27 October 2010

Fashion in Detroit: Bikinis make a Splash

The Detroit Free Press

The first day of Fashion in Detroit ended today with classic but modern dresses from designer Peter Hidalgo.

From the cleanly constructed woolen shifts — some with elbow-length sleeves, others strapless with menswear-style pockets — to the silky evening gowns with thigh-high front slits, and backs that look like capes, the show was pure sophistication and the highlight of the day.

It’s unfortunate more people didn’t see it.

The turnout for the first day of the two-day event — which is designed to showcase local designers and designers whose work is sold here — was minimal.

Lians Jadan, one of the event organizers, estimated attendance today was about 300 guests, and he said the onlookers were largely from the fashion industry. The location of the shows — the Soundboard at the Motor City Casino — holds about 1,100 people, he said, adding that he expected about 1,000 to show on Saturday.

Today’s round of shows started with a flirty collection by Adriana Pavon, winner of last year’s Fashion in Detroit local designer contest.

From flowing silk dresses to sassy A-line minis, the garments aspire to be the sort of clothes you’d pack for a glam trip to the Riviera. They’re fun without evoking the feeling that you’ve just spent your paycheck shopping in the junior department.

The standout of Pavon’s collection? A strapless evening gown with an icy blue leaf pattern on a silver background.

The swimsuits shown by local designer Trisha Geftos are not for shy girls.

With embellishments such as baby blue fringe hanging from one bikini and the word “love” written in sequins across the butt of another, and with members of the cat and zebra families well represented in still more, you’ve got to love your body and your booty to wear one of these.

Paging Kim Kardashian.

It should come as no surprise that Geftaki brand suits sell in Las Vegas and other glitzy resort areas. In fact, Paris Hilton has been photographed wearing one.

The showstopper was a black bikini woven with black ribbons and sequins and accented with a tiny skirt.

On the runway, Geftos’ suits were paired with big, lush leather bags handcrafted in leather by another local designer, Julie Lindsay. And guess what? Those had fringe, too. They also featured fur and bling.

Other highlights included button-down shirts for men and women with a ’60s vibe by for and a few knee-length coats made from luscious tapestry -- that’s English Laundry, a line from Christopher Wicks, former designer for Hang Ten and Ocean Pacific.

Meant to be influenced by the music of the 1960s and 1970s and mod prints of the era, many of the pieces (back to the tapestry coats) have a rock-n-roll British Invasion/psychedelic vibe.

The button-down blouses, midriff-baring for women as well as longer versions for both sexes, have embroidery embellishments and/or floral patterns that set them apart from the basic shirts you might find at a Banana Republic. A festive touch: up-turned cuffs in prints that coordinate nicely but don’t match the pattern on the shirt.

The gowns and cocktail dresses by Ines DiSanto made big statements. When they were bad, they veered toward flamenco. But when they were good, they were polished and glam.

But no matter what your taste — whether it’s a body conscious, sleeveless, above-the-knee cocktail gown that’s studded with shimmery pearls or ruffled merengue — you will feel more special than anyone else in the room.

How could you not?

While many of DiSanto’s dresses and gowns are strapless or sleeveless, the designer makes clever use of ruching and draping that that can disguise many figure flaws.

Known for her glamorous bridal gowns, the last of DiSanto’s 23 runway looks was a bridal gown with a train and full veil lovely enough for Snow White.

The best look of the show: a strapless, above-the-knee dress with fitted bodice and an A-line skirt. With sequins that sparkled like snow and a bit of fringed tulle peeking out from the hem, the model looked as if she was floating.

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