On February 8, 2014, Kati Stern showcased Venexiana’s Fall 2014 looks during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York that mixed a little bit of punk with old-time movie glamor. In a backstage interview with SJ Chronicle’s Michelle O. Dente, Hungarian-born designer Kati Stern said that “punk rock tapes are running continuously” in the background when she designs. But she added that after working some long hours, “when I get home, it’s so late already that all I do is turn on cable with the old films. … Whatever is running there is what I watch.” Coming across “Top Hat” with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing cheek to cheek “started a whole chain reaction.” Many of Stern’s sleeker looks played with proportions, juxtaposing bulkier faux fur shrugs in varying shades of blues, browns, and blacks with shimmering gowns.
Several gowns featured asymmetrical shoulders in varying styles. In this group were an elegant ebony gown with long sheer sleeves and another striking black look with gold accents.
In addition to showing shoulders, some of the gowns featured plunging necklines and cutouts, including one gold look with a heart-shaped cutout.
Embellishments also played a big part in the collection, with many of the gowns featuring vintage-looking adornments.
A rather playful slithering serpent figured in some adornments.
“Top Hat” inspired not only the gowns but also the hair, which models wore twisted up into braided buns. But Stern said that another movie icon, Marlene Dietrich, inspired the makeup: smoky eyes and dark lipstick.
The movie inspiration is actually a departure for Stern. “90 percent of the time,” she told SJ Chronicle, “the inspiration is the fabric.” Fabrics, though, still played a starring role in this collection, as seen in some of Stern’s rich sequined pieces and luxurious velvety gowns in colors ranging from a muted mint to a burnt orange.
For some of the 68 gowns in the collection, Stern used prints, ranging from muted florals to bolder looks, to add spice to the mix.
Stern also played with dramatic trains of varying lengths, as seen in these citrine, seaweed green, and opalescent gowns.
Offering exquisite fabrics, focused tailoring, and witty embellishments, Venexiana is the go-to fashion house for rock-n-roll haute couture. Launched in 2003 by Stern, the collection is sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and other leading retailers around the world. Born and educated in Europe, Stern is also a professional architect, a classically trained pianist, and a flamenco dancer.
Stern told SJ Chronicle how the line got its name: “I live in Venice part of the year and Venexiana is the Italian 18th century pronunciation of ‘Venetian woman.’ So this is my tribute for my beloved Venice.” See more of her designs on Tumblr.
Fashion Designer: Kati Stern
Styling: Kathie Young & Associates, Inc., Willie Dean
Makeup Artist: Dani Fonesca with Alcone
Hairstyling: Philip Pelusi Salons
Shoes Andrew Stevens, Carlos by Carlos Santana, Nina
Lingerie Shubue Couture
Show Direction Judy Rice
Music Ben Brunnemer
Editor in Chief: Semant Jain, Ph.D.
Article Editor: Elizabeth Nash
Fashion Writer: Linda Zid
Interviewer: Michelle O. Dente