Clothes-minded 

Angelina Mata debuted the spring/summer 2008 collection of her Reinvintage line at a private party on Friday, February 29 with 40 diaphanous, ’70s-influenced boho-chic looks that instantly brought to mind both sophisticated poolside cocktail parties and a more innocent, playful decade of fashion. Inspired by her childhood style icons Stevie Nicks, Carol King, Joan Baez and other great women of rock and roll, Mata says “these were all looks that I remember seeing as a child, and loved the feeling they gave — sexy, soft, romantic, a bit gypsy.” Much of the collection was devoted to halter-neck maxidresses in tissue-thin prints. Two versions, one in a mocha pin-dot and another in a brilliant lipstick red, included plunging backs and exposed shoulders, with the gowns’ long skirts rippling in a slight train behind. The effect was both breezy and deeply refined.

Additional hallmark motifs from the swinging ’70s included tunics over wide leg pants, dropped waists, handkerchief hems, and A-line pinafore or apron shapes. One of many standout ensembles was a floor-length ruffled pinafore in a vibrant green print, over a wisp of a white lace, short-sleeved blouse with a Victorian high collar — lighthearted, feminine, and easy to wear. “The pinafore/apron look is my favorite.  I wore this style with everything, over jeans, shorts,” says Mata.

In keeping with the delicate, ethereal feeling, accessories deliberately were kept to a minimum (a single skinny scarf was the only one I noted). According to Mata: “I love that these pieces stand alone so well. I wanted this collection to take us back to a time when simplicity and minimalism were a la mode. It was very important to me that this show evoke a feeling of a confident woman with the use of simple lines, soft flowing fabrics, and not a lot of accessories.”

But before you assume the collection could float away on its own, Mata “added a little
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to the whole mix” with military inspired jackets in heavier fabrics and textural trim for balance. With tight sleeves and asymmetrical openings, the jackets were a deliberate contrast to the lighter feeling dresses and blouses. The models, made up by students from the AVEDA Institute San Antonio, added an edge of their own with blowsy, messy hair (inspired by something called “the Victorian washtub” by Mata, a former hair and make up stylist herself) and deep, dark rock star eyes.

Fabrics ran the gamut, from soft creams, purples, and pinks to bright reds and greens, and from delicate eyelet lace to fiery tropical prints. This is in keeping with Mata’s Reinvintage line, which is based on the concept of recycling fabrics and notions, either vintage or belonging to other designers, into new garments. Not just a good green philosophy, this adaptive reuse keeps the price point lower than Mata’s other labels. 

Mata recently opened her own studio on South Presa to concentrate on fashion full time, and the debut of this collection both fulfills those dreams and rewards some very hard work.
Mata’s construction is, as always, impeccable (none of that Project Runway style hot-glue gun here) and the unusually high number of pieces in the collection maintained a clear, cohesive vision.

So what from the spring/summer 2008 made my must-have list? A pure white sundress constructed of various layers of mismatched vintage lace, both brightly crisp and sweetly demure. If I hadn’t recently been married (in another of
Mata’s stunning creations) it would be perfect for a romantic elopement on a beach in Mexico. Summer brides, get thee to Southtown. •


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