The Tom & Lorenzo Archives: 2006 -2011

The Fashion Show Season 2 - Meet the Designers

Bow down, Isaac! You are in the presence of GREATNESS.

It's back, darlings! Hit it, press release!

"Bravo threads a brand new twist into an all-new season of The Fashion Show: Ultimate Collection, as fashion icon Iman and internationally acclaimed designer Isaac Mizrahi unveil 12 professional designers for a runway battle in a first-ever fashion house duel. Harper’s Bazaar’s Laura Brown will serve as judge alongside hosts Iman and Mizrahi. Premieres on Bravo on Tuesday, November 9th at 10/9c."

Interesting. So with Laura Brown on board, it's an almost exact Project Runway recreation: model, designer, editor on the judging panel. Also, what's with the name change? "Ultimate Collection?" Are they just being cute or have the parameters of the game changed?

Press release?

"The Fashion Show: Ultimate Collection will split 12 talented men and women into two fashion houses and each “house” must work together, not only to create a cohesive collection each week, but also to produce a live fashion show in every episode. From the set, to the music and lighting, these contestants will be pushed harder than ever before as they lay it all on the line for a chance to create the ultimate collection and to win $125,000 furnished by TRESemme® Professional Hair Care."

Hunh. Well, that's one way to go. We'll see. It seems to us that this is going to be more about the drama than the clothes because 6 designers on one team sounds pretty disastrous. Then again, "more about the drama than the clothes" pretty much describes the last 3 seasons of Project Runway.

One thing's for sure, the absence of Kelly Rowland is definitely a step in the right direction and, as much as we hate to say it, so is the absence of Fern. What we're REALLY looking forward to is Isaac trying to pull some of his diva shit in front of Iman and running off the set screaming with a stiletto heel in his eye. That's Emmy nomination right there, kittens.

Okay, they've unloaded all the contestants on us at once. We'll leave the prejudging up to you. Who are the bitches? The divas? The assholes? In other words, let's play F/M/K with the cast members.

Calvin Tran
Hometown: Urbana, IL
Resides: New York, NY and Chicago, IL

Calvin Tran earned his BFA from the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago and quickly landed a job as Creative Director for Zabari in New York City. Yearning to get his own designs in the market, Calvin opened his first store, Sac Boutique, in Chicago in 2000. The store became a hot spot and Calvin’s fashions were suddenly in demand, prompting him to open two more store locations in New York and another in San Francisco. Using the silhouette as a canvas, Calvin’s designs compliment the softness, beauty and elegance of the female figure. His edgy yet versatile designs have been recognized by publications such as The New York Times, Women’s Wear Daily, Lucky Magazine, and Cosmopolitan, and several celebrities have been seen in his clothing including Drew Barrymore, Brooke Shields, Gina Gershon and Piper Perabo. In 2004, Calvin was awarded the Style Breaker award by the Fashion International Group. In addition to operating his three boutiques, Calvin continues to find time to create his own designs while also presenting at various fashion shows.

Cesar Galindo
Hometown: Houston, TX
Resides: New York, NY

Cesar Galindo lives and breathes for fashion. As the youngest of 11 children, he was exposed to the fundamentals of design at a very early age. His mother was an excellent seamstress and his father’s sense of style gave him the ability to understand and conceptualize clothing design. As a teenager, Cesar made dresses and sold them in consignment stores around his hometown of Houston. Although naturally gifted, his formal training began when he worked for The Miami City Ballet as the assistant to Jose Varona III. While working under Varona, Cesar learned the intricacies of costume design –- the delicacies, elaborateness and the value in its beauty and construction. Cesar’s many accomplishments include working for Calvin Klein and Dolce and Gabanna, designing costumes for celebrities including Madonna, Mary J. Blige and Missy Elliot, and creating the wardrobe for Chaka Khan’s World Tour with Prince in 1999. Most recently, he has designed for Gwen Stefani’s clothing line L.A.M.B. for her Spring 2011 collection, designed Joan Jett’s red carpet and world tour wardrobe, and re-launched his own namesake couture cocktail and eveningwear label “Cesar Galindo.” An expert dressmaker with the flare for drama, Cesar’s dresses and gowns are lined in his signature fuchsia charmeuse. His motto? “Life should always be bright and colorful from the inside out!”

