The Liberty Hotel's Thursday night got an extra infusion of style yesterday evening with the launch reception for the Emerging Designer Fund, celebrating their first recipient, David Chum of Selahdor. The fund, founded by Brigid Nastasia and Joseph Gordon Cleveland of Contra with title sponsorship by The Liberty, was created out of the duo's desire to "provide funding, mentorship and a wealth of services to one visionary New England fashion designer annually". Chum, a good friend of Nastasia and Cleveland, was the inspiration of the fund, because last summer he no longer had the personal resources to keep producing his line despite the buzz he was receiving. Through EDF, funding, resources and pro-bono services from photographers, hair and makeup artists, models, publicists and more are offered to it's annual recipient. All of which are not easy things to organize or afford when you're a young designer who ends up wearing many hats because success is not solely in the clothes you make.
The private reception before the regularly scheduled Thursday night go-to, Fashionably Late, was held on the mezzanine balcony filled with the seen-and-be-seen. To set the mood for those who weren't there, Marilyn Riseman held court with Salvatore DeGeorge while designer Michael De Paulo chatted with Stuff's David Wedemeyer. Calico's Elissa Paquette (nice to finally meet you!) snapped up pics of pretty young things, including JEM Home's Meggie Sullivan. Designer Daniela Corte, accompanied by her creative director, Ricardo Rodriquez, sported a new super-short 'do that heads turning while stylist Aricia Symes-Elmer and swim designer Jill Palese mixed and mingled. As the Styleboston cameras followed David Chum around, EDF co-founder Brigid Nastasia effortlessly floated around the room, engaging guests (she was wearing the sickest bracelet...) as I'm sure her parter, JGC, was busy getting the models out for viewings with the help of Mizu on hair and Kacie Corbelle doing makeup, since I only spotted him briefly during the reception.
Not that all of that distracted from the most important part of the night - the clothes. The stoic models were sent out two at a time for guests to really get an up-close look at the pieces (much appreciated from a media standpoint). Chum focused on creating "anatomical seams" that resulted in precise structural detailing. His use of pleats to bring a minimal texture to each piece is evident in the full skirts and dresses which walk the line between playful and a modern severity (meant in the best possible way). Having seen Chum's previous F/W 2010 collection that was an all-black palette, I was pleasantly surprised to see a strong mix of neutrals and grays. His outerwear pieces standout the most to me (do you know how hard it is to do a sleeve?), which alone make for a statement piece. There was clear direction in the collection and it's nice to witness Chum's progression as a designer. He makes the complexity of his designs look easy to wear and the varied lengths, mix of fabrics and most of all, colors, look as if they can be found in a variety of closets.
After the jump, get a peek at Selahdor's F/W 2011 collection. Note, I was unable to shoot the entire collection, but these pieces will leave you wanting more.