Dallas designer Abi Ferrin is a gift to the city. Despite her success, prolific seasonal collections, philanthropic work, and traveling, she’s incredibly accessible. She appears at events, galas, and fashion shows around town, she’s a cheerleader for the South Side on Lamar community (see her favorite cocktail below), and she has managed keep her South Side studio open to shoppers, who can snag an appointment with Ferrin when her schedule permits. Then there’s the clothing, of course: colorful, boldly patterned, draped and ruched for ladylike curves, and full of movement for girls on the go from errand running to cocktail parties. We took a look in the Dallas designer’s handbag a year ago, but we thought it was time to touch base on a few of her current favorite things.
(1) Cocktail: “The SouthSide at Cedar Socials–I ask for the ginger version. It’s a bespoke cocktail, a light refreshing alternative to a mojito, but very similar with the muddled mint leaves.”
(2) Shoe: “On my ever-growing wish list: Lucy Choí London’s Wysteria orange and blue heel.”
(3) Lip color: “Dior Addict Gloss.”
(4) Workout: “I love yoga! Tsada Yoga at South Side on Lamar conveniently is my favorite.”
(5) Spring thing: “Black and white. Full, monochromatic looks that have varying layers and unexpected details, but all within the context of those colors–or the two colors combined in a look.”
After Thursday’s finale, there is a Project Runway-sized hole in my heart. (Yes, I’ll admit I still watch it. I just can’t say no to Tim Gunn.)
So as a PR fan, you can imagine my excitement attending last Friday night’s third annual IIDA CRE8 Fashion Show, a real-life make-it-work moment. In case you’ve never heard of the event–and didn’t catch Thursday’s segment on D: The Broadcast–here’s the scoop: Participating local interior design groups are given eight days to design and create a couture garment out of architectural materials.
This year’s theme was the zodiac, and for each astrological sign, two looks walked the runway–one “good,” celebrating the sign’s positive traits, and one “bad,” reflecting their darker attributes. Bad may not be the best word though, because I thought all the supposedly evil designs looked unmistakably cool and chic. But I digress.
I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse backstage before the show, where I got to see some of the projects up close. I was totally blown away by the designers’ creative use of their materials. We’re talking entire dresses made out of vinyl wall covering and corsets covered in tile. One of my personal favorite looks, Libra Bad (see above), was constructed from carpet tiles and laser-cut Marmoleum, an all-natural flooring.
Ishi provided the soundtrack for the evening, playing their unique blend of folksy, electronica-inspired tunes. And let me tell you, the crowd loved it. Lead singer JT Mudd brought some serious dance moves as he shimmied up and down the runway in his spandex leggings and bejeweled marching band-esque hat. Even after the winning looks were announced and the models returned backstage, guests hung around the Granada for an extended performance from the local musicians.
Jessica Mitzner is a ShopTalk intern.
Factory Girl just got cooler. The vintage shop, owned by husband and wife duo, photographer Scogin Mayo and stylist Heather Mayo, have upped their art game again. In addition to the racks of vintage designer gems, rotating art exhibits, and updated online store with Mayo’s beautiful photography, the team has partnered with local, multi-media artist Lizzy Wetzel. The multimedium artist produces a collection of “small hand made totems“ under the name, Snake Oil, a line of felt sculptures and hand-dyed garments. The collaboration with Factory Girl introduces new hand-dyed tees, tunics, dresses, and kaftans in silk, bamboo, and cotton jersey, ranging from $75 to $450.
According to a press release, the color palette is influenced by the West Texas landscape, as Wetzel says she’s currently dyeing the collection in Marfa, where the desert colors lend a hand for inspiration.
The line hits the store floor at Factory Girl for the first time on Saturday, April 27 during the trunk show, where you’ll find 30-40 of the new, one-of-a-kind pieces displayed. (More will be available by order.) Both shop owners and Wetzle will be on hand to present the new line, and sangria will be served. Valet will be provided out front.
