CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA-The ever-evolving Kevan Hall brought back old Hollywood glamour with new millennium touches on Sunday, showcasing his fabulous 2009 spring collection here in front of a full house at the Smashbox Studios.
Tia Mowry, Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon and Kasi Lemmons were among those that watched a stream of models glide down the runway in bold black-and-white patterns and in a bevy of designs in vivid colors such as chartreuse, salmon, aqua, solid black and midnight blue, navy and canary yellow. Hall, who designed Mowry’s wedding dress and has created red-carpet fashions for Vanessa L. Williams, Katherine Heigl, Tina Fey, Anne Hathaway, Edie Falco and Marcia Cross, kept his cuts simple with pencil-leg pants and skirts, form-fitting dresses and suits, and hemlines that stopped right at the knee.
ESSENCE.com met up with Hall backstage before his show and got the skinny on what went into yesterday’s show and what legendary designer inspired it.
ESSENCE.COM: Do you still get really nervous before a show?
KEVAN HALL: I do still, because you work so hard and you want the presentation to come off smoothly and seamless. So, I do get a little nervous, yeah.
ESSENCE.COM: Last year, Africa inspired your spring show. What was the inspiration for this year?
HALL: This year I’m paying homage to the 1930’s and 1940’s costume designer Adrian. Hollywood glamour. He dressed [Lauren] Bacall, Katharine Hepburn, Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and all those incredible, incredible stars. So I looked back to that. I just gave him a nod. It’s not literal, but just to look back at some of the great things that he did. I gave it a twist and made it my own.
Editor’s Note: Adrian was the baddest of the bad during the golden age of Hollywood. Once married to actress Janet Gaynor, he designed the costumes for the munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz,” the terrific haute couture dresses worn by Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell in the 1939 version of “The Women,” and provided costumes for stars such as Jean Harlow, Myrna Loy and Hepburn in various movies.
ESSENCE.COM: What is it that you think sets you apart from other designers?
HALL: I think it kind of starts with color. I always love to use really beautiful colors that enhance a moment. And also clothing that can be worn by women-beautiful women-where I’m taking into consideration her figure. Women with real busts and hips and the whole package, as opposed to just thinking about a rail-thin model. Women appreciate that I make clothes that they can enjoy and really have a sense of ease.
ESSENCE.COM: You’re really known for your red-carpet fashions, but do you ever design clothes for everyday women?
HALL: Every woman. Even in this collection you’ll see that and also with the Africa collection with easy suits and a mud cloth dress. That was one of the biggest sellers of that season. This season we’re doing some great, little dresses that are kind of deco-things that a woman can wear to lunch, can wear to work as an executive, or maybe she’s traveling.
ESSENCE.COM: You work a lot with Vanessa L. Williams. How did that come about and what goes into dressing her for special events?
HALL: Vanessa first came to me when she was singing at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s inauguration. I had met her years before but that was really when I got the opportunity to dress her. We hit it off very well and she just looks amazing in my clothes. Time after time when she wears the clothes, she ends up on the best-dressed list. She has an incredible sense of style on her own. She doesn’t necessarily have to work with a stylist. She can come in and she can select it. She knows what’s right when she puts it on.
ESSENCE.COM: Where do you take your brand from here?
HALL: We are in the process of launching a fine jewelry collection and also a ready-to-wear jewelry collection. We’re looking to branch into home products and handbags. We’re looking to be a lifestyle brand.
Here’s what Tia Mowry had to say about the collection: “I really like the colors. He’s not afraid to use colors or add feathers to something. He makes clothes that fit my body and I’m not rail-thin. And he just has an amazing, amazing aura.”
Click HERE to see celebs in Kevan Hall’s hottest designs.