I had such a great time this afternoon at Catherine Schuller’s Runway The Real Way Fashion Brunch Mad Hatter Tea Party at Super Nova Novotel in Times Square. I’ll be posting more about the event, but I had to do a quick blog about a great surprise I had.
So I’m watching one of the great runway shows and I see the models wearing these amazing blinged-out sunglasses. Hmmm… I think to myself, those look like the sunglasses Sofia Davis wears. Sure enough, when the show is over, Catherine brings out Sofia to talk about her glasses that were featured in the show.
If you spend time around the New York/New Jersey fashion scene, you know the legendary Sofia Davis, Editor-in-Chief of Fashion Avenue News, a luxury brand best known for its namesake magazine. The fabulous Ms. Davis is often found sitting front row center at many of the best fashion events in the area and is known as a major taste maker on the scene. Her trademark bling sunglasses are as fabulous and distinctive as she is.
And now she’s selling her own collection! After seeing them on the runway I spoke with her after the show and was able to buy one of her sunglasses on the spot! Here’s an amazing photo of me with Sofia and supermodel Avadora Mimouni. Is this photo fabulous?! Yaaaaasssssssss!
Sofia said, “I’m so excited to be showing my Bling Darling Couture Sunglass collection at Catherine’s event. People have really taken to the Bling and I’m honored to be invited to participate in so many shows, with fabulous couture designers such as Conrad Booker.”
Yes, Conrad is one of my favorites as well!
Want your own Bling Darling Couture Sunglasses by Sofia Davis? Watch for them on the runway this spring and summer, and you can buy them online now at www.etsy.com/shop/BlingDarling!
Catherine Schuller’s Fashion Brunches are becoming amazing showcases to discover talented new designers, so check them out monthly and join us!
I loved attending my first Philly Fashion Week in February. It was an amazing event that the producers did an incredible job at putting together. The show started off on a high-note by exciting the crowd, which included the legendary creator of New York Fashion Week, Fern Mallis, by opening up with the innovative and unique creations of designer Conrad Booker.
As you’ll see from the gallery below, Booker offers a fresh and challenging view of fashion, from what it should look like, how it should fit, and even what it’s made of. It was my first time seeing his designs, and I’ve since learned that he works in several different fields, including architecture and interior design. He also works as a muralist, and even his window displays have won awards.
His pieces are so big and bold on the runway, so I asked him about how be selects the materials that he uses.
“I started using alternative materials and methods based on affordability,” he told me. “Francesca Reveitti, the owner of Follicle Studios, approached me after seeing a show of mine about creating clothes for a hair competition she was entering. During our meeting, I pointed to a lamp I had made from skewers in regard to what might be an interesting material to use for a bodice. I soon started going to Loews to source materials for my projects. Now it is the first place I go when I start designing.”
I also asked him about how he constructs his unique styles.
“Many of the methods I use for construction are methods I’ve developed in working with many of the different materials. Over time, you develop techniques that you are familiar with and you adapt them based on which one best fits the situation. I desire to use ordinary materials and elevate them so they are perceived as couture. The end product is very refined, yet monumental.”
Philly Fashion Week featured so many incredible designers and a host of remarkable and memorable styles. It takes a truly special collection to make an impression on the audience, especially at the beginning of a three-hour show.
“Yes, my design style is very bold and fearless. I attribute it to two things, my training as an architect and living in a loft for many years. As an architect, I was trained at how to put a building together using different materials and how structure can affect the shape and style of a building. These principals I apply to my fashion designs.
“Many people ask me: was it difficult to go from being an architect to a designer. My response is ‘no.’ I truly believe that the “greatest piece of architecture is the human body”. After graduating from Temple University, I lived for many years in a loft at 13th and Callowhill Streets that had extremely high ceilings. Creating art for my walls, I discovered that I needed to make the pieces very large. As a result, I became accustomed to working this way. Plus, the women I imagine wearing my clothes and bags are powerful women who are strong and desire attention.”
Wearing any of Conrad Booker’s pieces would be a definite attention-grabber. He presented a lot of looks during this show and I only wanted to see more and more. I asked Conrad if he enjoyed his PFW experience and what was coming up for him.