Cindy Ayvar
Hometown: Acapulco, Mexico
Resides: Van Nuys, CA

Cindy Ayvar was born in Acapulco, Mexico and immigrated to Los Angeles when she was 11 years old. Her family settled in the L.A. suburb of Van Nuys and since then, Cindy has embarked on her career in fashion both at home and abroad. After receiving her Bachelors in Fashion from Woodbury University in Burbank, California, Cindy moved to Florence, Italy to obtain her Masters in Fashion from the Polimoda Institute of Fashion Design and Marketing. With her exposure to European designs, techniques and trends, Cindy’s signature designs are influenced by the greatest European designers. Cindy’s love for nature inspires her the most because it fuels fond memories of her childhood. She has worked under celebrity designers and also has successfully launched a label, Goci, with fellow contestant and best friend Golnessa Farmanara. The two have had four successful fashion shows to-date.

David Caldwell
Hometown: Choctaw, OK
Resides: New York, NY

Raised in Oklahoma, David Caldwell was a true country boy who was active in sports, boy scouts and art. At a very young age his admiration for beauty and fashion influenced his style of dress. His mother’s support encouraged his decisions and nurtured his creativity. While in college, David initially pursued an Entrepreneurial Business degree at the University of Oklahoma. While on a study abroad program in Northern Italy, David’s life changed when he experienced the culture and history the region had in fashion and design. Once back in the states, David enrolled at Oklahoma State University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Design, Housing, & Merchandising with an emphasis in Apparel Design & Production. Upon completion, David moved to New York City where he presented a spring 2010 collection. He has worked with Zac Posen and Jonathan Kayne and has also dabbled in interior design projects. David’s approach to his designs involve his vision of people and nature. He is currently establishing his own fashion brand focusing on young professional women. Prominent designers like Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan, and Issey Miyake are some of David’s favorites, but his biggest influence is his mother "who is an intelligent woman with a strong sense of style."

Dominique Pearl David
Hometown: Ojai, CA
Resides: New York, NY

Dominique Pearl David is a 21-year-old fresh graduate of Los Angeles Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) with Cum Laude honors in the advanced studies program. The native Southern Californian currently resides in New York. She describes her own style as “slouchy chic,” and her designs are inspired by fairytales and the Japanese geisha culture. She is most influenced by designers such as Rei Kawakubo and Paul Poiret. Her craft in sewing has enabled her to collaborate with Disney, Guess Inc. Ramona West's online vintage store, Kanye West, and Gwen Stefani's line, L.A.M.B. She is also known for her collaborations to create custom prom dresses around the Ojai Valley. In addition to her collaborations, Dominique debuted her first collection on the runway earlier this year in Los Angeles.

Eduardo de las Casas
Hometown: Lima, Peru
Resides: Wilton Manors, FL

Eduardo de las Casas immigrated to the United States from Peru in 1996 after receiving his degree in Industrial Engineering. Shortly after arriving to the U.S., he unearthed his passion for fashion design. Keeping true to his zeal for the fashion world, Eduardo held down jobs in other industries to pay for design school. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in 2005 and received awards for Best Couture, Best Club Wear, Highest Achiever, and Best Future Designer in his class. Since then, he has designed for several well-known Florida clothing companies. Eduardo’s unique ability to combine diverse textures with contemporary designs enables him to create sophisticated, sexy and distinctive looks that are influenced by his Latin culture. His experience spans across all genres of clothing including menswear, women’s wear, swimwear, children’s wear, evening, bridal and sportswear. His designs have been featured in publications, fashion shows, and television series including She’s Got the Look and the Latin reality show Nuestra Belleza Latina. Eduardo’s designs have also been worn by celebrities and contestants of the Miss Universe pageant. In 2008, Eduardo was awarded the “Emerging Designer” Award at Miami Fashion Week.

Francine Simmons
Hometown: Newark, DE
Resides: Brooklyn, NY

Francine Simmons has always made it a point to set herself far apart from her competition. While growing up in Newark, Delaware, Francine set her sights high right from the very start. By the age of 12, she was sewing her own clothing and by high school, she designed her own homecoming and prom dresses. Francine continued her passion for fashion as a student at Syracuse University where she received several awards for her captivating and unique fashion designs. In 1998, she graduated Sigma Cum Laude and shortly afterwards, interned with famed designers Betsy Johnson and Nanette Lepore. She then went on to work as an assistant designer at Finity and in 2002, she was appointed to head designer at Central Park West. Itching to get her name out there and to create a company of her own, Francine launched her line By Francine, which used vintage detailing to create fresh new looks. Soon her designs locked in orders from Intermix, Nordstrom, Harvey Nichols HK, Fred Segal, Lisa Kline, Planet Blue, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Anthropolgie, and over 300 specialty stores across the world. Additionally, her clothing has appeared in major magazines such as US Weekly, Lucky, and Nylon, and have been worn by celebs Britney Spears and Elizabeth Hasslebeck.

