Boston Fashion Week: Merrily we flow along

Thanks to the ever-impressive and talented photographer Justin McCallum, I found myself at Boston Fashion Week on a blustery September weekend! Long story short: the fashions. My god, the fashions.  For a full photospread, visit JumboSlice blog, and read below for my take on several of the weekend’s best shows! Did I MENTION THE FASHIONS?

Merrily we flow along at Boston Fashion Week

Collections by designers Yousif and Mendoza stood out

Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012

Boston Fashion Week is not for the faint of heart. In the past few years, designers and show producers alike have upped the creative ante with an interesting mix of household name brands, Boston fashion titans and left-of-center fashion industry up-and-comers. This year’s shows featured surprisingly wearable pieces alongside artistic creations that could make even Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly crack a wince — or so we dare to dream. In particular, the Boston Fashion Week shows for Firas Yousif Originals and Sam Mendoza created an undeniable buzz both outside and inside the tent, due to their mix of ethereal pieces and shockingly approachable cuts that still managed to convey chic and whimsy.

Firas Yousif Originals, photo courtesy Justin McCallum

Firas Yousif Originals is a force in the Boston bridal gown scene and beyond, with “bridal,” “evening” and “flirty” couture collections. At Boston Fashion Week, Yousif capitalized on a sense of manufactured nostalgia that’s done well in the fashion scene for the last couple of seasons, with side bouffants, patterned textiles and 1950’s Vargas Girls-esques ilhouettes. Imagine what would happen if Paz de la Huerta’s character Lucy in “Boardwalk Empire” had a run-in with Christina Hendricks’ “Mad Men” persona and you’ll be in the ballpark.

In Yousif’s designs, he looks to capture several unique fashion voices, but his strength lies in dressing brides in unparalleled couture gowns. Without question, the bridal aspect of the show was best. The standout was a flowing sheath dress with silver undertones and a sheer top layer with shimmering rectangular pieces. The dress was strapless, save for two triangular straps that sat far below the shoulders, on the top of the forearms and almost level with the underarms. The gown barely swept the runway, with the geometric silhouette of an elongated and slightly curved rectangle as the body and the upside-down triangles called attention simultaneously to the bare neckline and the carefully constructed body of the dress. The reconstructed dress was a welcome change from the parades of tulle-injected gowns of yesteryear. It was truly an emerging trend which Yousif had mastered and made his own.

Sam Mendoza, photo courtesy Justin McCallum

Sam Mendoza’s runway collection was a break from the norm as it transitioned easily between edgy cuts and ovular lines. Like Yousif, Mendoza’s looks utilized a neo-nostalgic vibe, but he integrated it seamlessly with the ever popular fishtail, a staple at most of the Boston Fashion Week show. He also reworked the vibe by incorporating topknots and chignons. Mendoza’s show featured a level of detail that marked this collection as a standout compared to his last few collections. The hemlines were carefully constructed with reds or blues at the base, even on beige maxi skirts and color-blocked pieces.

When colors strutted down the catwalk, they fought with force. Blue-lipped models with fishtail braid buns piled on their heads stole the show. It was a completely different look — and a more sustainable and interesting one ― than those found in other shows. You can imagine the likes of Janelle Monor Solange Knowles rocking some of Mendoza’s fashion forward pieces. The look emphasized energetic and robust sports-inspired cuts.

The usual fashion suspects were there in Mendoza’s line — little black dresses turned big with revealing necklines and full skirts, with a draping effect that’s hot for spring/summer 2013. The garments didn’t hang dreadfully on the models, but instead sat upright and commanded the audience’s attention.

Sam Mendoza, photo courtesy Justin McCallum

Boston Fashion Week has marked itself as a launchpad of creativity for dozens of designers in the last few years. Pumping, heavy music didn’t distract from the power and presence of Mendoza’s pieces — the focus was on the garments, worn ever so well by the models. Mendoza and Yousif shone among dozens of other shows, with both critical appeal and wearable wonders. If Mendoza is any indication of what we can expect in the spring, it will be an appreciation of fabric and garments with strappy elements that don’t confine the body. For expanded coverage on Boston Fashion Week, see the Daily blog Jumboslice for exclusive videos from the runway, interviews with the designers and more.

For more coverage of Boston Fashion Week, click here (Emerging Trends shows), and check out photos from the Mario Testino Boston MFA Exhibit! 

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