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“Where is the runway?” I asked.  It took me some time to realize that the “runway” at Gail Chovan’s fashion show last night was instead a long banquet style table set up below chandeliers hanging from trees. With designs that are always out of the norm, it shouldn’t come as a shock that the fashion designer and Blackmail Boutique owner‘s fashion show last night was a special one.  I was at first admittedly a little taken aback at the setup of the show, mostly because I was terrified that one of the model’s would catch fire down the narrow and candlelit table.  But my fears quickly faded (and I stopped looking around for the nearest fire extinguisher) as I became mesmerized by the varying and unusual silhouettes and interesting mixtures of fabric textures seen in the show.  By using almost solely black fabrics, Gail’s designs really concentrate on form, texture, and proportion- things many other designers I feel take for granted and don’t embrace experimenting with enough.

The models glided down the runway looking raw yet elegant while occasionally stopping to grab a sip of wine from generous seated dinner guests who were attempting to look divine as they ate soup which had purposely been served sans spoons.  Model Lydia Hutchison described walking in the show as a euphoric experience, and as a spectator I felt a similar extreme contentment.  The candlelight, the haunting music, the cold air outside of Justine’s Brasserie, all set the perfect scene for Gail’s collection which was titled “De quoi avez-vous peur?” or “What are you afraid of?”  Gail Chovan said the collection was “inspired by fear, of the unknown, of taking risks, of moving forward in life, of loss, of gender questions, of emotion, of what one expects or of what makes one uncomfortable.”

The theme of Gail’s collection and the collection itself really struck me.  For years now I have been on a personal journey that no doubt will be a lifelong one of conquering fears, and moving forward.  I’ve found that embracing fears of loss and things that make you uncomfortable, can in turn make present life much more enjoyable.  Thus, I felt the show last night was inspiring not only to fashion lovers, but lovers of life.  It’s fashion shows like Gail’s last night that make me remember why I started going to fashion shows in the first place- to be inspired.


Joanna Wilkinson
keep austin stylish