On Friday, July 9, a team of innovative designers changed the face of fashion forever in Santa Cruz, in a powerful, dynamic, creative, inspired, gorgeous way. With the incarnation of The Thistle in the Kiss fashion show at Stripe, a popular clothing, jewelry, and house wares boutique in Downtown Santa Cruz, we saw fierce fashion hit the runway in a show like nothing we’ve seen here prior. It felt like you were a privileged invitee at a top-notch runway show at Bryant Park. And there at the center of everything was apparel designer Alexis Meschi of Lex Designs and accessories designer Terry McInerney of Nuala. Together, the pair joined creative forces with the staff of Stripe, who created an original line of jewelry for the show, and the team threw an unforgettable fashion show that will be gushed about for a long time.
They excelled at each stitch, each ruffle, every dripping jewel, every bow, every piece of leather and hardware. The resulting creation of a several months long collaboration was an inspired collection of beautiful designs that reminded you of a chic woman’s hard day at the office, with a job that requires her to be on the cutting-edge of fashion, and take a lot of risks. It reminded you of Anthropologie if they pushed things a lot further. Truly, though, the collection looked like anything you might see on a professional runway at a top designer’s show.
From the beginning of the evening to the end, the entire production was well conceived and there wasn’t a misstep. It was a flawless party and fashion show. From the ambiance at Stripe, with beautiful clothes to fawn over hanging on racks, and vintage finds in every corner, the store meets any fashionista’s daydream. There were displays of each designer’s work—a table full of newly designed leather cuffs, belts, purses and more from Nuala, original jewelry with a romantic flair by Stripe, and shirts and more by Lex Designs.
Wait staff perused the venue and passed around appetizers and drinks. People milled about, checked out the merchandise, and buzzed about fashion (a first in this town), until the show started. Upon its commencement, two dancers in cages above our heads rocked out to eclectic music. And then each girl came striding down the runway.
What made this show particularly unique is that it had a twist—Meschi created 10 stunning designs, one outfit worn by each girl, with accompanying, outstanding accessories by Stripe and Nuala. After the first round of designs hit the runway, the women went backstage to get a little “roughed up” looking—more makeup, hair fuller and wilder, ripped up stockings, and the like. Then they came out wearing the same designs, but each was altered somewhat—more ruffles, leggings, a shorter dress, and so on. And then they did this a third time around with even more edge. The result showed us that fashion is versatile, and a single outfit can be exquisitely designed in myriad ways. It also revealed to us that Santa Cruz has officially birthed three new stellar designers in our midst—Nuala, Lex Designs, and Stripe. Look for them someday in the fashion Bible, Vogue, and on the New York runways. There’s no doubt that their futures will be wildly successful.
For more information on the designers or the show, visit madebylex.com, nualaleather.etsy.com, or stripedesigngroup.com.