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"Grand's Secret Catwalk" includes fashions by Jennyvi Dizon (top) and Tiffe Fermaint (bottom).
"Grand's Secret Catwalk" includes fashions by Jennyvi Dizon (top) and Tiffe Fermaint (bottom).
photos courtesy of Raymond Abril III and www.jentr

Grand Design

Don't stand on Grand looking grubby this week. While downtown's diagonal avenue may be better known for its streetwalkers than its catwalkers, the stretch of deserted industrial buildings turned art galleries moves toward mega modish during "Fashion Week: Grand's Secret Catwalk". For four nights, Four White Walls gallery will host runway shows featuring the works of more than a dozen local designers, each with a distinct new line.

Jennyvi Dizon and J.J. Jackson start the style soiree on Monday, November 14. Dizon -- whose work includes everything from "upscale casual" dresses in bold (often metallic) colors to frilly ball gowns -- will debut new pieces with "a retro feel, as well as some pieces that show more skin."

Jackson plans to unveil more of his "street world wise couture," which has been compared to the au courant of '70s punk, à la Talking Heads and Tom Verlaine. "My pieces are cutting-edge and daring. I'm reclaiming denim and restructuring it in my own way," says Jackson, who's used the material to make things like the "inside-out fractured slit skirt" and the "denim bustier/corset."


"Fashion Week: Grand's Secret Catwalk"

Four White Walls, 1023 Grand Avenue

Starts strutting Monday, November 14, and sashays through Thursday, November 17. Admission costs $5 each night. The doors open at 7 p.m.; shows start at 8. Call 602-705-4936 or visit web link.

For those seeking more casual couture, AI Apparel will showcase its original yoga pants, tank tops, Capri pants, and athletic jackets with love poems on the back. Local seamstress Allison Leigh will also unveil her latest.

The show on Tuesday, November 15, features the kitschy designs of "Sticker Club Girl" Lisa Jacobs. Known for her patchwork plaid and paisley purses, Jacobs also imbues her flowing beatnik dresses with lots of lush, green hues. She'll share the runway with designers Emily Jean from MLE and Kate Marrow of Alpha Girl. The evening's entertainment also includes poets, musicians, and belly dancers.

It's all about the boutique bling on Wednesday, November 16, as local jewelry designers Gloria Marsiglia (of Significant Art in Jewelry), Miachelle Cosmopolitan Accessories, Renate R. Horner, and Catherine Garrigan of Hellcat Metalworks show off their chic pieces. Garrigan, who creates all her pieces via "fabrication" (building and soldering from a metal sheet; no casting), will be showing all-new accessories, which she says also function as art. "Everything is wearable, but if you have to take it off, it looks like a sculpture all by itself," says Garrigan. "All of my stuff stands up on its own. And I like to work in different colors, with unusual stones. It adds a little bit of pizzazz."

Tiffe Fermaint caps off the event with a solo runway show on Thursday, November 17. Backed by beats from DJs Sleazy Sean and Aaron Z, Fermaint will debut her "Spring/Summer '06 Collection," which she says is split into three groups: Terrible Twenties ("think terrible twos, but oh so [much] more fun"), Juvenile Prints ("bright dyes, young and funky"), and Roots ("100 percent natural fibers, inspired by my Puerto Rican and Caribbean heritage"). She'll also be showing her first swimwear line, which she describes as "very sexy and relaxed."

While the four-day fashion fete may sound fancy, Jackson assures us it's all very awesome and urban. "Our clothes don't look like 4-H projects," he says. "We are the coolest motherfuckers you know."


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