April 27, 2012

House of Darylene

Navajo fashion designer Darylene Martin founded Martini Couture in the summer of 2008. This first exploration into fashion design was inspired by the idea of a Navajo martini - a party-inspired concoction of dresses, shirts and accessories that had a distinct hip, upscale classy mixture of colors and silhouettes.

A smart designer, Martin is expanding her business to a house of design that consists of her first label, Martini Couture, along with two new branches: Summer Rain and Savage Beauty. The Summer Rain collection is inspired by her Native heritage and the elegance of the Navajo concept of 'Walking in Beauty'. The Savage Beauty line is a bold and sexy (and sometimes punk) interpretation of an urban Native woman.

Martin was recently featured in the annual American Indian Graduate Student Association (AIGSA) Fashion Show as part of Arizona State University Culture Week events in Tempe, AZ (all images in this post are from that event).

Her inspiration for this collection came from a couple of different sources, including the fashion magazine Astonish, pin-up girls, hair rollers, the television drama Dynasty, warpaint, and Mohawk hairstyles. She explained, "I was fascinated with the 1930-50s pin-up era and decided to add a lil funk. But what closed the deal was the thought of Joan Collins' character in Dynasty, Alexis Carrington. She was sassy, confident, gorgeous and most of all, that woman was always stylish." And from these sources (and in only three weeks), her 8-outfit collection "Dynasty Gone Punk" emerged.

One thing that I absolutely love about Martin is that she presents new work at every event. It's always great to see her designs and creativity evolving and growing. Appropriately, Martin says she wants to "conquer the world one strut at a time."