A flair for the dra­matic

Hous­ton’s Enid Al­manza sees ou­tra­geous pos­si­bil­ity in all sorts of ma­te­ri­als for avant-garde cre­ations

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - ZEST - By Joy Sewing joy.sewing@chron.com STAFF WRITER

There’s noth­ing or­di­nary about Enid Al­manza.

Al­manza wears fur, feath­ers, bo­da­cious wraps and lace gloves to the gro­cery store. And like the ec­cen­tric de­signer Karl Lager­feld, Al­manza is rarely seen with­out his dark sun­glasses. Even the fash­ion mod­els who work with him say they don’t see his eyes much.

“I don’t do this to be pre­ten­tious,” says the 26-year-old fash­ion de­signer, who’s a Mex­ico na­tive. “I’ve al­ways been dra­matic, but there’s al­ways a mean­ing. If I wear a mask of roses, it’s about the story of my grand­mother in Mex­ico who loved roses. Ev­ery­thing you see is based on a mo­ment I’ve lived.”

His fash­ion brand, House of Enid, spe­cial­izes in cre­at­ing pieces with an avant-garde spin. So there are golden masks made of zip­pers and tall crowns made of clothes­pins. There are body vests that look like ar­mor made from plas­tic tub­ing and dresses crafted of vinyl and alu­minum.

In 2013, Lady Gaga wore a pair of his sun­glasses made of soda cans for the “Lady Gaga and the Mup­pets Hol­i­day Spec­tac­u­lar.” That put Al­manza on the map in­ter­na­tion­ally, but still, in Hous­ton, there was a puz­zled re­sponse to his work.

“I was too ou­tra­geous, and Hous­ton didn’t get it. Some­times I doubted my­self, but I treated what I did like I was Chanel even though I had $5 in my pocket.”

So Al­manza poured ev­ery­thing into his first fash­ion show held at the Heights Theater. That’s where he met creative part­ner Evey Giron, a grad­u­ate of the High School for Per­form­ing and Vis­ual Arts who spe­cial­ized in restor­ing vin­tage clothes.

She hap­pened to be drop­ping off a gar­ment for a client at the theater when she saw pho­tos of Al­manza’s work and was then in­tro­duced to the de­signer.

“I was shocked, moved and in­spired by what I saw,” Giron said. “I knew I wanted to help with his work, so I went home with him.”

Ac­tu­ally, Giron spent the next three days in Al­manza’s home stu­dio help­ing him sew and con­struct gar­ments for his show. The two worked non­stop, sur­viv­ing on “Red Bull and dough­nuts” to get the work done in time. But they al­most missed their big mo­ment. The day of the show, both Al­manza and Giron over­slept and nearly missed it. “I fell asleep over the sewing ma­chine,” Giron said with a laugh.

Still, the House of Enid’s de­but show, held on Mother’s Day 2014 to a packed au­di­ence of 500, changed Al­manza’s life: “It took me from be­ing an ama­teur de­signer to a true fash­ion house.”

Af­ter­ward, Al­manza set off for Europe for three years, trav­el­ing to Italy, Spain, France and Ger­many to hone his skill and ex­pand his brand. He re­turned to Hous­ton even more fo­cused on his craft and opened the House of Enid at Sabine Street Stu­dios, where he uses a va­ri­ety of tex­tiles — vinyl, scuba fabric, alu­minum, plas­tic tub­ing, knit­ting yarn, se­quins, crys­tals, pearls, etc. — to cre­ate his vi­sions, from $25 photo prints to $5,000 masks and dresses.

Al­manza and Giron are cur­rently work­ing on the “Creation” col­lec­tion with a fash­ion show planned for later this fall.

Al­manza cred­its the House of Enid’s growth to its 27,000 In­sta­gram fol­low­ers. “Our suc­cess comes from the di­ver­sity of peo­ple see­ing their re­flec­tions of them­selves in what we do. The House of Enid is a shin­ing light of hope.”

With that, Al­manza gen­tly ad­justs his black rooster-feather jacket on his shoul­ders.

Lager­feld would be im­pressed.

Pho­tos by Melissa Phillip / Staff pho­tog­ra­pher

Avant-garde fash­ion de­signer Enid Al­manza, sec­ond from left, cre­ated looks mod­eleled by Bran­don Arvie, left, Markus Williams and Baseme Osuamkpe.

House of Enid

Lady Gaga wears a pair of glasses by the Hous­ton-based House of Enid in the “Lady Gaga and the Mup­pets Hol­i­day Spec­tac­u­lar” in 2013.

The first time creative part­ner Evey Giron saw Al­manza’s work, “I was shocked, moved and in­spired.”

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