Golnessa Farmanara
Hometown: Tehran, Iran
Resides: Los Angeles, CA

Golnessa Farmanara was born and raised in Iran until the age of 12, when she and her family moved to the U.S. and settled in Los Angeles, California. Her passion for art, photography, painting and sketching led to her to pursue her Bachelors in Fashion Design at Woodbury University in Burbank, California. After obtaining her degree, Golnessa attended Polimoda University in Italy and obtained her Advanced Masters degree in Fashion Design. Since graduating, she has assisted in styling some high profile music artists. She also works as the assistant designer to couture gown company, Deanzign, and part-time as a visual merchandiser/fashion coordinator for Davaco. Golnessa’s Iranian heritage is reflected in the vivid designs her culture encompasses. Currently, Golnessa is the co-owner of her label “Goci” which she started with her best friend and fellow contestant Cindy Ayvar.

Jeffrey Williams
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Resides: Brooklyn, NY

Jeffrey Williams was born into a family of 12 siblings -- seven boys and five girls -- in Seattle, Washington. At a young age, Jeffrey’s dream of becoming a fashion designer was supported by his loving mother, who was his biggest fan. In 2004, shortly before being accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, his mother passed of breast cancer, but she continues to be a huge inspiration. While at F.I.T., Jeffrey studied abroad at Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy, and developed a love for the culture and working internationally. He also participated in the prestigious Art Specialization Program, which led him to his professional career as in fashion illustration. Jeffrey graduated from F.I.T in 2009 with a Bachelors in International Fashion Design and a focus on Sportswear, Knit Wear, and Fashion Illustration. Jeffrey has worked with Alexander Wang, Peter Som, and international stylist Patti Wilson. Currently, he is working as a fashion illustrator, a fashion consultant, and a stylist, all while developing his next collection. Presently residing in New York, his design aesthetic is influenced by magical life moments, indigenous communities, the power of his dreams and his loved ones. Jeffrey believes that “there’s no such thing as what’s in or what’s out. It’s all about confidence and truth. If you feel divine keep it on, if not, take it the heck off!”

Mike Vensel
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Resides: Los Angeles, CA

Mike Vensel was born in Pittsburgh, PA and spent most of his adolescent years in the Carolinas and Georgia. He studied Architecture and Fine Arts in Miami before moving to Los Angeles. Once in L.A., he studied Visual Communications and Fashion Design. Mike has traveled extensively throughout the globe finding inspiration in the beauty of various cultures. He sees clothes as the "outward expression of our inner selves." Drawing upon legendary designers like Halston and Tom Ford, Mike has developed his own method of design. He steers clear of trends and finds influence from various decades as a point of reference to create a unique identity for his fashions. Mike's creativity does not draw the line at clothing; in addition to designing for his women's wearline "Mike Vensel," he is also a well known fashion photographer, publishes his own magazine, Kitten Mag, and is developing men's wear, cosmetics, fragrances, accessories, and shoes.

Rolando "Ro" Tamez
Hometown: Houston, TX
Resides: Houston, TX

Rolando "Ro" Tamez was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Rolando attended Wade College where he graduated with an Associates Degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising in 2008. His looks and attitude have always set him apart from the crowd and his approach to design is just as bold and daring. Rolando loves being able to design something pure and classic one moment and design something theatrical and "dragesque" the next. Keeping up with the trends of the current economy, Rolando has tailored his designs to include the budget-conscious consumer. He uses old clothing to recreate new designs that are one of a kind. Just this year, Rolando held his very first fashion show and was featured on two covers of Houston based JMG Magazine. Currently, he is in the process of creating an online boutique to sell his clothing. His best fashion advice is: “Never fear what anyone might think or say about what you wear. Confidence is the best outfit you will ever wear.”

Tamara Jones
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Resides: Chicago, IL

Tamara Jones is and has always been an ambitious young woman. Raised in Chicago’s west side, Tamara was the fourth of five children. Her curiosity and appreciation for fashion set her on the path destined for design. By the time she was in high school, Tamara was receiving orders to turn oversized basketball jerseys into trendy dresses. Although her designs were gaining notoriety and made buzz around town, the attention had its setbacks too -- at times, her materials and sewing machines were stolen, but Tamara was never deterred. Her talents were recognized throughout Chicago, and in 2003 she was awarded third place in the Illinois VICA Commercial Sewing Competition. After high school, she enrolled in Columbia College Chicago to pursue her Bachelors degree in Fashion Design. Adding to her recognitions, Tamara was a finalist in the Round Bobbin Emerging Young Designers’ and the Fashion Group International Design competitions in 2006. Most recently, Tamara’s designs graced the runway at her Alma Mater. Since receiving her bachelors degree in 2008, Tamara’s passion for fashion has enabled her to make great strides from being a seamstress for Nordstrom to creating and growing her own women’s wear line “4 Tamara Nicole.”

Season 2 Preview:

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