Much is said about designers showcasing their own clear 'voice' or 'point of view'. But to build a business, a designer needs to know his clients. Who are the women for whom he is designing? What are they looking for in their garment? Last night, Firas Yousif seemed to be designing for two different types of women. It was a show in three parts - casual, cocktail looks for younger women, glamourous red carpet looks for the older set, and wedding gowns for them both.
Among a crowd of obvious Yousif clients (sophisticated, uptown, lovely), the 43 year old Boston College grad delivered a number of relaxed looks - many were pretty, if unremarkable. A parade of basic cuts in an orange, yellow and periwinkle print were routine. A series of satin and shimmery combinations seemed almost Barbie-esque, with the exception of a chic ombre sheath. Several Asian inspired cocktail dresses followed, which worked best when cut simply, sans ruffles or scalloped edges.
The crowd breathed a sigh of pleasure when the show continued with Yousif's red carpet looks. Clearly, this was more familiar territory. Basic black gowns were made memorable with beaded collars and waistlines. A Gatbsy-like, iridescent teal number could have easily gone too far, but instead looked uncommonly elegant. Overall, the red carpet looks were stately, dignified.
The outright cheers began as the bridal gowns hit the runway, and for good reason. It was here that Yousif's creativity met masterful tailoring; the result was a spectrum of dresses, some for the fairytale princess, some for her glamourous stepmother. Several gowns were covered in decadent beadwork, some ruffles, yet all read cosmopolitan. A modest, unembellished gown with long, cut-out sleeves could be imagined on both Keira Knightly or Susan Sarandon. By the end of the show, several Yousif clients were wiping tears from their eyes, and as the designer took the stage, clients - of all ages - rushed to bring him flowers.
The Tent at Boston Fashion Week is at The Mandarin Hotel Boston and The Shops at Prudential Center.