Summer A La Mode Pt. 2: Confidence is Key

On the same day that Pride was celebrated, STRUT gathered at Allen’s Place, in downtown Houston, to continue their Summer A La Mode summer series. In celebration of Pride, the entry was free, and people started filling in the bar to see what was in store for this evenings event. I was told to “think dark”, when trying to figure out what to wear earlier in the day, so I assumed we’d be viewing designs that were not only edgy but told a story of darkness.

When the audience was introduced to the first designer, Tereza Suessman, and her elegant, lace gowns walked down the runway, I was pleasantly surprised. This was not at all what I was expecting. The dresses were classic. They held a sophistication about them that made you feel as if wearing one would give you all the confidence in the world, and they flowed beautifully with every model’s movements. I don’t wear dresses ever, but I wanted to wear one of these. I was truly blown away. This collection wasn’t a story of darkness, it was a ballad of grace, poise, and confidence.

As the clapping began for the finish of Suessman’s collection, the audience dispersed to refill their empty glasses, and prepare for the next designer, Danger Longhorn. With and epic name like that, I was now seriously wondering if the rest of the pieces would be so soft like the ones we had just seen. As the music for his collection began, and the first model came out, it was easy to see that this was the reason I was told to “think dark” about my outfit.

A floral straightjacket, worn like a blouse, with skin tight shiny leather pants was the most striking. The model was under the control of the jacket, yet she was in control of her body. It was a concept, that as a sociology nerd, you find fascinating, and instantly begin to try and analyze the message. This was the type of piece that made you want to get to know the designer, and what inspires him, because it is simply so badass. We’d see more leather come down the runway and more insanely kickass looking models who looked like they owned the whole room. It was as if the clothes made them feel like they could do anything they wanted.

These models, although in dark clothes, were exuding confidence just as the models in Suessman’s elegant gowns had. It started to become clear that it was the clothes, and the feeling they gave, that made the models rock them so effortlessly. These outfits, although completely different in style, had a way about them that made them seem powerful. The clothes were speaking to the crowd and saying, “I’m a forced to be reckoned with.”

We would see another set of Suessman’s pieces, this time matching the dark theme. These too, gave the same impression of the other collections; a confidence that cannot be silenced.

It was yet another lesson for me into the fashion world because I was seeing that it is a balance of how to wear a garment but also how it makes you feel. These designers, these artists, they make pieces that make you want to feel awesome. Whether a gown that makes you feel beautiful, or a pair of skin tight leather pants that make you feel sexy as hell, these clothes made you feel.

Instead of “think dark,” I should have been told to “think confident,” because that was truly the theme of Summer A La Mode’s second show. You really couldn’t ask for a better theme during Pride, and certainly couldn’t ask for a better lesson in life.

Who knows what I’ll learn next week, but I certainly can’t wait to find out, at Part Three.

Written By: Anna Clarke
Photos By: Jesse Greene