Clothes-Minded – Fashion Deconstruction

“Sleeted In” might have been more prescient, but organizer Abra Schnur had the, ahem, polar opposite weather in mind when she titled January 14’s fashion show at the Limelight “Snowed In.”

“My original concept was how hot January can be, and a dream of colder, more wintry weather,” said Schnur. “I asked the designers to create pieces in white, blues, and pastels, and we set the stage for a fake winter wonderland.” Perhaps Snowed In brought the Arctic blast upon us.

Amid silver tinsel, white plastic Christmas trees, and a snow-globe silhouette, local designers Agosto Cuellar, Henry De La Paz, and Paris Ann (the Vanessa Reveles line) showcased spring previews to wintry tunes spun by The Electro Chemist. Local outfit ink … cosmetics handled the frosty metallic makeup and stiff, sharp-tipped hair.

Cuellar, who happened to be working on his first wedding dress for a client, embraced the snow theme easily. “During those fittings, I kept seeing the bride’s sexy lingerie as a starting point — the glamour underneath — so I tagged the line UNWEDDED,” remarked Cuellar, co-owner of Southtown’s Jive Refried. The future bride, model Taryn, even made an appearance on the runway in a long lace corset dress. The rest of Cuellar’s collection was marked by sheer white tulle sarongs, tiny white boy shorts, and a wide range of lace, from demure eyelet to more sophisticated sequined appliqués.

De La Paz combined lots of skin with a gorgeous pale-blue jersey material, interpreted in everything from a tubular mini-dress to shoulder-grazing ruffled textile earrings, sculptures in and of themselves. The season’s ultra-hem, the bubble, was refreshingly soft in De La Paz’s work — more accidental than architectural. Reveles’s spring line already focused on white and metallics, including silver lamé, and Paris Ann found it was easy to augment her spring-weight pieces with winter-worthy accessories for the show, like the fluffy white angora cat-ear hat inspired by California artist Deth P. Sun. With very wearable silhouettes ranging from the ’20s low-waist bib-front flapper to the ’70s swingy trapeze, Reveles says her only real design consistency is in the construction. “I’m very focused on pieces being well-crafted,” she said. “I’d hate the thought of someone buying my work and it falling apart the first time it’s worn!” (This happens more than you might think with one-off creations.)

Snowed In achieved a crisp, funky, winter atmosphere, but the Limelight’s narrow stage was too cramped for a runway, let alone what could have been a much larger crowd. Let’s hope that by the time these designers preview their full spring lines, they — and the audience — have more room to shine.


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