Dawn Mellon’s Local Fashion Talent Report: Mario Alberto Gallegos

A model walks the New York Fashion Week runway in a design by local designer Mario Alberto Gallegos.

Fall fashions are hitting the racks of local stores. The spring shows at New York Fashion Week are hitting the internet. We’re in a fashion state of mind. Today Dawn Mellon brings us a profile of local fashion designer Mario Alberto Gallegos. Stay tuned for more in this series highlighting local talent.

By Dawn Mellon

It took a wild adventure to Oz involving a lion, a scarecrow, a tin man, and a host of other strange and somewhat scary characters for Dorothy to realize “there’s no place like home.” While I do fancy her ruby-encrusted shoes, I (unlike the Kansas native) didn’t have to leave the Big D on a flying bicycle with my beloved dog in the front basket, nor did I have to travel to the Big Apple for New York Fashion Week to realize and enjoy our community’s local fashion talent.

For example: Fifth-generation Mexican-American and Dallas-native Mario Alberto Gallegos, who just returned from New York on Monday after showing his Spring/Summer 2014 collection for the first time. By the way, it’s the first time this collection of gowns and evening wear has graced the runway and the first time Mario was asked to participate in New York Fashion Week. The newcomer was invited by a fashion scout who attended the RUNWAY fashion show Mario participated in earlier this year in Dallas.

“Exciting, scary, overwhelming, but, ultimately, satisfying,” are the words Mario uses to describe his first show in New York.  Then he smiles and adds, “It was crazy!”

What does the young designer hope to gain from his New York debut? At this point, he simply wants to be known and to make his mark on the fashion map. Well, Mario may have already done that last year when D Magazine named him one of the “Top 5 Up and Coming Designers” after an impressive showing of his cocktail dresses and evening wear at the Pin Show, an independent fashion runway event.

Looking back for a moment, Mario says both of his parents have nurtured the artist within him. As a child and throughout his teenage years, he took art classes at local recreation centers and eventually at Southern Methodist University and the Dallas Museum of Art. However, it is his mother Beatrice, with her family’s long history in the apparel industry, who he credits for initiating his interest in fashion, and perhaps–most important–teaching her son the value of tenacity and self-confidence. “She is a strong woman,” attests Mario,”who has shown me that there is never a bar too high to climb.”

Interestingly, Mario considered entering the priesthood (hoping to one day become a saint), and later toyed with the idea of becoming an archeologist before attending El Centro’s Fashion Design Program. While he may not be a man of the cloth or a modern-day Indiana Jones, Mario derives much of his design aesthetic and inspiration from religion and history. In fact, his Spring/Summer 2014 collection “celebrates the goddess in every woman,” while his current Fall/Winter Collection is inspired by the fusion of current U.S. cultures and the future blend of all cultures – “one unified American tribe.” He looks up to Cristobal Balenciaga, Charles James, Eiko Ishioka, and Yohji Yamamoto, and considers the fashion icon Jan Strimple his fairy Godmother.

To see his collections or to have a piece custom designed by Mario, you can find him and his partner, Michael Wysong Crigger, at the Petit Atelier located at the corner of Commerce Street and Walton Street in Deep Ellum. I recently visited Mario and Michael at their new studio and was impressed not only by the beautiful pieces they were creating, but by their desire to share their talents with others.  In fact, the Petit Atelier is a studio AND an artist’s commune–a place where you can take a class and learn the ins and outs of designing, pattern making, and sewing or, simply to find some great fabric remnants and notions.

You can keep track of the fashion shows in which Mario will be participating this fall and into the spring by following him on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. I have a feeling that “following” Mario will become easier and easier as I believe his career is on the brink of exploding.
Dawn Mellon is a Dallas-based fashion stylist and mother of two teenagers, Andrew and Erica, known for effortlessly dressing some of our fair city’s loveliest ladies for all manner of tony appearances. Over the next few months, the fashion maestro will be joining us here on D Moms daily to share her expertise on how to build a killer wardrobe and don it with confidence.