Fashion’s Living Canvas: A Recap

Guests anxiously awaiting the next look. (photography by William Neal)

If you missed Fashion’s Living Canvas last week, allow me to fill you in on what you missed. Pink champagne, six emerging local designers and their creations, a runway show emceed by LeeAnne Locken and Steve Kemble, a live auction, and an after party at Gossip Bar. (And a black silk trench with a pleated black and white back that I can’t stop thinking about.) Jump for full recap.

(clockwise from top) Peacock body painting with Jesse Thaxton design, Society Language designs, models preparing for the show, live hair and makeup, IZAVEL design, and body painting with IZAVEL design (photography by William Neal)

A crowd of familiar faces from the Dallas social circuit, a catwalk showcasing local designers, and emcees to keep the crowd entertained: those seem to be the key ingredients for a successful Dallas soiree, and Fashion’s Living Canvas had them covered. Pink champagne was served to guests upon entrance at the Hilton Anatole (the key to my heart) and beauty stations lined the runway. To fill up the time waiting for the show to begin, guests were able to witness “live transformations” as the makeup and hair crew took models from bare faced to catwalk ready, a routine typically reserved for makeup artists, designers, models, and those lucky enough to sneak backstage. When guests finally took their seats, emcees were ready. Steve Kemble was armed with pizzaz (plus enough glitter on his pants to rival Ke$ha) and LeeAnne Locken looked sweet as a cupcake in her floor-length pastel gown. The long runway that sliced through the Hilton Anatole’s water garden was long, offering a good view to every patron and lots of time for analyzing the locally created attire. (No model fell in the ponds, either.)

The collections of four clothing and two jewelry designers were under the spotlights (and dozens of photographers’ paparazzi flashes). IZAVEL by Isabel Varela included wearable knit cocktail dresses, office-to-happy hour ensembles with interesting details, and drapey tops. The signature black and white crackle print of the collection was placed on trousers, tops, and on the pleated back of a gorgeous black silk trenchcoat. Melancholic Designs by Jesse Thaxton blends the designer’s costume creation experience with modern practicality. She seems aims for a structural look with higher collars and multiple fabric layers for dimension. Although I could have done without what appeared to be a Moulin Rouge-inspired corset dress, I really dug a heavy, pin-striped, high-low midi skirt in dark taupe. Very wearable but statement making. Danh Ta’s aesthetic is the most in line with my own. Basics like tailored cream tops were paired with leather minis. Structured shoulder dresses were done in suede. A fairy princess dress in lavender satin with puffy shoulders threw me off, but the previous mod-shaped dresses in a sleeveless plum and long-sleeve periwinkle were the ones that stuck with me. Society Language by Prashi Shah dazzled with show-stopping fabrics. Colors popped and sequined blazed in classic shapes with a twist, like a cocktail dress with a scoop back, a one-shoulder frock with a mini ruched skirt, slit up the center, and a tiered, empire waist maxi with ombre layers of sea green. Jewelry, covered by Chelsea Bond of Red-i and Becca Jett’s Haute in Hong Kong, was occasionally hard to spot on the runway, but an auction highlighted pieces post-catwalk show. Each designer’s segment ended with a body-painted piece. Garments that accompanied the beautiful body paint of Sharon Hodges were unwearable and costume-y, but I’m pretty sure eyeing the paint job was more the point. Hodges, a local contemporary painter, turned the models into living, breathing, strutting murals, and the crowd went crazy over them. Particularly, the peacock. (It was my favorite too.) Of course, in typical Dallas fashion, there was a philanthropic element (with the Fashionistas on the receiving end) and an after party for patrons to keep sipping at Gossip Bar. If this didn’t get you caught up enough, I’m sure, based on the turnout, there will be another Fashion’s Living Canvas next year.