Fashion & Beauty

New Artists at Smithsonian Craft2Wear

September 17, 2019

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MORE THAN 15 designers, new to Smithsonian’s Craft2Wear, will be displaying and selling their one-of-a-kind creations October 3 to 5, when the National Building Museum hosts this annual show. Even if you’ve been a regular visitor, there will be plenty to delight the eye. Here’s a sneak preview:

Jewelry designers making their debut include Brooklyn, New York-based Michal Lando, who transforms nylon mesh and silver into lighter-than-air necklaces and fluttery earrings. Lando has developed a technique that applies heat in order to shape and structure her materials into ethereal yet dramatic forms.  Allison Hilton Jones, who handcrafts her pieces at her studio in Pittsburgh, uses alternative materials, such as concrete and felt, within modern silver designs. Melissa Stiles worked as an architect for ten years before becoming a jewelry designer. She works in hand-pigmented resin, laser-cut stainless steel, brushed aluminum, powder-coated enamel, and silver to create a collection of minimal, durable jewelry in cheerful colors.

Among the new-to-the-show clothing designers are Mary Jaegger, who makes her multi-faceted scarves, jackets and dresses by reconfiguring silk textile remnants. Using methods like dyeing, stitching, piecing, pleating and quilting, she turns the fabrics into clothing using couture sewing techniques. Another first-timer is Marla Duran, who combines vintage-inspired patterns with Asian-inspired elements in her limited editions and one-of-a-kind pieces.

LEFT: Angel Forbes Simmons‘ textiles, like this cyan-blue alpaca shawl, are made on commercial looms at her family’s farm in Prince Georges County, Maryland, from their own alpacas and llamas. The shawls, blankets, capes and sweaters are blended with silk, bamboo and other natural fibers to create vivid, saturated colors. ABOVE RIGHT: Amanda Hagerman is inspired by textures and patterns of rocks, ridges and ravines. Using recycled silver, vermeil and solid gold, she crafts her pieces in her Maryland studio using a variety of traditional and old-world metalsmithing techniques. This statement ring pairs an aquamarine and a clear quartz to blend texture with sparkle. BELOW RIGHT: Richmond, Virginia-based Nina Zabal‘s love of color, shape and pattern inspires her playful, contemporary earrings.

LEFT: Michal Lando‘s ethereal nylon mesh Pod Necklace is also available in dark blue, bronze, mauve and burgundy, with a choice of clasps in gold or sterling silver. RIGHT: Mindy McCain‘s scarves and shawls are not only beautiful, they’re easy to take care of: hand wash with regular detergent, hang or dry flat and finish by steam pressing to restore the softness and shine.


LEFT: Marla Duran‘s cut-velvet top with a retro vibe would look terrific with a midi pleated skirt. RIGHT: Elizabeth Holliday‘s Cowl Neck Coat in Dusk Merino Wool will keep its owner warm. The look is structured, but comfortable. The high collar is made for extra warmth and coziness.

The Craft2Wear three-day event kicks off Thursday night, October 3, from 6 to 9pm, with an opening night benefit and preview party (tickets, $75, advance purchase only). Mingle with the artists, get first dibs on their one-of-a-kind creations and enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. For tickets ($75 each and includes a return ticket to the show on either Friday or Saturday), visit Smithsonian Craft2Wear.

Hours for the show Friday, Oct. 4, 10:30am to 7:30pm and Saturday, Oct. 5, 10:30am to 5:30pm. Tickets: $15 at the door; $13 advanced purchase. Buy tickets at Smithsonian Craft2Wear.

National Building Museum is located at 401 F St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 (Directly across from the Metro Red Line Judiciary Square Station, F Street Exit).


—Janet Kelly


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