Austin Designer Gail Chovan Presents Collection 15
When Austin designer Gail Chovan is showing a collection get ready for an amazing fashion journey. Her creativity, love of craft and passion to create a show instead of just “having” a show is what makes Gail’s shows an experience to remember. It would be what one would expect to see at a Chanel show. Gail’s inspiration can be compared to Karl Lagerfeld’s idea of creating a theme and set, with the models acting as an accessory to the overall production.
Gail experiences Paris inspiration on a regular basis. Each summer she teaches fashion and design to International students at the Sorbonne. She mixes business with pleasure to create what she calls her “artisanal couture.” Fabrics, ideas and trims are all brought back to her Austin-based atelier and store, Blackmail. Each piece in her collection is Austin-made but stitched with French inspiration.
Life took a turn for Gail several years ago, forcing her to change her focus to healing after being diagnosed with breast cancer. After recovering from the extensive treatment, Gail jumped back in the design world. It’s no surprise that she would come back even stronger and more creative. Like several designers in town, I have reported on Gail’s shows since 1999 and it appears that she is designing looks for a modern woman with a European flair and edgy taste.
Her six-piece capsule collection shown at the Eleven: Eleven Event gave us a sneak peek for her upcoming show in the days following. And the full collection did not disappoint.
“I think the reason that Gail’s collection is much more wearable now is because she spent so much time with family and her inspiration was from Paris,” said Austin designer, Ross Bennett. “Many of her fabrics were from Paris.”
“She had time to write a nice blog, interact with her family and that is how you gather inspiration. Being able to live your life somewhere else. She is re-evolving.” Ross added.
Gail’s show, Collection 15, called “De quoi avez-vous peur?” (what are you afraid of) was inspired by fear of the unknown, of taking risks, of moving forward in life. Fear of loss, of gender questions, of emotion. Fear of what one expects or of what makes one uncomfortable.
The show venue, Justine’s Brasserie, was an intimate setting and aptly decorated with candles and cupcakes. The heat lamps helped warm attendees due to a well-timed chill in the air that added to the ambience of Gail’s already mysteriously themed event.
A long table was nestled outside under beaded chandeliers. Vintage soup bowls were filled with warm, homemade potato soup alongside chunks of bread dotting the table for each attendee to take and dip. The blend of French themed music equally matched the Gothic mood and feel of the show.
The long table also served as the runway. There were enough candles on the table to make the fire department uneasy but the models easily floated down the runway in a, slow, style consistent with Gail’s shows.
Several pieces in the collection were constructed with soft leather with long hanging tassels that hung off the shoulders. The dresses with the chiffon draped sleeves flowed beautifully down the table-runway and gave shape when the backlight hit the garment. Several glimmers of sparkle were added on several pieces, trimmed with black paillettes. The long dresses were made of a gray vintage lace and were equally as interesting in the back as they were in the front.
Thank you Gail for taking us on a fashion journey through your inspirations. We love that you take risks and get out of your comfort zone. What were you afraid of… Apparently nothing!
Click Here to See More Shots from the End of the Runway.
We’re especially proud at Fabricker to have sourced many of the fabrics for this show, along with Stitch Lab, as well as the exquisite textiles Gail brought back from her summer in Paris. Silks, knits, painted lace, linen… ALL LOCAL!
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