The Marriage of Figaro
The international award-winning owner and principal designer of Nicolas Villalba -- COUTURE.
Originally an evening wear designer, Nicolas now specializes in all things custom, including bridal, menswear, costumes, and linens. After graduating with a BFA in Fashion Design, Nicolas was chosen to represent the U.S. in the European design competition, “Etoilles de la Mode” where he became the first American to win the “Prix du Public.” He was also honored with the Fashion Group International “Rising Star Award,” the “Excellence in Design” award, and the DIFFA “Legend of Style” award. He was a two-time winner in the 2011 Dallas Voice Reader’s Choice Awards for Best Designer – a first for the magazine. Villalba does private label work for Stanley Korshak, Neiman-Marcus, TODD Events, and other high-end retailers. He can be reached at his design studio for new client consultations.
Abi Ferrin did not take a predictable career path, but her story proves that the America dream is alive and well. Born and raised in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Abi wasn’t exactly “in line” to become a big hit in the fashion world. While she began sewing when she was 5, and did in fact win a national McCall’s sewing competition when she was 13, Abi’s focus was the political world as she was lead by her passion for people and a desire to make a difference.
She got her degree with a double major in broadcast journalism and international government, and moved to Washington DC at the age of 20 where she worked for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer for three years. In 2000 Abi moved to Hollywood and started over with a job at Paramount Pictures. She picked up her childhood hobby, and began designing pieces to wear to industry parties. It didn’t take long for her unique creations to receive attention from celebrities and national media, but the 23 year old had a lot to learn before she was ready for the hype she received immediately. After enduring an abusive relationship which left her in debt and broken, she left Hollywood in 2005 and moved in with her cousin Lisa in Dallas. This proved to be a turning point.
In 2007 Abi Ferrin was named Texas’ Next Top Designer, a title that came with a pretty prize package which included placement of her product at Stanley Korshak, a trip to New York for fashion week where she took in all the major shows, $5,000 and a rent free loft to work out of for a year in the historic SouthSide on Lamar building in Dallas which is her boutique storefront to this day.
Abi’s unique and versatile designs are not the only element that set her apart. The Freedom Project, founded by Abi is the philanthropic arm and the foundation of the company inspired by her own experience and her sister’s lifetime commitment to helping empower people. The Abi Ferrin motto is Fashion with Freedom and Purpose, which comes full circle as a hand-made element is included on each item of her collection. “After experiencing personally what it felt like to be a victim of abuse, I know my purpose and am single mindedly pursuing it. While designing clothing that makes women feel confident and beautiful, I make them my partners in educating, empowering and supporting women who needed a voice. This also creates awareness of a global problem that is not fully understood through the exciting platform of fashion.”
Elizabeth Anyaa left Sierra Leone for Finland at an early age where she immersed herself studying textile arts and manufacturing at The Rovaniemi Institute of Industrial Art. Using fabrics fused from silk, and various wools Elizabeth creates timeless, ethereal, sensual, contemporary textiles that are exquisitely organic and spectacular. Anyaa uses all natural fibers and every fabric is custom created in her Dallas studio at South Side on Lamar. Her techniques include hand weaving, fabric manipulation, painting and fiber fusion resulting in 3-dimensional textiles with dramatic visual impact. Each piece is unique in its formation, draping and coloration. These are pieces to be admired, treasure and passed on.
According to Anyaa, “I admire the many aspects of felt. I see its fluidity in clothing and throws; its solid and structural elements in lamps, vessels and rugs; its simple nature in coasters and place mats; and its complex, painterly quality and texture on wall and window art. Most importantly, I enjoy pushing, breaking and exploring the traditional and contemporary boundaries of practicing textile art.”
Elizabeth Anyaa’s textile arts have been exhibited in Dallas galleries including Craighead Green, Mary Tomas, Scott and Cooner, One Arts Plaza, the Janette Kennedy Gallery. Her work has been published in Helsinki Sanomat, WWD, Dallas Morning News, PaperCity, FD Luxe, D Home, Modern Luxury. Most recent awards Craighead Green New Texas Talent 2012.
1880 1st Generation — At the age of 25, Johann Popken acquires a city building in a prime location, and opens his first apparel store in Hameln, Germany. He earns his reputation for having a unique interior design, the best price-quality ratio in town, as well as for his innovative marketing campaigns and outstanding customer service. Johann dies at the young age of 50, and in 1905 his wife Elisabeth Popken takes over the store. At an age of 19 their first son Conrad inherits the store and overtakes operations as his mother ages. Conrad dies at the age of 29 serving his country in France during World War I, resulting in the continuation of his mother running the store.
1922 2nd Generation — Their second son, Fritz Popken, takes over operational business. Fritz Popken has two sons, G.I. Popken and Friedrich Popken. He develops the company and tailored clothing for men becomes his core competence. In 1960, at the age of 64, Fritz Popken health is suffering, leading him to decide to sign a long term lease with a local entrepreneur to run business operations. The name Popken is used in Hameln until 1983 representing the leading most innovative fashion store in the city. The building housing the original store is still owned by the Popken family.
1968 3rd Generation — Married to Ursula Popken, Friedrich Popken opens his first children apparel store in Oldenburg, Germany. The upscale children apparel market is suffering due to discounters being able to work with lower costs and margins. Friedrich Popken therefore decides to change his business strategy and specialize in maternity wear. Furthering his concept, he opens more stores, starts mail order and a franchising branch. Just before the birth rate is falling and business weakens, he applies a new growth strategy called Ulla Popken: Young Fashion for Plus-Sized Women. Today it is number one in its segment Europe-wide with over 300 outlets.
1998 4th Generation — Edo Popken becomes a worldwide registered trademark. In 2001 Edo Popken creates his first upscale men apparel collection. He launches his integrated fashion retail concept in 2004 called Cosmopolitan Successwear. The Pro Fashion Lounge in Zurich is established as Edo Popken first store and is paralled by his on-line shop. He then starts a joint venture with Ulla Popken Ltd. Baltimore, MD, owned by sister Astrid Popken-Schneider, in order to grow his business in North America. Today the company is rolling out this concept globally via franchising, shop-in-shop and wholesale. Edo Popken Ltd. is aiming towards England, Russia, UAE and continuing further towards Japan.
She is the award-winning Creative Director and Designer of her own label, Nha Khanh, consisting of designs that focus on modern glamour, inspired by art, architecture and most importantly, nature. The designs are ethereal; meticulously constructed, and host an ease about them that allows for an effortless sensibility. The company offers seasonal “advanced contemporary” ready-to-wear; a custom Atelier collection, which hosts one-of-a-kind and custom pieces; as well as a bridal line. The Nha Khanh mission is to empower a woman with inner-strength through her clothing with a focus on “elegance with a modern edge.”
Michael Faircloth established his first couture salon in Dallas 30 years ago, and has quietly gone about gaining a serious reputation in the fashion arena. Michael’s elegant designs are geared toward women who recognize the beauty of a refined aesthetic. His international clientele heralds his couturier’s sense of cut as well as his discriminating eye for graceful detail.