Where: Factory Girl
When: Saturday, April 27, noon to 6 pm
Verum, a new local unisex clothing line, launched a few weeks ago, but I finally got to look (and touch and feel) the pieces last week. I’m impressed. The spring collection, made up of only three pieces–a hoodie, a tee, and button-up, all made in the US–showcases what will be the line’s signature details: leather trim and exposed zippers. Co-owner Reham Choudhury (along with partners Rey Banaban and Haris Fazlani), who brought the collection to our offices on Friday, calls the aesthetic “dark” and “monochromatic,” a look he modeled after his own taste. Although Choudhury doesn’t have a design school background, he’s been tweaking, altering, and creating his own clothing for years. When friends wanted copies of his creations, Choudhury thought broader scale. But quality, he says, is key: “The moment I go cheaper, I’m going off track.”
Splashy branding isn’t the point either. You won’t find find obnoxious logos interfering with the clean lines, but you will find limited edition numbers sewn subtly into each item. Currently, production is small, so each garment is special and the number designates which piece you own. Spring, for example, included three designs and only 36 pieces were produced in total. (The sweatshirt above is marked with a black embroidered 5/12, marking it as the fifth of twelve hoodies made in initial production.) It’s like couture fashion with a streetwear twist. Oh, and crazy good prices. The python skin pocket tee with zippers is $75, the button-up with leather sleeves and trim is only $125, and the hoodie is a steal at $250. As you can guess, spring was devoured and sold out immediately, but as only a developing fashion business will allow, you can send the team an email with your size and have a custom piece made. email@example.com or 214-729-6487
If black isn’t your thing, stay tuned for fall 2013. Choudhury spilled that the line will made up of solid white.
There’s a new line of handbags launching next week, and you can be first to get your pretty paws on them. Kelly White, an Austin girl with a background in graphic design and public relations, heads up Kelly Wynne Handbags, which began as a simple affection for accessories.
“You know those dreams people have growing up that seem really unobtainable, and are most likely just a dream?” White says. “This was mine.”
Not anymore. Becoming a handbag designer is now a full-blown reality with Kelly Wynne spring 2013, all crafted in the United States, already up for grabs. It’s a well-rounded collection of leather bags in a range of sizes, from clutch to tote, and colors that run from basic neutrals to seasonal shades of orange in a simulated stingray print.
“I wanted to start a fresh and contemporary handbag line with a mid-range price point inspired by the stingray look. I love stingray, but it can be very pricey. I started developing unique printed leathers that mimic exotics in a luxe and eye-catching way. There are two printed styles in my first collection, the Lizard which is comprised of repeating dots and the Serpentine which is a splattered look, both on printed suede.”
The spring collection is a small “exclusive” collection, and once the bags are sold out they’re gone, so if you’re interested in making a purchase, reach out now. The website is under construction until May 1, but you can see the collection up close and personal next week at the Kelly Wynne Dallas trunk show hosted by Haven in the cozy State and Allen neighborhood. Happening Tuesday, April 16 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and valet included.
When: Tuesday, April 16 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Getting the perfectly polished Kate Middleton into your designs must feel the ultimate celebrity victory. It has long been a goal of local designer Abi Ferrin’s, and it has happened. See the Duchess above, sporting Abi Ferrin’s leggings during a ski trip in early March.
I found this out during a recent visit to Abi’s South Side on Lamar studio, where I also got to see the spring 2013 collection and a sneak peek of fall. The spring lineup consists of Abi’s signature stretchy fabrics in bold prints and new shades and floaty sheer dresses and tops. I’m particularly fond of this flirty Honey dress with a cozy jersey body and textured chevron sleeves.
Fall is equally texture-focused with silky patterned dresses, the trademark Nikki dress in two-toned jersey, and leather embellishments.
