The Austin Chronicle

Celestino, Take Me Away!

By Anne Harris, May 10, 2009, 3:11pm, Chronique

The cocktail crowd was well-heeled and out in force at Spazio Interiors Thursday night for Austin-born clothing designer Sergio Guadarrama's fashion show to present Celestino Spring 2009 in support of Dell's Childrens Hospital. Rave reviews at New York's Fashion Week notwithstanding, one doesn't always expect to see inspiring, collectable clothing in a benefit show. It's almost always about a good cause, seeing friends, and a bit of theater. So after two glasses of the bubbles and a spin through the treasures in Lytle Pressley's showroom, our heads snapped to see clothing we want right now in highly wearable occasion-dresses and separates marching down the runway. Celestino's Spring '09 line, entitled "From Edo to Gres", takes as its inspiration the Japanese Edo Period, reinterpreted via the 1930's-era glamour and drape characteristic of Madame Gres, the often overlooked but hugely important French designer who dressed the Duchess of Windsor, Jacqueline Onassis, and many in between. Considering the proliferation of pleats and angles evident in so many Spring and Fall '09 collections, this makes eccentric, but perfect sense.

The success of the line hangs on keen proportion in sumptuous, sometimes unpredictable juxtaposition of fabrics and trimming, such as satin bordering prints, geometric shapes, and understated hardware for evening. While the Japanese influence subsides and resurfaces, references to Madame Gres were evident in every garment, from the liquid swank of a blushy silk satin shirt-dress, to the gravitas of an inky silk crepe and satin, matte on slink, floor-length gown worthy of Joan Crawford in her prime. Guadarrama, an FIT graduate, proves versatile enough to provide the second surprise of the evening: Options for both the gamine and more seasoned customer in equal measure. To wit, heavy black scalloped beading covering a pencil skirt and dress returns in the form of a clever yoke on a younger number, an authenticity that is refreshing at a time when "age appropriate" means Juicy Couture strollers. We expect Mr. Guadarrama's future to be as bright and sassy as his clothing, so remember, you heard it here. Enjoy this video of Guadarrama's spring collection and see if you can decide which numbers are for the ingenue in your crowd and which ones your mother-in-law would crave:

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