Deborah Ferguson, NBCDFW.com
As he showed us his latest sketches, Grant Mower couldn't stop talking about his current design obsession.
"I don't think of a piece as flat; I envision it on a model, coming down the runway. My favorite concept right now came to me like that; I call it the chandelier coat. It's inspired by Swarovski jewelry designs, and I picture it as longer, in duchess satin maybe, covered in long, swingy crystals that reference a gorgeous chandelier."
Prepare to meet Mower, an 11-year-old fashion design prodigy from Flower Mound, Texas and recent winner -- the youngest ever -- of the annual Terry Costa design contest. Though a devotee of Karl Lagerfeld and fan of more obscure work from labels like Seduzioni Diamonds by Valeria Marini, Mower is truly his own visionary. He left us, literally, speechless with his perspective and his presence. Thus, we give you Mr. Mower in his own words.
On the difference between a designer and a haute couturier: "I don't want to be only a designer, not that there is anything negative about that. But, I like to think beyond ready-to-wear. A true haute couturier designs beautiful, original things that are unlike anything else. They set the trends that designers follow."
On his early fascination with jewelry: "I've always loved shiny things. When I was little, we'd be in church and I'd crawl under the pews, go to women I knew, and ask to borrow their jewelry! They'd give it to me because I always brought it back; I just liked it. Now going to Swarovski in the Galleria is my favorite; everything in there is just awesome."
On winning the Terry Costa contest and appearing at the FGI Awards this Friday, November 19th: "I was definitely surprised; I couldn't believe it, and it still doesn't feel real. I'm really happy to be going to the FGI Awards, Jan Strimple is amazing for inviting me and making this happen. I'm designing a gown in honor of the event; it's going to be two-pieces, a strapless gown in flocked velvet with a more architectural top-piece that crosses and drapes over the shoulders. I'd love for that to be in muted paillettes with a wine-colored lining, but we'll see. That fabric may be too expensive."
On his signature as a designer: "The lion has always been mine. I try to work it into as many designs as I can, and I want it on my label someday. I also love the color red."
On how he feels women look the most beautiful: "I like to see something left to the imagination, appeal but with modesty. I just think that type of dressing is more interesting. I also love metallics, overdone shoulders on a jacket, long-sleeves, and high-slits in a gown if it's done well."
On what he likes about his room: "It's quiet but still edgy and interesting. I love the accent wall my mom (Moanna, an interior designer) did, the metallic stripes aren't too loud but their cool. I also love the vintage sewing machine my mother gave me; it's on my dresser."
On Dallas stores and people he is inspired by: "My sister, most of all. Because she's just beautiful; I use her as my model a lot. I really like Forty Five Ten because I can see all of their amazing designers' work. Seeing the fabrics and the high-end clothing is always fun and makes me want to design even more. I like Jan Strimple's style, and I like Heidi Dillon too. They both seem to dress just for themselves and what they love."
On what's on his TV and IPod: "I like Snow Patrol, Train, Owl City, LaRue; of course, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry I love. I like their style too. Selena Gomez and Ashley Tisdale songs are on here too. I watch Glee when I can, and I would so want to dress Diana Agron for a red-carpet."
Keep up with Mower on TheFeast.com, or buy a ticket to the FGI Awards to catch him in person. Also attending the Terri Provencal co-chaired event to receive awards this year - the Ylang23 design team, Kent Rathbun, and Nest Jewelry to name a few. See you there.