The Pin Show Packs Attitude

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Roger Peters
    Rachelle Briton's fixation on tiered ruffles made for sweeping entrances by her models.

    There were organic jersey knits and prim lace-trimmed tops.

    But Pin Show VIPs and onlookers gawked at one-piece swimsuits with necklines that plunged below the navel, men's kilts and a staggering metallic-painted, full-skirted gown. The runway show at Thursday's event was just that -- a show. We had as much fun oogling at the pieces we wouldn't wear than the scores of new Spring designs we'd love to slink into.

    Let's be reasonable, though. The designers that managed to entertain and serve the fashion-loving commonfolk among us are the names you need to know if you weren't properly introduced at Union Station on Thursday. Here were our favorite collections:

    Rachelle Briton: Bold colors, bubble hems and snarky details have been Briton's specialty, but her Spring 2010 collection is all about breezy gowns and deftly built ruffles. The designer can pull the softness off because of the tough-minded construction that still peeks through in jaw-droppers like the hearts showpiece pictured below.

    Salvage HouseThough the Web site's forthcoming, this label deserves a bookmark and regular check-up if you're into '40's-inspired collars and hemlines, light denim and indie rockin' knits. Salvage House takes tired vintage trends and makes their wearers look like money with sweet, tailored touches.

    Qétura: If there had been an applause-o-meter at the show, Abbiee Oyewole would have taken home the prize for crowd response. Vibrant, ethnic-inspired patterns with avant-garde toppers and pieces with a slight sense of humor (like one straight skirt in a heavy, girl-scout green) make Oyewole's Spring collection a good time.

    Nha Khanh: Khanh Nguyen closed the night with an elegant showing of dramatic pieces that used nontraditional materials in curious ways, from a tiny, gauzy white cocktail dress with knife pleats to stunning sheaths in wine-drunk colors.

    Pin Show co-founder and 2Enju designer Julie McCullough Kim said after the show that if not for the The Pin Show, she wouldn't have a place to show her designs in Dallas. She and partner Rachel Nichelson (Madeline Wood) hope the event continues to draw attention to the wealth of independent designers and potential in DFW for a solid slow fashion scene.

    "Slow fashion is basically just ethical design with an ethical supply chain, knowing who's making your clothing," Kim said. "We don't want people to be like, 'Oh, I'm designing here in my local economy until I get bigger, and then I'm going to China.'"