On February 7th, 2014, the gallery space at Helen Mills in Chelsea was packed to capacity. As the DJ spun the freshest beats, fashionistas and fashionistos worked the room, striking poses, dressed in their Fashion Week best. Shea Moisturizer was on hand to display their fantastic line of beauty products, which also includes a brand new line SheaMoisture Color Cosmetics, distributed exclusively at select Target stores. While I mingled, I had the privilege of running into two charming women from Arkansas. They were the mother and aunt of Bryant Phelan, the young handbag designer behind O’Faolain by Bryant Phelan. A selection of his bags, along with bangs from ZAAF(TM), the official handbags sponsor, would be carried down the runway by Korto’s models. Their excitement was palpable. Bryant’s aunt, a former schoolteacher, told me how much they all love Korto in Arkansas because “she’s such a great designer.”
There is no doubt that Korto Momolu knows how to make clothes for women. While many of her male colleagues over the seasons on Project Runway have been read for designing gowns no real women could wear, i.e. braless, silk, red carpet, Korto knows how to create ready-to-wear pieces that can hold up to a 9-5 job then a 5-9 evening. This is quite apparent from her “Urban Coup” collection.
With the guests in their seats, the lights dimmed and the instantly recognizable opening bars to Madonna’s hit “Vogue” came over the sound system. What came next was a tight, clean, modern collection of everyday clothing for the strong, confident urban woman.
Radiant Orchid is Pantone’s Color of the Year and Korto Momolu ran with that suggestion, featuring several pieces in the rich, deep purple color including coats, sweaters and dresses. But following this trend and this hue, crisp black, deep teal and even an army green all came together to color this essential Autumn/Winter 2014 collection. Here are some of my favorite looks:
Of course, I could go on and on about the versatility of the separates, the exquisiteness of the gowns and dresses, and the fierceness of the coats and outerwear. But, I think you’ll be able to see that for yourself. Take a look at the final runway walk for the entire collection.
Korto Momolu has come a long way since season 5 of Project Runway. She may have been knocked down, but she got up, again and again and again. And like a true lady and a true talent, she showed the design world–and her fans–that she was never, and will never, be “out.”