It was the best of times, it was the worst of times at the MODA: Next fashion showcase this past Tuesday night, part of the second annual San Antonio Fashion Week 2014. The packed house made it through the monsoon weather to see five of our cities most promising designers. Now, I have a great deal to say about this show, so I am going to break it down by designer and dish the deets on the highest of highs and the excruciating lows.
This Laredo native has been flagged as one to watch this year after winning the title of San Antonio Emerging Designer 2013, so I was looking forward to seeing what he brought to the table. First thing I noticed about Jose is that baby boy loves Stevie Nicks, so there was instant chemistry with my soul fire. The line itself did not strike such a chord in me, however. Not because I didn’t enjoy the majority of the line, with it’s high-low two-piece sets, sea of black fabrics, and bad-bitch leather and mesh details … it was because I felt like Jose was not pushing himself as hard as he should be creatively. You could tell there was more to him than what was being delivered. I wanted to see MORE, which in itself is simultaneously a good and bad thing rolled into one. The craftsmanship was good overall and technically it was a well-done and cohesive line that made use of interesting textures and details, but I wanted more playfulness with the shapes. As far as silhouettes went, I had seen it all before and very recently. Next time I see his line on the runway, I want to see more Cher a la “If I Could Turn Back Time” not Witches of Eastwick. 7/10
Christian Alonzo, ’91 Authentic
I have been sitting here staring at my computer for about 15 minutes just trying to think of something positive to say about Alonzo’s contemporary sportswear line. The clothing was almost exclusively black and white, with a little grey mixed in and one random pair of blue-jean shorts that didn’t make any sense next to the monochromatic palette. The clothing was basically just oversized sports jerseys and tees with the ’91 Authentic logo emblazoned in large text on the front, and in some cases right on the dong area–which may have been on purpose, but I have no idea and that in itself is not a good thing. Another thing that bothered me, aside from the lack of passion and pizzazz in the line was the blatant misogyny. The few women that were involved in the show were dressed as if to say, “It is 9am and I am currently looking for my car keys next to a ferret cage in this random guy’s house that I hooked up with last night, trying not to wake him up.” The whole women’s side was very walk-of-shamey and it made me sad. You could just tell that Alonzo is solely interested in turning a profit on uncomplicated, trendy clothing that no one will remember in 10 years time. 2/10
Valerie Perez, Verseau
I feel conflicted about Perez’s line of women’s wear for the modern 20-something. The line itself was cohesive, with a clear vision that I think could sell very well in boutiques around the U.S., but the execution was way off. This was probably the worst line for technical details. The clothes fit very poorly, fabrics gaping and draping off of the models like no other. A couple bra straps were poking out as well, which could work elsewhere, but not with this line of pretty and feminine dresses and skirt combos. The fabrics themselves looked very cheap and, in some instances, needed lining because they were completely transparent under the light and you could tell it wasn’t on purpose. All this pains me to say because I feel that Verseau has promise. I could 100-percent see women my age wearing the line to work in a casual office environment, and easily transitioning the looks from work time to happy hour. I would most definitely like to see where her line goes and I think it will be fully ready in a couple years’ time. But for now, slow and steady wins the race, and I would suggest she sit down and evaluate each individual piece and how it can be strengthened in terms of construction and utility. 4/10
Bruno Horwath, Ala Verb
Now while I may not ever find my handsome prince, I am pleased to have found my fabulous prints! Tiny ducks and various natural prints adorned this richly colored menswear line, which stepped out just this past July 2013. The fit was great across the board–except for my disdain for the saggy-front modern MC Hammer pant–and the models were giving good face. The line was a perfect balance of classic masculine cuts and fashion-forward trendiness that will surely pick up some steam with buyers in the coming months. Rich camel and blood red were kept fresh with bright mint and orange tones, preventing the looks from looking too season-specific. The only real critique I had was that I was sitting there wanting to see a bit more diversity in the accessory department: more shoulder bags, backpacks, maybe a badass printed silk scarf. Do American men wear silk scarves? They should … Bruno Horwath is one to watch in my book, and if you care at all about looking like a million bucks, you should watch him, too. 7/10
Blanquita Sullivan, Bonjour Biqui
Launched in 2012, Bonjour Biqui immediately stood out to me as a well constructed and cohesive brand. Tailored and impeccably fitted dresses with a Parisian flair gracefully stomped down the runway with elegance and sass. This was the only part of the show that I felt received a decent amount of direction from the designer as far as the models were concerned. Most of the night models were clopping about with stiff arms and a vacant look on their face, but the Bonjour Biqui girls had a little more pep in their step and the high energy worked extremely well. While I didn’t particularly consider the looks to be ultra cutting-edge, I appreciated the fact that the designer recognized where her classic strengths are and worked on improving upon them instead of faltering on the trends of tomorrow. While girly-girl frocks and colorful separates are not my personal cup of tea, I do consider myself to be utilitarian, so I was pleased to find out that many of the dresses have pockets and are REVERSIBLE. Raise the roof in the name of reversible clothes, cuz Lawd knows I hate doing laundry. All in all I was very pleased with Sullivan’s work, and if it’s not being sold in Anthropologie soon, I will be writing a stern letter to the company. 9/10
Even though the show had it’s snags, I still had a great time. Every designer put their best foot forward to show what they are proud of and that is a quality not many people possess. Risking the disapproval of an audience is a commendable attribute in and of itself. I look forward to seeing what these designers bring to Fashion Week SA next year and I look forward to Tony Harris becoming a household name in the fashion world, because he is doing great things for our city.