The models walked the Foley Gallery runway in Chelsea on Feb. 7 with a backdrop of black and white paintings, completely simpatico with the color palette of the 11-piece fall collection of Trinidadian designer Keishel Williams – casual to elegant – mostly black or gray. There are some with a splash of color.
The designer’s romantic bend rifts from an 1884 painting by the French artist Georges-Pierre Seurat. The women in the painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte wear fitted bodices over semi-fitted skirts, carrying parasols, and wear hats as they lounge on the grass along the river’s edge. Williams transforms the look, but keeps the romance in her “Sunday in the Park” collection.
The dresses mix tailored and soft feminine lines with added interesting detail and flourishes. One of her pieces sports a pale gray satin tailcoat. She adds her version of an ascot to a ring collar to bringing black and gray to her “little black dress.” She turns around a tie to run down an expanse of skin on the bared back of her formal floral-patterned dress. The fabrics are satin, some with a seeming quilt-like texture, and gray denim. Two incorporate floral prints furthering her summer park theme.
Hats are in her collection, too: A tailored velvet covered top hat, a straw bonnet-shaped fabric-covered hat suited for the park or her own reconstructed design, gripping the head with added color detail, furthering her La Grand Jatte theme.
The designer hails from the village of Toco (then, population 300) along the northern Toco region of Trinidad where her grandmother raised her. Her father was a painter and she always had art in her life.
Self-taught, she designed for pageants while in high school and had her first show at Toco Secondary School. She’s been in the United States for six years and has custom-designed privately, while also working in the fashion and entertainment industry. The scope and quality of this line is very impressive, especially considering that Keishel Williams is 25 years old.
Press galore covered this New York show and after the runway, models mingled with guests who got more time to look (don’t touch) the designs. Kudos abounded. Some women voiced interest in having a piece made. Photographs of the line will soon be on the website for fashionistas to see.
“The designs are created for all types of women and are made to order. I customize my designs based on personal physique,” Williams said. “I first start with a consultation with a client.”
The collection, under her Jlehsiek fashion house, is designed for the contemporary woman who exhibits her “inner art.” They’re new, smart, show style and are classic. The pieces from the “Sunday in the Park” collection run $350 and up.
Williams got the jump-start on Fashion Week that started in earnest Feb. 10 and runs through Feb. 17. New York is the epicenter of fashion in the United States. More than 800 fashion companies’ headquarters reside here and $466 million are generated during fashion week according to Mayor Bloomberg.