Kelly Nishimoto Fall 2006 Collection - The Stellar Look That Has It All

Kelly Nishimoto Fall 2006 Collection

LA Fashion Week has come a long way from seasons past, and I was pleasantly surprised by a few collections being shown, and particularly impressed by Kelly Nishimoto.  Nishimoto's fall collection fulfills the modern woman's fantasy: to be able to go into her closet and effortlessly choose a look that affords her the ease of versatility she needs to feel beautiful, confident, and perfectly fashionable no matter where the day or night takes her, or who her audience is. Each look this talented young designer sent down the runway consistently delivered the definition of modern. Elegant. Classic. Edgy. Sophisticated. Sexy. Bohemian. Youthful. Comfortable. Refined. Opulent. Fluid. Timeless. 

Although I barely knew Kelly -I'd seen only a few pieces her rep sent over from the spring collection- I had the pleasure of spending hours backstage watching her prepare for her show.

Nishimoto is all things modern and desirable.  Not only is she herself a beauty, her fall collection can definitely be seen as an extension of her spirit.  With regard to the direction she has taken Nishimoto explained, 'It is a fusion of my heritage, half Japanese, half Scotts-Irish. I was just trying to bring them together in harmony as a tribute to my ancestry'. The fluidity of her cut, her attention to detail, and the fusion of dark jewel-toned silks, Scottish plaids and black lace are also representative of her personality, an alluring one at that.  Nishimoto has an incredible face (the type that you can't seem to take your eyes off of);  a bohemian energy (a mix of inner vibrancy, free spiritedness and enviable calm); a built-in elegance; and a natural knack for construction and attention to detail.

Photos by Arun Nevader

So, what's her story? She was born in the backwoods of Macon, Georgia to her craftsman/chemist father and jewelry designer mother.  Early on, Nishimoto did not let her lack of access to luxurious materials curb her creativity. She began using her talents at the early age of 13, when she made a wedding gown out of white garbage bags and a glue gun.  At 19, she created her first couture line out of colored Reynolds Wrap. The line made such an impression that the Miami Herald proclaimed her one of the 'Top Ten Designers to Watch'. A few years later, Nishimoto moved to Los Angeles, and saw an opportunity to shift the industrys' focus from shabby-chic to structured, and began making her line of Kelly Nishimoto Corsets.  Quickly becoming a favorite of celebrities, Nishimoto's corsets have sculpted the waistlines of Demi Moore, Gwen Stefani, Anastasia, Natasha Henstridge, Jenna Jameson, and yes, even Dave Navarro.

Photos by Arun Nevader

Backstage hairstylist Sean James and his Fred Segal Beauty team prepared their carefully chosen look for Nishimoto's show, which James describes as a mixture somewhere between ' whimsical English country and sleek Chinoiserie'.  To complement the hair, the makeup team gave models fresh, yet seductively smoky eyes.  I knew this imaginative designer was not at all driven by shock value. Clearly Nishimoto's desire was to simply afford a woman an opportunity to have all eyes single her out as an 'ideal' beauty.  When asked for whom she designs for, Nishimoto smiled and said 'People who care about style but want comfort and quality' I design things that are missing in my closet, that I wish I had when dressing for one occasion or another'.

As a model, I have walked over 300 runway shows, and worked with top designers that include Galliano, Armani, Alaia, and Versace. I've come to understand a telltale sign that a collection is desirable not only by monitoring my own excitement, but also by watching the reaction of the models backstage.  They're the ones who are exposed to a wide array of collections up close, and not only have the first opportunity to wear the clothes, but also to feel the energy and response the look elicits from all directions, including the audience and the photographers as they walk the runway.  In this regard, Kelly Nishimoto is a super success.  The models wanted the clothes for their own and were busy discussing Nishimoto and the outfits they loved (instead of anything but), each feeling great in what she was wearing.

The presentation on the runway was equally embraced. Nishimoto's vision commanded the audience's attention whose eyes were fixed on the models as they sashayed down the runway.   Photographers snapped pictures as if each look was the finale dress with many a close-up on detail, another telling sign that the collection was an overall hit.

Opening the show in a princess cut flowing plaid dress and a large wooden bauble necklace came the fresh face of Olympian Tara Lipinski.  Next came a beautiful strapless dress with a fitted bodice and a six-tiered ruffle skirt of which I was particularly fond. Throughout the show the variation on dresses didn't stop: fitted silks; wraps; a feminine version of men's smoking jackets; shifts; bohemian plaids; Asian printed caftans; ethereal virgin silk gowns (that were oh-so-sexy); and black lace. The lace was cut long; cut short (like a 60's mod tunic with a dark red slip dress underneath); and even applied over a plaid strapless bust with a see-through dotted lace torso and brocade that dropped to the floor.

Nishimoto's versatile collection included bubble skirts; feminine and fitted blazers;  pencil skirts embellished with peacock feathers, willowy flowing pants. plaid knickers ; corset belts; and backless blouses.  A pair of short overalls in forest green silk with appliqued hearts sewn in put a smile on many a face, while brilliant a deep red silk dress with Swarovski crystal buttons and elegant cargo pockets was a particular favorite for model Caroline D'Amore. 

There was an encouraging sensibility about the choices Nishimoto made in pairing dresses with coats which need be applauded. The coats were comfortable, the dresses were flowy, and the look worked effortlessly to satisfy a woman's ever present predicament: warmth versus elegance.

When asked what inspires her, Nishimoto again smiles, 'I dream up a lot of my collection, in the middle of the night. Actually, while I'm sleeping' things come to me and I realize that it has to be made. I can't stop thinking about it, until it is'.

My favorite pieces of the collection are hard to pinpoint, because I genuinely felt equally drawn to them all, and would have taken home 95% of it had I had the good fortune to do so. Perhaps one of the most stunning dresses was on the svelte body of a 6-foot model, that due to an oversight in an otherwise seamless presentation only appeared in the conclusion of the show. It is a black silk off the shoulder number with a low waist and a small accordion style mini skirt with a two-inch silk band around the bottom that kept it structured to the body.  If you have the body for it, it's a stunner.

Throughout the rest of the day I caught some other shows around SmashBox, and spent some time in the VIP Lounge (where fashionistas, editors, and celebrities conduct interviews, grab a drink, talk collections and catch their breath). In addition to trendsetters literally grabbing my arm to ask which designer I was wearing, the word in that room was definitely clear.  Nishimoto is the little darling to watch, she's making her mark and is well on her way to join the Vera Wangs, Donna Karans and Alberta Ferrettis of the world by offering fashionable women exactly what they want -a look that has it all.

 Find Out More about Kelly Nishimoto Click Here

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