Vivienne Tam NASA


TAM’S MISSION CONTROL: In designer speak, Houston means the Menil Collection, but Vivienne Tam will have much more to say about the burgeoning city at her show Monday at Moynihan Station.

Intrigued by Houston’s mash-up of art, music, dining and science/technology, the designer drew from its many aspects for her spring collection. City officials helped her to wrangle certain licenses from such entities as NASA, Rice University and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to adapt their logos in her designs. NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson will start the designer’s show with a prerecorded broadcast from the International Space Station’s Mission Control in Houston. The original plan was to have an astronaut who is actually in orbit at the ISS address the 1,000-person show live, but that changed after last week’s SpaceX launch pad explosion, a Vivienne Tam spokeswoman said.

This story first appeared in the September 10, 2016 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau president Mike Waterman helped Tam connect with the right officials. Tam also collaborated with Lenovo/Motorola for the design of the Moto Z Style Shell, which will debut at the show. With help from Nigel Barker, her team will also use Moto Mods technology to give the audience a closer look at the backstage scene and design details. Images of Houston will also be featured in the show, partially due to the fact that Tam was also inspired by the Menil Collection, the Rothko Chapel and the Project Row Houses.

Having also worked closely with VisitHouston, Tam may take her show to Houston before February’s 2017 Super Bowl at NRG Stadium and then Mexico and Asia. (The city’s main tourism outlet will sponsor her after party.) The tech-centric municipality is also home to the University of Houston’s STEM Center. Tam has helped develop fashion-related technology with HP, Square and WeChat in the past. Robotics, another area that Tam has dabbled in, is also a theme that can be seen in her new looks. The New York-based designer plans to return to her new second favorite city to give at talk at NASA’s Wearables Lab.

Drawing inspiration from the Houston rodeo, Tam has created Eastern Cowboy and Panda Cowboy concepts as well as patterns comprised of rodeo logos. The designer will donate a percentage of sales from these looks to benefit the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Scholarship Fund.

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