February 17, 2013

Issa's Native-inspired fashions

Issa shows Native American-influenced collection

By Gregory KatzFashion week kicked up a notch Saturday night as Daniella Issa Helayel—best known by her middle name—showed a series of dresses and coats influenced by Native Americans, bringing a touch of the desert to central London.

Known as one of the favorite designers of the Duchess of Cambridge (formerly Kate Middleton), the Brazilian-born Issa has become a mainstay of the London catwalk scene.

She toned down her usually exuberant color palette, which has always brought a touch of Rio to London, in favor of more muted colors that evoked the American west. But the shapes and cut were glamorous, and knitwear tops that turned into cowl necks and balaclava-style headgear brought warmth and wit to the show.
Geometric prints, tribal warriors inspire Issa London

By Li-mei HoangModels strode down the catwalk in thick jackets with shearling and fur linings over geometric printed dresses, knitted jumpers and wide brimmed hats topped with eagle feathers.

The collection was inspired by the rugged landscape of the Navajo Indians, Helayel told Reuters backstage after the show.

"There are lots of feathers, lots of feather prints, it was also inspired by rugs, different textures and body paints," said Helayel, who counts the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William's wife, among her customers.
Comment:  Issa's comments about feathers and paint are a little stereotypical. But from what I can see of the fashions themselves, they don't seem to be stereotypical.

For more on Native fashion, see Native Threads at Walmart and Michaels's Design in Project Runway.

Below:  "British model Jourdan Dunn shows a creation by designer Issa during London Fashion Week, at Somerset House in central London, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013." (Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

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