A FEW WEEKS BEFORE RUNWAY HOUSTON, founder Omar Marcos starts to build momentum on social media. He teases his followers about the anticipated designer line-up, the forthcoming surprises, and the location—the latter a piece of critical information he doesn't disclose until one week before the show.
Marcos's technique proves effective: Hundreds of onlookers show up on Friday, October 11, the day of the show. Lines to park and to get inside the venue, downtown's Paper Co., can easily be confused for the Astros game. This crowd is eager to witness the event's 11th season, but in the meantime, we're entertained by all the luxury sports cars—Lamborghini is a Runway Houston sponsor—placed throughout the runway. Fast and furious, we pose for the 'gram, then finally take our seats for what has perhaps become the city's most anticipated fashion show of the year.
First on the runway are creations by Sameera Faridi, a local designer originally from Pakistan. Faridi kicks things off on the right note with a metallic silver-draped dress with ruffles, followed by transparent pieces with just the right amount of beads and printed metallic fabrics. An oh-so-pretty, deep V-neck black dress confirms that any of her designs would be right at home for a night of glam.
We catch up with Faridi after the show, who explains her modern take on tradition—"a fusion," she calls it—that was also present in her men's collection.
Next up are designers from the Art Institute of Houston, presenting brighter colors in satin, cold-shoulders, and one particularly eye-catching yellow open skirt over a blue printed jumpsuit by Tahrah Alshaikh. Jackeline Torres offers more traditional looks with ruffles, pastels, and longer skirts; Untitled Couture layers transparencies over bathing suits. Nnkea Briggs brings another dose of energy with fiesta-style gowns of asymmetric length, tulle skirts, and embellished tops.
Engomichu, a Peruvian-American designer, is back for his second season of the show with Collection Nomada: dresses in blush and soft hues, rompers with clear, straight lines, and a new line of handbags made in South America. His ultimate goal, he says, is to be part of each person’s journey, no matter what their destination might be. Based on his creations, we'd say he's certainly on the road to achieving just that.
Realtor, influencer, and Miss Texas 2018 Logan Lester enchants the crowd with her own top picks for the season in a solid range of colors and fabrics. Her curated looks range from from purple satin pants to a black-and-gold dress to an organza skirt atop fuchsia shorts. Lester tapped some of her go-to boutiques in town, like Elizabeth Anthony and Alchemia, to complete her looks, which will be available to shop on her Instagram this week.
As all good things must come to an end, we watch L.A. designer Aries Milan of the brand Kate Kills Pretty return this season to finish out the show with a selection of style essentials, like dresses and two-piece sets in butter-soft leather, animal prints, and metallics that send us over the edge. A neon jacket and a leather jumpsuit had us at hello, but now, we were saying goodbye.
"Evolution," we hear Marcos say at some point in the evening, a concept that he continues to define for Runway Houston. We'll have to wait for next season to find out its new meaning.