Jewelry designer Devon Leigh and Neiman Marcus fashion director Ken Downing
Altuzarra jacket, Magda Butrym floral dress, with Needle and Thread pink dress
Saint Laurent leather jacket multi-layered with a Victoria Beckham sweater, Dior Red gown and Giorgio Armani orange shirt dress
Valentino coat with Victoria Beckham dress
Saint Laurent gown
Saint Laurent jacket and blouse with Chanel skirt
Hand-beading on the Chanel gown and the organza 'feathers' on the wrap define elegant evenings.
Chanel takes a walk on the wild side with leggings.
Libertine coat worn over a Tom Ford Gown, fab earrings by Devon Leigh
Chanel coat over Alice and Olivia pant suit
Libertine jacket over shorts
Libertine jacket worn with a Cucinelli sweater and skirt
Libertine jacket worn with a Cucinelli sweater and Jenny Packham gown
Balenciaga big shoulder jacket over J. Mendel gown
Balenciaga quilted jacket, Oscar de la Renta sequin top and Celine leggings
St. John Jacket, Stella McCartney top, Narcisco Rodriguez tunic with Cushine & Ochs pant
Valentino jacket over Johanna Ortiz velvet dress
Gorski Fur worn over an Urban Zen Dress and Etro Coat over a Tom Ford top and Celine corduroy pant
Giuseppe Zanotti pink feather bootie
“If you don’t have velvet in your closet this season, don’t go out of the house!” Such was the daunting command that Neiman Marcus fashion director Ken Downing delivered to a bevy of fashionistas who packed the second floor of Neiman Marcus in the Houston Galleria to absorb his take on current fashion trends.
And the ladies lapped it up like kittens at the milk bowl.
With an insider’s intel and a comedic wit, Downing challenged the flock to think beyond yesterday into this season’s fashion trends. Yes, velvet is a must. Shoulder pads are coming back, bigger than ever thanks to Balenciaga. True fashionistas will be dressed in red this season. And bare legs are no longer de rigueur.
“I spent my entire career trying to get you out of stockings,” he declared. “Now I want you back in stockings!” Indeed, practically every look that he presented included wide diamond fishnets, many in pink and red.
Downing waltzed his adoring fans through a colorful array of fashions playfully layered beyond reason. An example of the look: an Altuzarra jacket, over a Magda Butrym floral dress, worn with a Needle and Thread pink dress.
As for the color of the season, “I am obsessed with the rich reds,” he said. “I like bordeaux and burgundy juxtaposed with bright red and shocking pink.” Lending reality to that obsession, Downing mixed a wild palette of reds in his designer selections.
Special guest was his pal, jewelry designer Devon Leigh, whose oversized earrings were shown with every look. As Downing noted, “Big earrings take 10 years off of every woman.”
Additional Ken Downing fashion insights
— It’s all about the ’80s, a return to that new wave spirit.
— Asymmetrical earrings are the thing, be it wearing only one major piece or two different earrings.
—Shorts are everywhere going into spring.
— Biker jackets are a must.
— Saint Laurent hoodies are bringing street fashion into the designer world.