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The Best Of Fashion X Dallas: Finale

EDO POPKEN - Monsieur Popken is a master of stylish menswear that redefines the term “classic.” Though Popken himself showed a bit more personal style than his collection, the S/S 2016 collection he showed at FASHION X DALLAS: FINALE was an exquisitely made, beautifully tailored and extremely marketable collection. While only conservative to a slight degree, Popken does indeed push the envelope for that category. Shown on faaabulous male models from PAIGE PARKES, the show simmered and sizzled like no other designer that night.

From casual “athleisure wear” to dressy sportswear, Popken showed everything from fleece running jackets (gray with black leather elbow patches and red pocket zippers) to quilted vests (a favorite was the white with red accents) to jeans and suits and separates. With superb detailing and an immaculate sense of color, Popken displayed exactly what the well-dressed fashion-forward man wants to wear. His sportcoats were delicious - luxurious and very wearable, the trousers crisp and well-fitted, and when he showed them on models without shirts on? Well, we drooled. Sexy, sharp and symbiotic, Popken's collection is simply outstanding.

S2 - There’s no question Charles Smith II, designer for SMITH II and his diffusion line S2, is going to be a star. Though some of his designs may be derivative, he makes them all his own and unites them in a kick-ass S/S 2016 collection, which he debuted at FASHION X DALLAS: FINALE. In fact, he can be be referred to as the award-winning Charles Smith II, having been chosen as the recipient of Dallas Fashion Fund. He positively glowed as he was announced. Reviewing his collection six months ago at FASHION X AUSTIN, I’d had high hopes for him… and he did not disappoint.

A collection in black and white (a major trend in Dallas, LA, New York, Paris and Milan), Smith worked the palette in a dizzying array of styles from a simple trapeze halter and wide-legged pants in white with subtle black stitched detailing, to black-on-black wool and PVC separates. The trapeze shape informed the collection in many lengths from a cropped top to a knee-length tunic. My favorite look was his bold Two Spirit approach in showing a male model in a lacy-looking knee-length black shift dress topped with an architecturally styled black coat trimmed in black PVC. Smith has had his share of difficulties, but appears to have risen above them magnificently, showing the best collection of the night.

ABI FERRIN - Though FASHION X AUSTIN collection six months ago, I’ve come to realize the brilliance of Ferrin’s work. Her eponymous DALLAS store showcases her work in a spectacular manner, as did she herself with her S/S 2016 collection for FASHION X DALLAS. I particularly love her sense of color, from the muted to the brilliant, the broad range does in no way detract from the cohesiveness of her collection.

Opening with a stained-glass colored blouson topped, halter jumpsuit with wide legs, I was mesmerized. The blouson top was a theme that ran through the collection, looking completely new and fresh. Ferrin showed it in several ways - on a royal blue jumpsuit topped with a pale blue long coat that was also trimmed in royal blue; and orange suede-like knee-length dress; and a bateau-necked, ¾ sleeved knee-length dress in a soft burgundy color, among others. The soft burgundy color appeared again in a snugly fit, shirred dress with ¾ sleeves topped with a conceptually-cut sleeveless grey wool flyaway jacket. You don’t have to take my word for it - see it for yourself in her shop. Ferrin is a Dallas design

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STEPHEN GOUDEAU - Six months ago, I gave the Louisiana-born designer a pretty stellar review. And again, he produced an exceptional collection. His navy blue and white combinations were so strong and lovely. The cobalt samurai-type pants with the fly-away panels on the sides, coupled with the white top was breathtakingly chic, and even more so was the short white dress with floor-length side panels seemingly dipped in cobalt. He understands glamour and style very well and proves that his designs for SPRING/SUMMER 2016 are just as elegant and sharp as his FALL/WINTER 2015-16 collection was.

TINSLEY RADIX - While I did refer to designers CAITLYN MULLINEX and CHELSEA BROGDON as “designers” when I reviewed them six months ago, I (hardly a fan of the “Democratization of Fashion”) felt that, in fact, they were dilettantes boutique owners with an idea to be designers. I was pretty brutal about every aspect of the collection, from its cohesiveness to it fit, styling and patternmaking. And now? With their SPRING/SUMMER 2016 they have clearly made some changes. The collection looked as if it were designed by someone with a complete vision of what a collection should look like. Everything related to each other and the designers worked with looks that unified the collection. With improved production, I encourage these ladies to stretch themselves ever further and produce an incredible concise and sleek collection for FALL/WINTER 2016-17. Good luck - we’re watching you.

VINTAGE MARTINI - Showing a collection of vintage clothes among collections of original designs is unusual, but then again, so is VINTAGE MARTINI. Shop owners KEN WEBER and partner GREG KELLY truly curate their acquisitions... and what a treasure trove it is. Among the highlights of their 100 YEARS OF FASHION presentation at FASHION X DALLAS: FINALE were a magnificent two-piece dress and cape ensemble in black by an unknown couturier. The sleeveless dress with its dropped waist and gently gathered skirt, is topped with an architectural cape cut away in the front, secured only by two buttons about the bust. Another selection was a black THIERRY MUGLER strapless bodice spangled with diamante and paired with a black sheath skirt also by an unknown couturier. We also saw a very rare example of couture, a silk balloon-back suit woven in a misty, watery floral from 1959-60 by BEVERLY HILLS designer DAN WERLE.

We saw examples of antique couture from after the turn of the last century, and plenty of 20s, 30s, 40s, etc., but the couture of a more recent vintage is stunning. A black and white printed silk dress by TOM FORD is only from 2014, but that kind of couture is timeless and perennially spectacular. The black leather jacket of recent vintage was shown with and black-on-black texture-blocked tiered peasant skirt from ISSAC MIZRAHI. A shimmering column of gold sequins is late-70s TED LAPIDUS...but dying to be worn immediately. That's the thing that separated Vintage Martini's collection from the original designs. The variations in style, color, and shape were part of the charm, but also that you could walk into the shop the next morning and own that particular piece of history. Vintage Martini's presence added a lightness and frivolity to the event – from their domain as the first gallery the glitterati entered as they arrived, to Vintage Martini being the finale of the finale. Fitting, really, and an interesting comment on the original designs that were shown.

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