With an special invitation from Lisa Pool, organizer of the Fab Fashion Event, decor8 was on the VIP list to attend and cover this exciting event. It started last night in the South End and lasts until today at 6pm, so if you’re in Boston, come on down!
Written by: Christine Liu, Contributor, decor8
Holly sent me on assignment to scope out new, exciting, and creative designs at the Fab Fashion Event benefit for Rosie’s Place, a sanctuary for poor and homeless women. Designers and vendors from Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Seattle, and Europe set up shop for a colorful weekend sample sale, from apparel to accessories to cosmetics, in the heart of Boston’s South End at the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but with my notepad and camera, I was ready to take in whatever was thrown at me!
Last night was the VIP opening, with promises of a fashion show and open bar, and and my friend Andrea and I ambled downtown to take in the spectacle of this:
Miles and miles of designer jean’d, pointy-toe shoe’d, handbag’d women! Ok, maybe not miles, but there was a definite queue in the unseasonably chilly evening air. You could feel the anticipation in the small talk, everyone nervously stamping their feet and subtly eyeing the leather jacket of the woman next in line. Was the atmosphere instigated by the waiting in the cold, or because they all were plotting a bee-line strategy to get first picks at the True Religion denim? You weren’t quite sure…
Before long, we entered the cathedral-like building, and quickly observed that the ratio of women to goods, and goods to space, would make for a very dense (and exhilarating) shopping experience! I was warmly welcomed by Lisa Pool, coordinator of this impressively scaled event, and set to work. Which meant, navigate through the intense amount of goodies that
lie waiting inside.
There were many vendors, and the full list can be found here. I’ll just highlight a few designers that I found particularly worth notice. I must also confess that the quality of light in the beautiful space was quite poor (understandable, since it’s mostly a church, not a boutique), so it was a bit tricky trying to take good photographs. I did my best under the circumstances!
Walking through the interior, racks and racks of clothing claimed your attention. Jeans (natch), dresses, shirts, and skirts were ripe for the pawing. However, I quickly took notice of the subdued simplicity and surprising details of the work by Nirva, an independent designer and couturier based in Lexington, MA. Her skirts, infused with minimalist geometric panels, or lined with lace and sequins and a girlish bow, were impressive. My favourite was this be-ribboned skirt with intersecting lines, and Nirva confirmed my considerations that her designs are very vintage-inspired.
Here’s Nirva herself, holding up a tank that was the first to catch my eye. She hand-embroiders the sequins, shinys, and other adornments to her beautiful garments.
I meandered over to another table, which I naturally gravitated to because it had an abundance of cashmere knits! (Yes, I can definitely sniff it out.) I spoke to the designer, Jennifer, who issues her line of Jennifer T. Knit Couture in a boutique in Bal Harbour. She said she started out as a handknitter, and then eventually got into designing and now manufactures and sells her own couture knitwear. These were not sweaters to be reckoned with, in luscious fibers and stitch patterns, a price point around $500, but undeniably sumptuous and soft.
Jennifer is proud of her garments with intricate stitch patterns, holding up a red sweater with teeny tiny rows of strawberry-esque stitches all across the body (cute!), but confessed that her favorite sweater is a soft dark grey medium-weight ribbed button cardigan, because it “looks good on everyone, yet is distinctive enough that the sweater has its own personality.” I fondled the cashmere one more time and continued before I did any serious damage to my wallet. (whew, close one!)
Next: Wendy Culpepper of W.Culpepper Designs!
Here she is, the most friendly, enthusiastic, chipper soul I met all evening. You could definitely feel the passion she had for her jewelry designs, and I oohed over her silver fiore collection, with its evocatively curved motif, inspired by her time studying in Florence, Italy. When I told her I studied at MIT, she laughed because she actually started her studies as an engineer! She then changed her focus to design, completing her intensive jewelry program at FIT in New York and working at Me & Ro Jewelry before launching her own eponymous line. We chatted a bit about how most people don’t realize how much science and art are hand-in-hand; she mentioned all the technicalities to consider, like working with certain materials, dealing
with weights and balance, and just testing to see what works. (yay for the scientific method!) Along with her Fiore and Alligator lines, her newest Tribute collection is constructed of wood.
And can I say that her website is one of the best I’ve seen in a while? Straightforward, descriptive, and presentable, and very professionally put-together.
