Fashion Fusion

Austrian Elegance Hits the Runway in Houston

HCC's emerging designers take on Habsburg opulence in a royal-worthy fashion show.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen June 16, 2015

HCC Fashion Design students construct a Habsburg-inspired garment for "Fashion Fusion."

English speakers and premium cable viewers might assume the Tudor dynasty boasts the most gorgeously opulent reign in European history. Not so—the Tudors are but a minor cousin to the illustrious House of Habsburg, which ruled over the lion's share of the European continent for centuries.

Fashion Fusion: Viennese Splendor Meets HCC Couture
June 18, 7 p.m.
MFAH Caroline Weiss Law Building
1001 Bissonnet St. 

The highlights of the Habsburg legacy have arrived in Houston with the debut on Sunday of "Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna’s Imperial Collections" at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, on view through Sept. 13. The exhibit includes works by Caravaggio, Rubens, Tintoretto, Titian, Velázquez and other paintings by great masters that were amassed by the royal family alongside decorative art pieces, sculptures, Greek and Roman antiquities, armor, carriages, and of course, the costumes of the Viennese court.

It's the latter component of the collection that has inspired a collaboration between the MFAH and Houston Community College's award-winning Fashion Design program on "Fashion Fusion: Viennese Splendor Meets HCC Couture." The emerging designers have been tasked with creating original garments that serve as "edgy, contemporary" responses to the Viennese couture.

The inspiration: Court Dress of Countess Elisabeth Kinsky, possibly Vienna, c. 1905, silk, tulle, and gold embroidery, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Court Wardrobe Collection.

The top 20 results will be on display at a fashion show on Thursday produced in partnership with Tootsies, with awards handed out by a panel of experts including MFAH curator of European art Helga Aurisch and Tootsies creative fashion director Fady Armanious, with the top three garments to be displayed in the Kinder Foundation Educational Center at the MFAH for a week after the event.

A word of warning: though they may also hail from Central Europe, after you see all this Viennese-inspired finery, your Birkenstocks just won't feel as fancy anymore. 




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