Fash­ion finds: Christ­mas bazaar of­fers stylish op­tions

Find fash­ion gifts for all at Ar­madillo Christ­mas Bazaar.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Nancy Flores nflo­res@states­man.com

What do a vin­tage tie, mo­hair arm warmer and tri­an­gle hand­bag all have in com­mon with a de­cid­edly Austin hol­i­day tra­di­tion? You can find them all at the Ar­madillo Christ­mas Bazaar.

Or­ga­niz­ers of the show, now in its 37th sea­son, de­cided to in­clude more fash­ion and jew­elry de­sign­ers to ex­pand the Ar­madillo’s style in­dex while still com­ple­ment­ing Austin’s laid-back style. “When you think of an art fest or show, you prob­a­bly think of sculp­ture and pot­tery,” says Anne Kel­ley, the show’s as­sis­tant pro­ducer and mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor. “But lately it’s been with the craft rev­o­lu­tion that we’re see­ing more tex­tiles in art.”

Ar­madillo’s re­cent fo­cus on fash­ion mo­ti­vates lo­cal cloth­ing de­signer Meil­ing Chang.

“Fash­ion is some­times not seen as artis­tic as other forms of art, and I’m very happy that the show is look­ing to in­crease this part,” she says. “Artists of all dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines can draw in­spi­ra­tion from many un­likely sources, and the in­clu­sion of more fash­ion can make the show more dy­namic.”

The de­sign­ers they’ve ac­cepted all “com­ple­ment some of the high-end artists and keep up with our fine art as­pect,” Kel­ley said.

At Ar­madillo this year, the de­sign­ers range from Austin Fash­ion Week par­tic­i­pants to Ar­madillo veter­ans to a former Project Run­way con­tes­tant. Here’s more about the stylish looks that will be avail­able at Ar­madillo at Palmer Events Cen­ter through Mon­day.

East meets West knitwear

Chang re­mem­bers help­ing

her mother cre­ate and mend cloth­ing for her and her sis­ters in her na­tive Tai­wan. Her nat­u­ral artis­tic sen­si­bil­i­ties came through early on with singing, danc­ing and draw­ing skills.

“See­ing my ideas flow from my mind to pa­per and fi­nally to fab­ric was a very vis­ceral ex­pe­ri­ence that I had never ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore and fell in love with,” says Chang, who is now based in Austin.

Chang says her West­ern and East­ern fash­ion de­sign ed­u­ca­tions have given her a “unique per­spec­tive on de­sign and re­sults in time­less and one-of-a-kind pieces.”

She uses nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als such as cot­ton, linen and silk for her de­signs. At the Ar­madillo, she’s fo­cus­ing on knitwear and ac­ces­sories. Chang, who has pre­sented her de­signs at Austin Fash­ion Week, uses fine yarns such as cash­mere and fine mo­hair for her knitwear line.

“I ex­per­i­ment with dif­fer­ent blends of wool in or­der to cre­ate fine pieces with strik­ing color blends for both win­ter and spring,” she says.

Af­ter de­sign­ing in Austin for years, she has found the cul­ture of the city to be one of her in­spi­ra­tions.

“My line con­tin­ues to evolve along­side my own ex­pe­ri­ences, and I hope that the in­flu­ence of my time here can be ob­served through my pieces,” she says.

Wear­able, whim­si­cal fash­ion

Former Project Run­way (Sea­son 2) con­tes­tant Marla Du­ran brings her vin­tage-in­spired clothes to the Ar­madillo for the first time this sea­son.

“There’s a bit of whimsy to my clothes — the fab­rics and the com­bi­na­tions of pat­terns,” she says. “My clothes are wear­able, ver­sa­tile, and work into one’s wardrobe.”

For the show, she’ll have shirts for men and women, in­clud­ing some items with rodeo and cow­boy mo­tifs that give the cloth­ing a West­ern feel.

Du­ran cre­ated her first line in 1988. She pre­vi­ously worked as a pot­ter’s ap­pren­tice, and she stud­ied French in Paris, where she got some in­sight into style. She now lives in Penn­syl­va­nia.

