aren’t familiar yet with the work of New York fashion designer Cesar
Galindo, they will be soon. The intrepid designer is the latest
courtier to bestow the city with his couture costume creations, a
revue that will be on full display during the Skylight Music Theater’s
upcoming fall production of Rossini’s "La Cenerentola"
It’s not every
day that a designer preparing to woo the crowds at New York’s
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is cavalierly walking the floors of a local
theater. But that’s exactly what Milwaukee’s fashionistas got to
enjoy on a recent summer evening.
At an unveiling
of his Fall 2014 collection, CZAR by Cesar Galindo, at the Skylight
Theatre, Galindo wowed the crowd with his humble and friendly demeanor
and his edgy designs. The presentation was an introduction to the
extent of Galindo’s talents, and a preview of what is to come when
"Cinderella" opens Sept.19, sketches of which were laid out
for attendees to see on an alluring inspiration board.
ready-to-wear collection is an assortment of bodacious offerings —
separates such as his luxe leather hoodies — as well as svelte
cocktail dresses and chic pantsuits — all of which served to entice
attendees with rock-glam details, such as distressed sequins, vibrant,
colorful prints and effervescent snakeskin.
That sort of
minutiae may seem a little beyond the styles of the conventional
Milwaukee woman, but Galindo balances his bold assertions with classic
shapes and smart, exquisite tailoring. There’s a swath for every
generation or taste, yet his fashions feel far from disjointed.
It’s one thing
to look at Galindo’s designs in the pages of his look book — it’s
an entirely different experience to touch the fabrics and see how the
pieces move on the models in real time. One can’t help but to feel
an electric excitement when Galindo’s sketches for the
"Cinderella" lineup are revealed.
range from the playfully raunchy and garish dress reserved for the
show’s vulgar stepsisters, to the stately blazers slated for the
prince, to the red carpet glamour expected of any soon-to-be princess.
Staging Director Jill Anna Ponasick, put it: "It is a little bit,
How the fashion
designer came to be the stylish selection for the show took a little
bit of serendipity. Skylight’s Artistic Director Viswa Subbaraman
met Galindo through a mutual friend in Houston, where the conductor
was serving as artistic director at his contemporary opera company,
Opera Vista, before he was tapped to come to Milwaukee.
A few years
later, the pair ran into each other again and Galindo insisted he
design a show for Subbaraman. It didn’t take much convincing.
"Galindo’s background shares in the art of fashion and the love
of the theater," Subbaraman says. "There is an elegance and
a maturity to his work that makes this production more modern day. It’s
exciting. It’s been an incredible partnership."
For Galindo the
partnership was an opportunity to get back to his roots. Before he
descended to New York, his initial fashions lit up the stage at the
Houston Opera. While he says it’s a challenge to create costumes
that make as much of a statement in the design shop as they do under
the lights, Galindo says he enjoys the flexibility of running with his
imagination. "It’s fun because I get to be just
over-the-top," he explains. "I don’t have to be
(restricted) by ready-to-wear."
To some, it may
seem unusual for a local performing arts company to contract such a
high-class and astute designer — especially one who isn’t
exclusively known in these neck of the woods — but Galindo’s
instant appeal is yet another acclamation to Milwaukee’s revolving
repertoire of world-class artists.
self-taught Galindo is a veteran fashion designer who has worked in
the industry for more than 20 years, his work has appeared in-and-out
of the public conscious. He scored big early on in his career after
one of his gowns graced the bodice of supermodel Karen Mulder on the
July 1993 cover of ELLE magazine, and continued to make headway by
working as a contracted designer for such labels as Dolce &
Gabbana and Calvin Klein.
But the height
of the recession — coupled by the devastating loss of his longtime
partner — swiftly placed Galindo back at square one. So, he did what
any modern-day artist must do to capture the limelight — he signed
up for reality TV.
In 2009, Galindo
joined the cast of Bravo’s "The Fashion Show: Ultimate
Collection," where he surprised many by appearing not as a judge,
but as a contestant. He didn’t win, but the experience led to a
contract with the network and attracted him the attention needed to
relaunch his career.
"It gave me
exposure," Galindo says, though being under the scrutiny of
cameras wasn’t always easy. But, it also put him front and center
with countless influencers, including the likes of Isaac Mizrahi and
Harper Bazaar’s editor Glenda Bailey. In 2011, he shared his
emotional journey on Joe Zee’s "All on the Line."
appearance, Galindo began designing for pop star Gwen Stefani’s
clothing line L.A.M.B and commenced his ready-to-wear line, CZAR by
Cesar Galindo. The label is gaining attention ahead of his appearance
at New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
question that Galindo is back and better than ever before.