Los Angeles-based Sabrina & Mannings designers Sabrina Desage and Carlos Mannings found themselves inspired by fairies for their debut collection, including illustrator Brian Froud’s book “Faeries,” which inspired many of the colors and silhouettes. “It’s about fairies trying to blend into the human world,” said Desage of the collection, which showed at Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, Calif.
Throughout, the designers applied the fairy aesthetic to dresses and gowns both figuratively and literally. With the latter, the effect veered somewhat costume, as with sequins embroidered onto the sash-cum-train of a dress in the shape of wings. The only slip-up in terms of fit came on one look that drooped at the chest to reveal, unintentionally, the model’s bra. But in keeping with the current trend, Sabrina & Mannings deliberately allowed many of the models’ briefs to show through their diaphanous gowns. One dress in particular, a gold-tinged nude number, flowed beautifully below an embroidered overlay, hanging from a delicate web of straps. Their Forties nightgown take riffed on the slipdress trend in an altogether romantic, more formal way.
Many embellishments were done by hand, including the second dress, embroidered with 100 hours’ worth of hand-cutout flowers. Frothy, fun and pretty, with its necklace clasp neckline, it could easily be imagined on a Hollywood ingenue making her Oscars red carpet debut. Given the work involved in each dress, it’s no surprise that each is and will be one-of-a-kind.
Reaching back toward their bridal roots, Desage and Mannings went all out for the finale looks, including a bustled wedding gown so big that it required seven sets of hands to position it for a walk down the runway. For one bride’s special day, it should bring the fairy-tale fantasy full circle.