Fab Fashion Event: Boston - Part 1

With an special invitation from Lisa Pool, organizer of the Fab Fashion Event, decor8 was on the VIP list to attend and cover this exciting event. It started last night in the South End and lasts until today at 6pm, so if you're in Boston, come on down!

Written by: Christine Liu, Contributor, decor8

Holly sent me on assignment to scope out new, exciting, and creative designs at the Fab Fashion Event benefit for Rosie's Place, a sanctuary for poor and homeless women. Designers and vendors from Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Seattle, and Europe set up shop for a colorful weekend sample sale, from apparel to accessories to cosmetics, in the heart of Boston's South End at the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center. I wasn't sure what to expect, but with my notepad and camera, I was ready to take in whatever was thrown at me!

Last night was the VIP opening, with promises of a fashion show and open bar, and and my friend Andrea and I ambled downtown to take in the spectacle of this:

Miles and miles of designer jean'd, pointy-toe shoe'd, handbag'd women! Ok, maybe not miles, but there was a definite queue in the unseasonably chilly evening air. You could feel the anticipation in the small talk, everyone nervously stamping their feet and subtly eyeing the leather jacket of the woman next in line. Was the atmosphere instigated by the waiting in the cold, or because they all were plotting a bee-line strategy to get first picks at the True Religion denim? You weren't quite sure...

Before long, we entered the cathedral-like building, and quickly observed that the ratio of women to goods, and goods to space, would make for a very dense (and exhilarating) shopping experience! I was warmly welcomed by Lisa Pool, coordinator of this impressively scaled event, and set to work. Which meant, navigate through the intense amount of goodies that
lie waiting inside.

There were many vendors, and the full list can be found here. I'll just highlight a few designers that I found particularly worth notice. I must also confess that the quality of light in the beautiful space was quite poor (understandable, since it's mostly a church, not a boutique), so it was a bit tricky trying to take good photographs. I did my best under the circumstances!

Walking through the interior, racks and racks of clothing claimed your attention. Jeans (natch), dresses, shirts, and skirts were ripe for the pawing. However, I quickly took notice of the subdued simplicity and surprising details of the work by Nirva, an independent designer and couturier based in Lexington, MA. Her skirts, infused with minimalist geometric panels, or lined with lace and sequins and a girlish bow, were impressive. My favourite was this be-ribboned skirt with intersecting lines, and Nirva confirmed my considerations that her designs are very vintage-inspired.

Here's Nirva herself, holding up a tank that was the first to catch my eye. She hand-embroiders the sequins, shinys, and other adornments to her beautiful garments.

I meandered over to another table, which I naturally gravitated to because it had an abundance of cashmere knits! (Yes, I can definitely sniff it out.) I spoke to the designer, Jennifer, who issues her line of Jennifer T. Knit Couture in a boutique in Bal Harbour. She said she started out as a handknitter, and then eventually got into designing and now manufactures and sells her own couture knitwear. These were not sweaters to be reckoned with, in luscious fibers and stitch patterns, a price point around $500, but undeniably sumptuous and soft.

Jennifer is proud of her garments with intricate stitch patterns, holding up a red sweater with teeny tiny rows of strawberry-esque stitches all across the body (cute!), but confessed that her favorite sweater is a soft dark grey medium-weight ribbed button cardigan, because it "looks good on everyone, yet is distinctive enough that the sweater has its own personality." I fondled the cashmere one more time and continued before I did any serious damage to my wallet. (whew, close one!)

Next: Wendy Culpepper of W.Culpepper Designs!

Here she is, the most friendly, enthusiastic, chipper soul I met all evening. You could definitely feel the passion she had for her jewelry designs, and I oohed over her silver fiore collection, with its evocatively curved motif, inspired by her time studying in Florence, Italy. When I told her I studied at MIT, she laughed because she actually started her studies as an engineer! She then changed her focus to design, completing her intensive jewelry program at FIT in New York and working at Me & Ro Jewelry before launching her own eponymous line. We chatted a bit about how most people don't realize how much science and art are hand-in-hand; she mentioned all the technicalities to consider, like working with certain materials, dealing
with weights and balance, and just testing to see what works. (yay for the scientific method!) Along with her Fiore and Alligator lines, her newest Tribute collection is constructed of wood.

And can I say that her website is one of the best I've seen in a while? Straightforward, descriptive, and presentable, and very professionally put-together.


A breather and a Stoli. A lot of stuff. A lot of shopping. Much poking, pawing, pink-ing, and purchasing. And I haven't even yet gotten to the accessories gallery! Stay tuned for the next installment and more coverage of the Fab Fashion Event, and you still have time to make it this Saturday afternoon! The lighting should be much more favorable, too. :)

(all images Copyright Christine Liu 2006. If you would like to use these photos, please email Christine for permission.)