Thursday, March 5, 2009


TELA DESIGN STUDIO, Little West 12th Street, NYC

February 12th, 2009

Words, Images Judith Ecochard

Many thought the young designer Jillian Lewis, should have won Project Runway Season Four. The finalist has certainly succeeded in launching a clothing line/custom garb biz---- whereas some previous contestants seem to be struggling.

We actually ran into this talent on Broadway one day last year and knew something fab and different was going to emerge for the upcoming season.

So violà…a strong ‘official’ debut presentation at the beginning of New York’s Fashion Week that was very well attended.

And admired by those attendees…who were literally blown away, Mary Poppins style... en route to the spacious gallery/hair salon/art space Tela Design Studio- by the wind tunnel that manages to sweep through Manhattan streets off that watery landing strip, the Hudson River..


With smudged black pencil/shadow rimmed eyes and Verushka Hair straight out of the 70’s…Lewis veered away from her tres feminine designs, towards an aggressive turn for confident grrrllllls. We picked up elements of the urban warrior (charcoal clockwork hand-knitted armor leggings) …and 80’s hints - in the graffiti prints of a silk habotai gown, opaque hosiery, and a glam sequin blazer and pants (shown separately).

The protective elements in the cozy knits were sleek and feminine, transforming a hand knit black pom-pom cardigan, a terrific burgundy wing sleeve top, a Flashdance worthy wrap cardigan, and a royal clockwork dress that in other less skilled hands would be artsy craftsy---into chic garments that Upper Eastside fashionistas and trendsters will want.

We also love the wearability of the line ----for day to night outfits the textured pencil skirts, ruffled hem warm trenches, and sheer blouses are beautifully made. And a shimmery royal ombrè sculpted skirt is a versatile separate that can work the black tie circuit/casual dinners with equal ease.




THE CROWNING TOUCH--THE HAIR: We had a nice chat with Jeffrey Reitz, Creative Director of the Philip Pelusi/Tela Design Center…and got the scoop on the luscious locks that made Jillian Lewis’ ensembles editorially “complete” looks.

“We went with sleek on top -30’s- and curly hair on the bottom for a 70’s feel,” Reitz told us.

“I was inspired by the clothing, the mixing of the bohemian and elegant with a glamor to it.”

The asymmetric romantic hairdos took about two hours to achieve (yikes). The main product used was the REFRESHAIR™ dry clean shine, part of the extensive Tela Beauty Organics line (available at Barney’s). Electric curlers and curling irons helped to add the texture/volume to brushed out hair.

“The hair reflects what she (Lewis) did…a collaboration with her clothes and what she’s about.”

That's a great team.