A breather and a Stoli. A lot of stuff. A lot of shopping. Much poking, pawing, pink-ing, and purchasing. And I haven’t even yet gotten to the accessories gallery! Stay tuned for the next installment and more coverage of the Fab Fashion Event, and you still have time to make it this Saturday afternoon! The lighting should be much more favorable, too. :)
(all images Copyright Christine Liu 2006. If you would like to use these photos, please email Christine for permission.)
To wrap up our mini tour of the CraftBoston show (thanks for hanging in with me!), here’s a few more vendors that deserve a mention.
Jen Violette – I briefly met Jen and browsed her booth, Jen is a real sweetie and her work is stunning, even more so in person than in photos. She creates both sculptural and functional pieces for the home out of glass. Jen states, “Combining pieces of my rural Vermont surroundings and my love of gardening, I carefully study the world around me to capture the tiny subtleties and distinct characteristics of the organic forms I portray in glass.”
Katherine Koehler – Based in NYC, this exciting and innovative jewelry designer is fresh and hip – with some her bold designs screaming Paris runway. When we arrived at her booth, she was leaving so we didn’t get to chat with her for long, but I lingered after she’d gone since her jewelry completely captivated me. I love her new sponges collection crafted of silver and acrylic and the pink feathered indian necklace – dazzling!
Geoff Buddie Felt – Felt designs taken to a whole new level. Interesting felt collections for displaying in your home. What do you think? Not really my style but the blocks look fun…
Holly Anne Mitchell – Recycled newspapers, lottery tickets, coupons and comics – things that usually end up in the trash are transformed into exciting brooches, pins, rings, cufflinks… Completely whimsical and definitely a conversation starter. I enjoyed trying on her unique jewelry, and applaud that she recycles. What could end up as trash becomes precious treasures. These would make great gifts for your writer friends…
This completes our CraftBoston coverage. Hope you enjoyed it! Let me know if you have any suggestions for the next show we visit – this was the first show I’ve ever attended where I had to take notes and photos, so it was learning experience – but I had a lot of fun! :)
(images from artists websites)
[CraftBoston] Lotte Kjaer – Fiber Wearable Booth #221
First up from CraftBoston, from the countryside of Holstebr, Denmark comes the extraordinary works of fiber artist Lotte Kjaer. Lotte was an extreme pleasure to meet with a friendly enthusiasm and warmth that was most contagious. Her whimsical collection of handmade shawls, hats, scarves, jackets and ponchos are one-of-a-kind and unique, tactile and lovely. I wanted to own everything. She even makes handbags. We chatted with Lotte about her life in Denmark, her experience selling her wares in conservative Boston, and her beautiful children that appear in many of the photos and collaged postcards sprinkled throughout her booth. Lotte is the kind of woman that you’d like to clone – there needs to be more people in the world like her. She was very open about herself, her life, honest, caring, enthusiastic about her work (vs. snobby) and was excited to know that we’d mention her here on decor8. I plan to interview her when she’s back in Denmark, so watch for that in the near future! Here is her website and a few snapshots from her booth.
Learn more about our day at CraftBoston here.
Foster’s in Philly has some new items from emerging artist, Josh Owens. In celebration of new product designs during the month of April, Foster’s is kicking things off with a cocktail reception in their store on Saturday, April 1st from 4-7 p.m.
If you’re in Philadelphia, please don’t miss it because I’m sure you’ll have a great time meeting Josh and fellow design addicts like yourself. Josh has some great new designs out, my favorites being the Magnito Salt and Pepper Shakers for $9.50 and the Bookends picture frames, set of 2 for $12.50. Both are available online at Foster’s.
While we’re spotlighting Philly, don’t miss the Design Philadelphia Exhibition and Symposium at the Marketplace Design Center on Thursday, April 6th from 10 am to 8 pm. Design Philadephia describes it this way:
A multidisciplinary design exhibition considering the theme of Emerging Neighborhoods, Emerging Design. Seven schools. Seven design disciplines:
? Art Institute of Philadelphia – fashion
? Drexel University – design & merchandising
? Moore College of Art and Design – interior design
? Philadelphia University – industrial design
? Temple University/Tyler School of Art – architecture
? The University of the Arts – multimedia
? University of Pennsylvania – graphic design
Sounds like a lot of fun! There are many other exciting events happening in Philadelphia next month, so make sure you visit the Design Philadelphia website for a complete listing of all design events, including an ASID sponsored tour and a DWR book signing event.
(photos from Foster’s)