Do Savannnah

Jepson highlights local fashion as part of ‘State of the Art’ exhibit

  • Photography: Adriana Iris Boatwright; MUA: Samson Smith; Hair: Vivian Elam; Models: Lucy Elam, Lauren Hudson (Rise Models) and Blair Wagner; Designs: Brooke Atwood
  • Photography: Adriana Iris Boatwright; MUA: Samson Smith; Hair: Vivian Elam; Models: Lucy Elam, Lauren Hudson (Rise Models) and Blair Wagner; Designs: Brooke Atwood
  • Photography: Adriana Iris Boatwright; MUA: Samson Smith; Hair: Vivian Elam; Models: Lucy Elam, Lauren Hudson (Rise Models) and Blair Wagner; Designs: Merline Labissiere
  • Photography: Adriana Iris Boatwright; MUA: Samson Smith; Hair: Vivian Elam; Models: Lucy Elam, Lauren Hudson (Rise Models) and Blair Wagner; Designs: Brooke Atwood
  • Photography: Adriana Iris Boatwright; MUA: Samson Smith; Hair: Vivian Elam; Models: Lucy Elam, Lauren Hudson (Rise Models) and Blair Wagner; Designs: Brooke Atwood
  • Photography: Adriana Iris Boatwright; MUA: Samson Smith; Hair: Vivian Elam; Models: Lucy Elam, Lauren Hudson (Rise Models) and Blair Wagner; Designs: Brooke Atwood
  • Photography: Adriana Iris Boatwright; MUA: Samson Smith; Hair: Vivian Elam; Models: Lucy Elam, Lauren Hudson (Rise Models) and Blair Wagner; Designs: Merline Labissiere
  • Photography: Adriana Iris Boatwright; MUA: Samson Smith; Hair: Vivian Elam; Models: Lucy Elam, Lauren Hudson (Rise Models) and Blair Wagner; Designs: Merline Labissiere
  • Photography: Adriana Iris Boatwright; MUA: Samson Smith; Hair: Vivian Elam; Models: Lucy Elam, Lauren Hudson (Rise Models) and Blair Wagner; Designs: Brooke Atwood
  • Photography: Adriana Iris Boatwright; MUA: Samson Smith; Hair: Vivian Elam; Models: Lucy Elam, Lauren Hudson (Rise Models) and Blair Wagner; Designs: Merline Labissiere
  • Photography: Adriana Iris Boatwright; MUA: Samson Smith; Hair: Vivian Elam; Models: Lucy Elam, Lauren Hudson (Rise Models) and Blair Wagner; Designs: Brooke Atwood
  • Photography: Adriana Iris Boatwright; MUA: Samson Smith; Hair: Vivian Elam; Models: Lucy Elam, Lauren Hudson (Rise Models) and Blair Wagner; Designs: Merline Labissiere
  • Photography: Adriana Iris Boatwright; MUA: Samson Smith; Hair: Vivian Elam; Models: Lucy Elam, Lauren Hudson (Rise Models) and Blair Wagner; Designs: Brooke Atwood
  • Jewelry designer Tatiana Smith at work in her studio. (Photo by Adriana Iris Boatwright)
  • Jewelry designer Tatiana Smith at work in her studio. (Photo by Adriana Iris Boatwright)
 

Jepson highlights local fashion as part of ‘State of the Art’ exhibit

27 Apr 2016

IF YOU GO

What: “State of the Art: Savannah Style”

When: 7-10 p.m. April 30

Where: Jepson Center, 207 W. York St.

Cost: $30 for members; $40 for non-members; $85 for VIP; advance sales only

Info: www.telfair.org

 

Local fashionistas are surely missing events like Savannah Fashion Week and Savannah’s Fashion Night, both postponed in 2015.

Many seem to be flocking to get their fashion fix during Savannah Arts Academy’s “Junk 2 Funk” and SCAD’s annual runway show, but these two events are not enough for a city brimming with such unique style.