“The response to my first Philly Fashion Week collection has been incredible and positive. I look forward to next February 2018 as I showcase my second collection, which is in development as we speak.”
I can’t wait to see it! Follow Conrad Booker on Instagram @conrad_booker and we’ll all be seeing a lot of his work in the months ahead.
My girl Samantha Grandy shines as one of the twins in this stunning presentation.
The highlight and finale of his collection. According to Conrad’s Instagram, this piece was his winning submission in the Costume Drama’s Plastic Category in Asheville, North Carolina. The dress is made with about 35,000 black plastic straws and topped with Plexiglass that’s been heated, cut and bent.
Watch Conrad Booker’s finale walk to close out his memorable collection.
Atlantic City Fashion Week Season 10, you saved the best for last! I have watched John Leon’s amazing work for a couple of years, and I had been eagerly anticipating my first chance to see one of his collections on the runway, and these spectacular bridals did not disappoint. His breathtaking 2017 Bridal Collection was the finale of the couture show and it was an absolute show-stopper.
After the show, I had an opportunity to ask him about why now is the right time to launch his bridal collection.
“I believe in taking your time and releasing your art work when you naturally feel it’s the right time,” John told me. “It’s been three years since the last time I showcased a new collection. I did not want to release a collection because I had to, I wanted to release a collection I feel strong about. I need to emotionally feel a connection with a collection. A purpose.”
And what were some of his goals and inspirations behind the new collection?
“This process started a few months ago when I began sketching a few designs here and there. Not enough designs for a full collection, just a few. The full collection came to me when I went to last year’s Philadelphia Flower Show at The Convention Center. I saw this beautiful presentation of lavender hydrangea and chrysanthemum, ivory peony and ivory roses with black tips, black vines and twigs and white orchids behind this soft gray mountain-like texture background. It was absolutely stunning! I took some pictures, went home and designed the entire 10-piece collection in just a few hours.
“I knew from the beginning that I wanted to take this collection into a more modern direction. Bridal wear for the modern bride. The cuts are new, it’s a little more relaxed. Not so traditional. I believe that the modern bride wants to look elegant, sophisticated, confident and weightless on her big day, and not feel heavy in a big Cinderella-like gown. I wanted to break the boundaries by making bridal soft, elegant, modern and sexy. That’s the JNL Woman.”
Why did he want to debut his new collection for the modern bride at Atlantic City Fashion Week?
“I decided to do it at ACFW because I’ve been doing it for years. I first started showcasing at their shows when they were doing Pink Fashion Week for breast cancer a few years back. Because I’ve been showcasing for ACFW for so long, Lamont and Jeana Bowling have become close friends. I’ve also designed many looks for Jeana throughout the years and because of it, I’ve designed custom for many more.”
I asked John how he wants his clients to feel when wearing his clothes.
“Many things I’ve heard my clients say are “I’ve never felt so beautiful,” “This is the best dress I have ever worn,” “It’s fitted and comfortable.” Cut is very important in a garment of any size. You can easily give someone shape, a waist, transform their body. I want my clients to feel confident and happy.”
And is there something different that goes into dressing a bride?
“As far as brides go, it’s a whole different story. For brides, you need to bring it! My goal as a designer for the bridal client is to make them feel light and weightless on their special day. I want to take away all the tulle and corsets, complicated closers and make it comfortable, flirty, sophisticated and timeless. I made a lace jumpsuit with a five-yard train attached to the shoulders. It’s sexy, but at the same time it’s daring and fresh! You never think jumpsuit for bridal but that’s the new modern bride. Traditional is boring! Out with the old and in with the new!”
I wish I knew John when I was looking for my wedding dress six years ago. Then again, John told me he could do these in any color, so maybe it’s time for a second wedding! Your work is absolutely amazing, John, and I have no doubt that you’re going to be a major player in the bridal space in the years to come.
Here are some of the looks from this breathtaking collection on the ACFW runway. You can learn more at John Leon Fashion Designswww.johnjnlleon.com.
Model Andrea Graham.
Model Samantha Grandy is looks magical this magnificent piece, one of the highlights of the show and a crowd favorite.