We are fortunate to live in a creative city that embraces anything from film production, art and becoming an entrepreneur. It’s what makes the city so special, why Austin is featured in the news so much and it is also why we pride ourselves to support anything and everyone with an idea and a dream, and that includes our growing fashion scene. (feature image: Susannah Joffe)
Gail Chovan, owner of the kitschy South Congress boutique called Blackmail, has for several years taken fashion-lovers and friends to various places when she unveils her collections at her fashion shows. It’s not just a show, it’s more like an Austin fashion experience. How cool is that! I look forward every year to see what she has planned because it’s always a showstopped AND very “Austin”.
When I received my invitation to Gail’s Aesthetic Ghosts show to unveil her 2014 Spring collection, I was most intrigued about the address of the event. Who has a fashion show in an East Austin lumber yard? Answer…Gail does.
CLICK HERE to see the entire show gallery
“It’s one of my ghosts that haunts me, the smell of wood, forest and trees it really touched me. I’ve always wanted to do a show in a lumberyard and when Erica my producer and I talked, I wanted a different place that spoke to me and they were kind enough to let us do it here at Delta Millworks.” Gail said.
When I arrived at the venue, there was an obvious smell of sawdust, and tea light candles were spotted around the lumberyard. Guests gathered around the space dressed in some of the first “real” fall looks of the Austin fall season. Lots of leather, black, jackets and layered looks dominated the street style for the night with photographers snapping pictures like they had never seen a fall outfit before….certainly a welcome change.
Familiar fashion faces were in attendance including life-time friend of Gail, Stephen Moser, designers Ross Bennett, Linda Asaf, Rick Gonyo, Laura Del Villaggio, and also in the front row was lifestyle blogger Camille Styles and Austin Fashion Week founder Matt Swinney with wife Carrie.
The fifteen-piece collection was inspired by a Yves St. Laurent show Gail saw while in Denver last June. At the designer’s retirement speech, Laurent mentioned how Aesthetic Ghosts haunts him, and the inspiration for Gail’s show was born.
“I’m tortured by creatives that inform me and activities like architecture, drape and music and other designers and my children and all of these things have come out in this collection,” Gail added.
The runway collection was divided into two different looks with the structured linen pieces coming down the runway first. The first look is referred to the upside down dress and you actually wear the dress from the top down or the bottom to top.
Layer tops and skirts in black and grey had seams embedded with sticks of bamboo in them resembling clothing architecture and was very couture in feeling. And was inspired by Gail’s son. There are bamboo plants in the Chovan backyard and backyard fun turned into a fashion statement for mom’s 2014 Spring collection.
The next pieces were layered gowns and dresses featuring razor cut-velvet fabric purchased from her annual summer trip to Paris. The soft vintage rose and soft pewter colored pieces graced the runway with Parisian rock music being played in the background. Colors I have not seen from Gail, EVER, but still held true to a Chovan look. A single spotlight followed the models in the East Austin lumberyard mill showing the pieces to the crowd on a one-sided runway.
Shoes were also of major interest on the runway. Linen fabric was wrapped around shoes and romantically tied around the ankle with satin ribbons which resembled a vintage spat for men but was certainly more ladylike and created that finishing touch to each piece.
The hair and makeup was soft and whimsical with ringlets of curls that cascaded down the nap of each model’s neck.
Thank you to Gail! Once again she took us to another fashion place and time….now THIS is Austin Fashion!