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Best of Fashion X Dallas: Stars

THE BEST OF FASHION X DALLAS 2015: NIGHT 1

DANIEL ESQUIVEL Austin's beloved fashion jester and PROJECT RUNWAY alumnus DANIEL ESQUIVEL opened NIGHT 1, called STARS, which was all about Project Runway participants. Now, I love Daniel, having first written about him in my AUSTIN CHRONICLE column back in 2002, I think. He was one of the sort of nameless Austin designers quietly working on his own, like all Austin designers did before GAIL CHOVAN and I polarized the disconnected designers of Austin into the beginning of Austin's fashion scene. Not industry mind you, but scene. Though accomplished, he really began to blossom and catch the public eye on Project Runway. Now, he is a staple of both FXD and FXA - one of FX founder MATT SWINNEY's most reliable pet designers.

When womenswear designer Esquivel showed at FXA last April, he debuted his most sophisticated collection ever, F/W 2015-16. The stark black and white prints paired with blazing red, and the all-black evening ensembles, the more monochromatic prints, the pencil skirts, cropped printed pantsuits, and the dazzling eveningwear in black-on-black, including that divine hairy black fabric that begs to be touched, and the b&w retro LOVE dress.

Since then, he ventured into menswear and launched his own website DanielEsquivelDesigns.com. What we saw in last Thursday's show was a retread of the womenswear - presumably F/W 2015-16 in season, paired with his new menswear which is clearly S/S 2016. The Love theme was carried through into the menswear this time, on trunk shorts (or what women refer to as boy shorts).

The lines and shapes of Esquivel's menswear is sexy and flattering, though it certainly didn't push the envelope too much. Aside from the b&w Love theme, his menswear also delved into the prints that Daniel is so expert at. In last April's FXA, we saw the aforementioned womenswear, but that collection also included decidedly McQUEEN-WESTWOOD-ish plaids. The plaid had now morphed into the menswear overlayed with a

leopard-print. Intriguing but not entirely successful. On various fabrics, the prints reflected differently, but seemed to be very washed out and missing Esquivel's typical drama. Daniel himself dresses amusingly and eccentrically and I was sorry we didn't see more of his personal style in the menswear. We'll see how the menswear develops, but clearly his strong suit is womenswear.

SEAN KELLY This year's Project Runway winner SEAN KELLY, whose company is called SERIES (TheSeries.co), blew away Project Runway's presentation at NYFW. All fringe and draped silks, Kelly has now evolved into far more architectural shapes, and was the best of the rest of the conceptual collections of the Project Runway alumni. Asymmetry, clean lines and luxe fabrics were his signature for FXD:Stars.

Opening with a somewhat dodgy group of ensembles that incorporated a very open-weave fishnet mesh, some of the looks were more successful than others. Ranging from rather slutty to chic and sophisticated, Kelly did indeed explore the idea thoroughly. Since we are focusing on the best of FXD, we've chosen to show one example that we felt worked best. As he segued into BALENCIAGA-ish form and structure, Kelly displayed his true mastery - that which will undoubtedly carry him into the pantheon of the gods.

Once again, making a sharp turn (Kelly is nothing if not full of surprises), the designer took us into an ethereally and heavenly group of soft, sheer fabrics embellished with handsewn tendrils of ostrich feathers in whites and pale blues. Dreamy and romantic, the group was the antithesis the first group, while carrying forward with some of the color palette of the second group. Floating and drifting down the runway like the first flurry of autumn snow, Kelly unquestionably ruled the night and has a dazzling future. Bon voyage, Sean!

Visit www.fashionxdallas.com #FashionXDallas | Photography by Crystal Chatmon, Graphics by Erik Sandoval, Written by Stephen MacMillan Moser

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Photography by: Photography by Crystal Chatmon