and different?
This dress will do the trick quite nicely. An investment piece, for sure, but look at it this way: when you tire of wearing it, you can hang it on the wall. Art, meet Fashion. Fashion, meet Art.
GET IT HERE.
Maybe it’s this New England weather, but of late I’ve been more and more reverse homesick: pining for my shortlived home, that city of angels, Los Angeles. Beyond the obvious (In-N-Out, celebrity sightings, jaw-droppingly overdesigned outdoor shopping malls, the endless stream of ‘interesting’ tourists, kitschy wax museums, and, you know, those gorgeous beaches), L.A. also has a trove of hidden gems of an altogether different variety.
One of my favorites? The Annenberg Space for Photography, a “cultural destination dedicated to exhibiting both digital and print photography in an intimate environment.” Located on the Avenue of the Stars in West LA, the space is sleek, modern, compact, and impeccably curated. And with an ever-growing list of generous donors, admission is completely free.
It’s a rare sort of venue, where both the beautifully raw and the brutally real collide and communicate. A collection that challenges perspectives and invites dialogue. The exhibition currently on display, Beauty Culture, was described by Harper’s Bazaar as “a seminal examination of photography’s role in capturing and defining notions of modern female beauty and how these images profoundly influence our lives in both celebratory and disturbing ways.”
My heart is all a-flutter at the thought of an impromptu California vacation. Sipping on some of Urth Caffe’s boba tea, having a chunky bite of that food of the gods, an In-N-Out burger, taking an easy stroll to the ASP, and wrapping up the day with feet-dunking and night fishing by the Santa Monica pier…
Shall we book our flights together and get a group discount?
EDITOR AT LARGE
CHIEF FASHION CORRESPONDENT
Anna Paula Goncalves
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