Kati Stern (Venexiana’s creator) doesn’t hide her affinity for punk music infusing it as an integral piece to the presentation at her shows.
t It’s an experience to see a delicate floral train (my date taught me that word) flowing behind a model (my favorite look of the show: that magical floral gown below) against the raw (if not sloppy) chords of The Ramones and other punk artists.
t Like punk music, the ultimate musical exploration into simplicity with its three-chord style and garage aura production standard, Katie’s designs are straightforward pieces that don’t overwhelm the eye, but invite the eye to follow their movement. The looks range from retro (’70s/’80s) princesses to dark queens and pastel fairies. Kati is not afraid to use any color; this year included floral prints and colors, coastal/ocean palettes and black patterns.
t Kati’s designs somehow mimic classic lines only achievable in fantasy; think of the illogical curves of Jessica Rabbit or the subtle but architectural employment of shadows unique to vintage Film Noir scenes. Indeed, Joan Fontaine or Barbara Stanwyck could sparkle in any of these gowns that, like the characters they portrayed, said so much without an actual spoken word.
t This year crystal punctuated Stern’s looks: clasps, straps, belts. This crystal blended effortlessly into each design (I imagine that it’s easy to get carried away with crystal), never overdone. The looks had an uncanny ability to pick up wind currents out of dead air like sailboat sails or autumn leaves. The effect is a hypnotic, spectral flow through Kati’s chosen fabrics, while remaining true to the soft lines of the model’s curves.
t My date, hardly easy to impress, was taken aback by just about every look, exclaiming words like “gorgeous,” and “amazing.” She was particularly taken by the high necklines on some of the Venexiana looks, this one being her absolute favorite:
t But it’s what Venexiana’s looks communicate that impresses me. I once was told by a girlfriend that she had “gone to Steve Madden because she was in a bad mood.” Feeling beautiful (inside and out) helped this girl feel better. I tried to understand this rationale in my male mind: Perhaps it’s similar to how I feel better when I play my favorite guitar. Venexiana’s gowns have that power to lift a person’s spirits.
t At formal events, many men are guilty of having an internal conversation/competition: “my date is the sexiest, smartest, prettiest one here.” I imagine any Venexiana gown would help make that argument as the gowns at the spring show gave the models a quality of walking on air.
t Since that girlfriend’s comments about shoes, I’ve noticed moments when women feel beautiful. They are small but inspiring: getting ready for a wedding in a hotel room and watching her turn in a dress in the mirror, satisfied. I even see it in my 6- and 7-year-old nieces who give a dress an approving swirl when they put it on for the first time. At its core, in my opinion, Venexiana helps a woman feel beautiful.
t Venexiana looks make a statement at any formal event. Able to portray feminine strength and elegance, the looks still pay homage to that youthful exuberance of wearing a gown for the first time.
t Whether you plan to wear a Venexiana gown, or just want to look, I suggest you do so. The gowns are art. And in this case, that art is just as fun to look at as it is to wear.
tPhoto credit: Frazer Harrison/Staff/Getty Images