“I love ex­press­ing my­self through cloth­ing,” Du­ran says. “And work­ing with tex­tiles seemed like a great fit.”

Ar­chi­tec­tural leather hand­bags

For leather ar­ti­san Tom Thomas, who lives on a bluff above Lake Bel­ton, in­spi­ra­tion comes from see­ing an im­pres­sive sky­line or a beau­ti­fully de­signed build­ing.

“I get a lit­tle thrill and a big smile,” he says. “I love ar­chi­tec­ture, and con­sider it the high­est com­bi­na­tion of man’s artis­tic and en­gi­neer­ing abil­i­ties.”

Thomas has been a part of the Ar­madillo’s grow­ing fash­ion com­po­nent for the past 21 years and has been a leather smith for 43 years. His son Shawn has joined him as a busi­ness part­ner, which is no sur­prise con­sid­er­ing that as a 2-year-old he “worked his first art show sleep­ing in a bas­ket be­low a sales ta­ble.”

Thomas uses ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign meth­ods to form un­usual shapes into prac­ti­cal leather bags.

“I love an­gles and con- tours,” he says. “I try to make in­ter­est­ing shapes that fit a woman’s form and her prac­ti­cal need to carry per­sonal items in a com­fort­able bag.”

Screen prints with vin­tage style

Join­ing Ar­madillo’s new wave of cloth­ing de­sign­ers this sea­son is Vic­to­ria Cor­bett, who grew up in Eng­land but now lives in Austin. The mul­ti­tal­ented de­signer is also an il­lus­tra­tor and mul­ti­me­dia artist, giv­ing her de­signs added depth.

Cor­bett spends much of her time do­ing the things she loves most: draw­ing, paint­ing and de­sign­ing. She’s in­spired the most from turn of the cen­tury il­lus­trated man­u­als, Asian art and hand drawn il­lus­tra­tions.

Ar­madillo shop­pers can ex­pect to see a wide va­ri­ety of her hand il­lus­trated and screen-printed cloth­ing, ac­ces­sories and home wares. Cor­bett says her de­signs such as her vin­tage men’s screen­printed ties cap­ture Austin’s rich­ness and cre­ativ­ity.

Cor­bett doesn’t think items have to be ex­pen­sive to have style or per­son­al­ity.

“I’ve of­ten found some great hid­den trea­sures at old junk stores and se­cond­hand cloth­ing stores,” she says.

Bead­work tran­scends decades

In­spired by art deco and Vic­to­rian pe­ri­ods, Robert Day of Robert Hen­drix Day Bead­work de­signs and works with beads and stones to cre­ate jew­elry to re­flect that love.

“Be­ing an avid gar­dener, chang­ing sea­sons will in­flu­ence my color palate,” Day says. “I of­ten say each piece is an ex­er­cise in color.”

Day’s bead­work show­cases in­tri­cate de­tails, mak­ing it wear­able art. The Austin-based jew­eler has been part of the show for 36 years and is ex­cited about the new de­sign­ers at the show.

“Af­ter all th­ese years, I still look for­ward to see­ing old friends, mak­ing new ones and shop­ping,” he says.

Screened and tied. Men’s hand screen-printed ties, $30, by Vic­to­ria Cor­bett.

El­e­gantly ruf­fled.

Vin­tagein­spired ruf­fled dress, $250, by Marla Du­ran.

A story in red and black.

Aus­tria crys­tal beads and Czech glass teardrop neck­lace and ear­rings, $225, by Robert Hen­drix Day Bead­work.

Freshly vin­tage.

Cor­bett.

Jersey screen printed scarf, $32, by Vic­to­ria

Rodolfo Gon­za­lez / ameR­i­Can-StateS­man

Vic­trola De­signs booth at the Ar­madillo Christ­mas Bazaar in Austin.

Warm and proper.

$169, by Meline.

Green but­toned al­paca wool sweater,

Bril­liant in blue.

The Phi bag, $169, by Thomas Leathers.

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