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
She had it all, her collection on covers of Vogue and Vanity Fair, celebrities hitting the scene in her designs, thirty+ stores carrying her first season collection. New York-based fashion designer Gemma Kahng was as powerful as her quirky interpretation of power suits that her name became synonymous with across the globe…That was the ’90s.
Kahng learned quickly that in fashion “one day you are in and the next day you are out,” as Heidi Klum would say on Project Runway.
Now, over a decade later, Kahng is breathing new life back into her name as a designer after overcoming the tolls of divorce, plummeting finances and an unforgiving industry. Like a phoenix from the ashes, she has come back from obscurity with a new look and attitude that demands well deserved attention.
Continue reading »
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.
For all you awash in the NYFW hubbub, I admonish you to stop for a second, take a cool sip of your diet coke, and give a little thanks to all of our designer ancestors. Specifically Giorgio di Sant’Angelo. Potentially one of the most cultured and well-traveled designers that ever were, Giorgio di Sant’Angelo successfully incorporated a mind-blowingly eclectic set of influences that even Comme des Garçons would balk at.
He is also the genius that brought jersey fabric into wide use for outerwear, praising the sensuality of the form of the body. “Silhouette as we’ve known it, as something imposed by fashion is finished. The only silhouette for 1971 is the body,” he stated. He was known as the wild child of fashion, bringing vibrant colors, ethnic influences, and massive clusters of jewelry into wide circulation.
Giorgio di Sant’Angelo was born in Italy and grew up in Brazil and Argentina. He eventually returned to Italy to study architecture and industrial design. Later on, he focused on art, ceramics and sculpture in Spain, boasting Picasso as one of his professors. Following that, he did a brief stint in California doing animation, then relocated to New York City and began freelancing. He soon caught the attention of Vogue editor Diana Vreeland with his unique and bizarre Lucite jewelry. The rest was history. Giorgio di Sant’Angelo brought hippie into high fashion by wrapping his models in layers and swaths of fabric and adorning them with the most brilliant of accessories. This is truly a case of artist-turned-designer, a man with a varicolored vision that ended up being most successfully expressed through dress.
He was quoted as saying, “I am not a fashion designer but an artist who works in fashion—an engineer of color and form.” This is clear when one spends a little time with his work, there is a painterly quality to his clothing compositions—they don’t exist merely to flatter the body but also to bring the mind into the persona the clothes create.
If you are going to be in Phoenix any time soon, make an effort to check out a retrospective of his design work, opening the 17th of September and running until February 12th, 2012. More details HERE.
Exhibit A: this sleeveless draped silk dress with contrasting panels. It gives me the same variety of tickled excitement I experience when staring at a Mondrian or a Franz Kline, and that isn’t easy to come by. Not as easy as I’d like it to be, anyway.
This dress balances its bright IKB (that’s International Klein Blue for those of you who aren’t art freaks) base with its black and white geometric accents in such perfect ratios that one thing becomes immediately obvious: you and your stylish cronies (art freaks or not) will be moonstruck with a single glance.
Not exactly a surprise considering the design duo at Ohne Titel have also collaborated with one of my favorite artists, Tauba Auerbach, AND they happen to be up for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award this year…
GET IT HERE.
EDITOR AT LARGE
CHIEF FASHION CORRESPONDENT
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