One of my favorite finds from all of last year is Emy Mack. Helmed by Emily Mack Jamison, SMU grad-turned shoe designer, this footwear brand turns out exquisitely made heels, sandals, and flats in classic shapes and/or with gorgeous Swarovski crystal ornamentation. Her latest collection has launched online, and there are already trunk shoes in the works for spring. In the meantime, enjoy a couple of the spring slippers:
I told you around Valentine’s Day that one of interior designer Heather Asbury’s “Gems of India” bracelets hit my wish list. Today, I had the opportunity to sit down with Asbury and see her designs in person, and I am totally, full throttle, over-the-moon smitten with her stunning jewels, which she designs over here, using materials from India, Africa, and Turkey, and are assembled in India and Dallas. They’re truly even more beautiful up close. It doesn’t hurt that Asbury is a gem herself. She’ll even make house calls to talk about customizing pieces like her horn cuffs (which are sourced from animal materials that are naturally shed). And each piece is handcrafted–check out these ornate details. Relatively speaking, her pieces are affordable compared to the fashion market, but they still run in the thousands, so expect an investment piece that can be a future family heirloom. (Surely, my future children will want that ring below.)
I loved the concept of Dallas-based Hari Mari right away: the eco-friendly reprocessed rubber, foam, and biodegradable hemp make-up, the financial donation to children’s hospitals per pair sold, and the recycling incentive (bring your old pair back, get 15 percent off your new pair), but after trying on a pair, the deal was sealed. They’re truly the most comfortable sandals I’ve ever worn with the cushy footbed and thick, soft straps. One caviat: the white footbed gets dirty quickly. (To clean, Hari Mari recommends using a soapy towel or towel with Shout.) The new Scouts collection hitting stores next week, however, has an “earthen-tone” hemp foot bed with khaki colored soles which should alleviate some of the dark footprint problem. The straps come in campground-inspired hues such as bright yellow, sea green, pink, navy, red and nude for ladies and include army green, sky blue, and neon green for guys. Rolling onto shelves next week, find Hari Mari’s Scouts collection at Luke’s Locker, Original Octane, The Biz, and these other retailers.
We just talked about Kira Plastinina, Russian fashion designer and SMU girl, opening her first Lublu boutique here in Dallas this spring. I mentioned her florid spring collection, full of color (notably her neon yellow floor-length frock), but her autumn collection tops it. The fall 2013 campaign was shot by Tommy Ton, famous street style photographer, and features our own Jessica Olssen Nowitzki, Goss-Michael Foundation associate director and wife of Dirk Nowitzki. Also, making an appearance is beloved Man Repeller, Leandra Medine, in a print I’m head-over-heels in love with. I need that full, striped floral print skirt.
Dallas-turned-Austin designer Amber Perley of Pearl Southern Couture is making her big TV debut on the next season of NBC’s second season of Fashion Star. Similarly to Project Runway, contestants are mentored by fashion heavyweights–in this case, Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie, and John Varvatos–and compete to have their designs selected. In a twist from the original fashion design competition show, the judges are actually Saks, Macy’s, and Express, who will actually pick up the clothing collections, which are then available to viewers and customers for purchase.
I’m a proud pink hater, but something has happened this morning. I perused Dallas designer Nha Khanh’s spring 2013 RTW collection and fell for two looks. Hard. In pink. What is happening?
Look at that gorgeous dress with a ladylike cinched waist, pretty tulle, and edgy cutouts to combat a conservative sleeve. Swoon. And those shorts. Those beautifully tailored, high-waisted shorts. I’m in love. Perhaps it is a new year.
New year = getting healthy = more workouts = shopping for new workout gear. Check this out: KaMIT Sport is a local sportswear line packing comfortable athletic-meets-lifestyle wear that is fashioned to slenderize.
Dorris Bogus, the brand’s designer, ACE-certified group fitness trainer, and finalist in 2011′s Texas Next Top Designer competition, uses eco-friendly fabrics (like organic cotton and bamboo) that wick away moisture along with slimming details like dark panels and feel-good roominess for hiding muffin tops and other embarrassing lumps, bumps, and unsightly spots. Highlights of the collection include sexy open-back tees, waist-producing tanks, tribal-trimmed pants, and yoga wraps so buttery soft you’ll want to wear them everywhere. I had the good fortune to be sent a handful of samples, which I dispersed among a few family members for the full perpective of all ages. Though a couple designs have superfluous details like belled, fitted sleeves and cowl collars (which my mom loved), I can fully vouch for the slimming, comfy-coziness of Bogus’ KaMIT collection. I’m also a firm believer that a good workout outfit can inspire you to kick-off your best fitness regimen yet. It always works for me. Shop the collection online.