As Dallas' artists explore the city's more transitional areas, we see the lovely visual byproducts created by their friction. Just in the last year, patchy spots on each side of the bridge were commandeered for quick exhibitions -- In Cooperation With Muscle Nation and Art Con repurposed a Dragon Street warehouse, while Dead White Zombies challenged the address quo in Trinity Groves.
But until Saturday's Pin Show, an annual runway project, nobody had teetered quite so far on the edge of the cultural surface tension by also luring in Dallas' fashion elite. I wasn't sure how it would go. Baiting that crowd usually requires a floating catwalk and a luxury hotel. But not last weekend. Julie McCullough and her team beckoned them across the bridge (albeit, the nice bridge) and into an abandoned warehouse with the simple promise of a professional caliber runway offering. And you know what? They delivered.
Know what else? I like watching floor-length furs drag through West Dallas parking lots.
Stripped down to its bones, the warehouse looked and felt an underground party in a Marfa airplane hanger, populated by well-heeled jetsetters. Two firetrucks acted as alcohol's first responders; a shirtless firefighter bartender doled out cocktails while satisfying multiple fantasies. On one side of the space a reckless ping pong game came alive. Flanking the stage were four women, sitting and dressed in updated WWII factory garb, poised adorably behind vintage sewing machines. Somehow, this all worked together.
Just adding to the energy, Danny Church Band served as the evening's musical anchor and serenaded each model who ventured down that keyhole-shaped, club-style runway. The live band was another interesting detour from standard practice pageantry, and it sparked a lot of chair dancing.
More important than the show's design was its subtly detailed execution. Paced by distance, each model had a nice, long walk before showing off their garment's flip side and passing his or her predecessor. Also, thanks to the main jumbo screen, designer billing was defined and cohesive, so when the show's opener Ragg Dahl sent her stunningly modernized blends of '40s and '60s goes early '90s inspired evening coats down the runway(above), we all knew where to go to learn more.
Now, let's look at a few other designers that helped light up that warehouse.
Melancholic Design Some of these styles were more successful than others, and when they hit, it was typically due to this interesting play on panels, textures and tones. One of my favorites, a taupe leather cape with a zippered front and a surprise satin underlay, was the summary of that marriage.
S+B Menswear This little line was the only non-Texas offering of the night and it blended secret societies, prep wear and polished up sportswear for a tight, cohesive style set. Its one tangential piece, a puffed-out, canary red Thriller-goes-2013 quilted jacket, could sell on its own at any Dallas boutique. We don't have a photo of it, but trust me: it was tight.
Carmen Iris I like a show with a plus-sized line, even if this one seems to still be maturing. Keep an eye out: Her more basic black numbers and the sleeveless brown dress with royal blue waist cincher are the most charming of the bunch.
Most importantly, can these models teach a class? They radiated power.
Charmaine Marshall These ethnic neckplates made stunning accent pieces and utilized everything from coque feathers to inverted strips of bone. They're gorgeous, punchy and a nice way to set off an otherwise easy, flowy look.
Tracy Popken This is one to watch, and also support through direct purchase. She's based out of Bishop Arts and has a lengthy history with vintage fashions and tailoring. Here, we saw the best of that pairing, as Popken drew from those distinctive period pieces -- think wardrobe staples like pencil skirts and double-breasted vests -- and elevated them with a stylized, modern twist. That blouse: the creamy one with long sleeves that billowed and then gathered delicately at the wrists, is a dream. I now know where to take my vintage for updating and to find complimentary pieces to tie my closet together.
Dija Swimwear Swimwear is tough, from material to design. It's rare to see a start-up company nail any aquatic look and have it also appear wearable, comfortable and in place on the model. Dija did that with this one-piece (above), which channeled Pucci and Nautica, then smashed them together. The end result was well-cultivated and sexy. Wear this one ladies, and you won't buy your own drinks this summer.
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Marek and Richard I love these guys' playfulness, so I was happy to see their line back on the runway. Marek and Richard built their business by keeping the whities and the tighties on separate sides of the underwear drawer. They suggest, in no uncertain terms, that there's another way to color coordinate an outfit, and it involves Nintendo pallets on your manties. Cheers to you, fellas.
Mario Alberto Go ahead, doll it up Alberto. I'd tug that slinky chic little pink dress on and hoof it anywhere. I loved the low slung, off-angle accent. It's feminine, unusual and charming. And while the shrug inevitably conjures memories of drive-through car washes, it adds a shimmy of quirk, and maybe more importantly, gives your date something to rub against.