The fashion gods must have been listening, because Telfair Museums’ Jepson Center for the Arts will be bursting with fashion and style on April 30 with "State of the Art: Savannah Style."

It promises to be the hottest ticket in town, featuring fashion designers Merline Labissiere and Brooke Atwood, along with jewelry designers Tatiana Smith and Meredith Sutton.

Labissiere is best known for her run on season 14 of Bravo’s reality show “Project Runway.” A SCAD alumna, she now resides in Miami. She is designing a collection specifically and exclusively for the Jepson runway.

“This collection is completely conceptual and it is only for the Jepson audience,” Labissiere says. “I am creating and there is no pressure. I am creating to create.

“It is the perfect opportunity to express my artistic and creative side and my chance to design pieces of art to walk the runway. These are non-functional, conceptual pieces.

“The Jepson is such an amazing venue with the architecture, design and lines. Jepson is the opportunity I needed to design for fun. I’ve missed expressing myself without any editing — to create for the creative woman, for the woman that she herself is art, and this will be it.”

She is currently working on her fashion label Merline Labissiere, a line designed for the career-oriented yet creative and playful woman.

“I take high-quality materials that are comfortable to create a collection that is easy to wear and not constricting,” she says. “There is nothing better when you have the ability to feel fashionable without compromising comfort.”

Among her endeavors, she also has created a nonprofit fashion camp that gives back to students in the inner city.

“We need to be courageous enough to dream. If we muster the courage to dream, half of the battle has been won. I encourage many to just dream.”

And a dream is exactly how Smith describes her collaboration with Labissiere during this upcoming show.

“When Merline was designing for New York Fashion Week, she approached me to design some pieces of jewelry for her collection,” Smith says. “I had only been designing and creating jewelry for a little over a year and her request came at a time when it reaffirmed and solidified that this is something that I needed to do.

“I am an artist, and jewelry making is a way where I can express myself while giving back, and that feels good. The proceeds of the sale of my pieces go to charity work, a charity that both my husband and I have been supporting for years.

“We are building a school in Ethiopia in a village in the middle of nowhere. A village that not even Google could drop a pin. This is all how it got started. Trying to generate funds to help a cause opened myself as an artist and designer,” Smith says of her humble beginnings.

Savannah tends to create the most interesting pairings and collaborations when it comes to the art world.

“Merline and I were chosen by the Telfair several months back to do this show as part of the ‘State of the Art’ exhibit,” Atwood says. “I think we make a perfect duo; we each have our own unique aesthetic, which is very different from one another, but yet can appeal to the same audience.”

The Brooke Atwood fall/winter ’16 collection is full of bright velvets, wool and Georgette crepes and of course, her favorite, leather.

The brand showcases the lifestyle of a Southern girl with the soul of rock ‘n’ roll. Edgy and modern, the Brooke Atwood girl is one who chooses to rebel and defy convention.

She loves to create custom prints and for this collection, she turned to her loyal companion Hank, a pit bull she adopted.

“I am a big believer in designing prints that have meaning to me personally,” Atwood says. “Hank keeps me entertained with his many expressions and his laid-back demeanor. He goes everywhere with me; it was a no-brainer he would be the next muse for the print.

“Kelley Hagemes of Claw and Bone Artworks is a local Savannah artist. I have always been a fan of her work. She works with a lot of pen and ink and pencil sketches, which was my idea to have Hank sketched in. She was the first person that came to mind and thankfully she was excited to do it, and of course she nailed it.”

To add to this vast list of collaborators, Sutton is creating the jewelry for the Brooke Atwood collection. Rise Models will be strutting on the runway and hair and makeup will be created by local stylist Samson Smith. Guests of the fashion show will also be able to walk through the museum, including the “State of the Art” exhibit, as well as browse the many pop-up shops by the designers themselves.

“State of the Art” is jam-packed with the essence of Savannah style and promises to deliver, fulfilling the appetites of local fashionistas.

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