runway Runway

The Best of Fashion X Dallas: Discover

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CAYCEE BLACK Born in HOUSTON and based in NEW YORK, artist, philanthropist and designer Caycee Black, a graduate of Parsons, was a breath of fresh air at FASHION X DALLAS: DISCOVER. Her paintings provide the prints for her collections, and her S/S 2016 collection is a knock-out of color, composition and shape. Traveling back and forth between the fluid and the structured, the stark and the floral, Black showcases her talent beautifully.

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Says Black, "To me, fashion surpasses far beyond what is captured on the runway or in magazines. Fashion is life, surrounding you, becoming a part of you, and foremost, it is Art." Foremost. Unafraid of taking risks, Black, who has designed for Anna Sui, Club Monaco, Tibi, and Reed Krakoff, forages through a certain darkness and comes up with light. She understands the drama necessary for a runway show and the cohesiveness of a collection, while never overlooking the importance of each single piece.

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When paired with the exquisitely-made and very tailored sweater looks, her work takes on an entirely new dimension without taking away from her signature prints. When she showed the denim paper-bag-waisted gaucho pants, they seemed incongruous until they are paired with her own denim-ish print on chiffon, shown by itself earlier and the symbiosis is magic. And though not the final look of her collection, her stand-out piece is her floor-length, black and white abstract houndstooth printed sleeves dress with caftan like sleeves (see last photo). Make no mistake, Black, like any true artist, takes the shadows of her life's journey and interprets them into brilliance that is a gift to us all.

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MYSTERIOUS BY NPN He captured my eye six months ago at Fashion X Austin, presenting loveliness that needed some adjustments, particularly in the area of construction. NPN's designer Nicholas Phat Nyguen latest collection shown at Fashion X Dallas is called Voi, the Vietnamese word for elephant, and indeed, the sacred elephant is the primary (or should I say singular) motif of the collection. Created with the fringed brocade, a traditional scarf fabric made by Vietnam's Hmong people, Ngyuen takes tradition and runs with it.

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In a variety of colorways, Nyguen

(shown in the last photo wearing his own work) chops, slices and dices the fabric into everything from tiered ballgowns, cocktail dresses, pleated skirts, corset-like bodices, appliqué work, covered buttons and even menswear, utilizing not only the motif, but the fringe as well. Brilliantly.

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The first look (shown in the first photo) made the attendees gasp, simply for its originality and beauty. He then led us through multiple variations of style, both whimsical and glorious, displaying his creativity in an incredibly cohesive collection. The corset-like top with the peacock blue georgette skirt was stunning. The red sheath halter ballgown with its enormous overskirt was pure sophistication. But the final look - the bridal ensemble in gold and ivory? Oh. My. God. Breathtaking. Mysterious by NPN. Remember that name.

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FERRAH On her home turf, Dallas-born and New York trained Lela Orr is designing under the name Ferrah, and showed her first collection since graduating from Parsons at Fashion X Dallas. While still having a long way to go in producing a cohesive collection, she displays a willingness to experiment and an attitude of confidence. Her opening dress (see first photo), the trapeze-cut silver fringed minidress was perhaps the best dress of the entire night. It perfectly captured the spirit of the moment, while reflecting a Seventies rock-and-roll, Studio 54 feel of devil-may-care insouciance.

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Her black cropped jacket with its red lining paired with the chevron striped miniskirt (second photo) was sheer New York style. Though typical of many new designers who try and incorporate every detail they can think of in one collection, careful observance shows that Orr does indeed know how to work a theme. She pays homage to Texas by using a star motif repeatedly, and uses plenty of black and white (practically a requirement for the season) while tossing in burgundy as an accent.

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Yes, the were a couple of missteps in the collection, but Orr will figure that out all by herself. What did strike me was the beauty of the construction... and Orr did it all herself. I believe a true designer has to know how to construct a garment personally so they can show the samplemakers and production team exactly how they want to see it made. That's a quality that will take the Ferrah brand a very long way. Yes, I do believe that Lela Orr has it. The eye. The ability to translate. To interpret. To inspire. To fly. And even to soar. Keep up the good work, Lela - we're watching you!