The Shuzz Art Fashion Show is an annual fundraiser that provides shoes and medical help to impoverished children all over the world. It will return March 15 to Seminole Casino Coconut Creek.
The designer-runway event was postponed from September because of Hurricane Irma. The emcee will be Ryan Beckett from ABC’s “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise.” For the fundraiser’s seventh year, the featured fashion designer is Patricia Gomez-Gracia, who grew up in Miami and is now based in London. This will be her first catwalk show in the United States.
“South Florida is already an important market for us,” Gomez-Gracia writes in an email interview. “As I grew up in Miami, my collections already incorporate that sensual and feminine vibe that South Florida is known for.”
Here is more from our exchange with Gomez-Gracia.
What will audiences see from you at the Shuzz Art Fashion Show? What’s the overall direction of the line?
Modern, sleek, clean lines but with a London vibe. Audiences can expect a collection that is for women who want to feel sexy in a tasteful way but with an edge.
How does your time here in South Florida inform your designs? In other words, how does Miami show up in the collection you are showing?
Miami is primarily about showing off your curves, whilst oozing sex appeal. It’s a hot city and showing skin is the norm. It’s very body- and image-[conscious]. London, is a metropolitan city with all four seasons. You need to dress more practical, and the emphasis is less on being sexy, and more on practicality, but still presenting yourself in a chic and original way. I combine these aspects in the design. I believe women should be comfortable in what they wear, but they should look sexy but in a tasteful way. When life gives you curves, flaunt them.
In addition, I’ve seen the city [Miami] go through such a transformation, it’s really incredible. I remember going down to News Cafe [in the] late ’80s and South Beach was so raw. I definitely miss that aspect of it, as it feels a bit commercialized now, but that goes hand in hand with any city that grows up. Growing up, the [city’s] nightlife had a huge influence on me. I remember going clubbing at 15 years old, and I loved seeing how dressed up everyone was. Mid ’90s there were so many people with unique style that really put the effort into creating eye-catching outfits. That is definitely something that has transpired through to my designs. Gomez-Gracia is about confidence and making a statement. Each piece has incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail.
You seem to have innovative shapes and a sophisticated hand with mixing fabrications. Is this a reflection of the many cultures you have lived in, specifically Madrid, Miami, New York, London?
Absolutely, fabrics can make or break a design. You could have a beautifully made garment … but if you use a cheap fabric, it will ruin it. All of our garments are lined in silk, so they not only look gorgeous but feel it, too. Aside from a fabric’s composition and technical use, their appearance also helps set a garment apart. Gomez-Gracia uses quirky fabrics with interesting textures, allowing for edgy silhouettes.
Tell us a little about your time here in South Florida?
I left Madrid when I was 2 years old, as my parents moved to Miami. I later attended the University of Florida. I have a degree in marketing and economics. I left South Florida for London 13 years ago, although I lived in [New York] briefly.
I am really fortunate to have grown up in a home where family always came first, through thick and thin. Growing up in Miami, we lived with an ocean as our back yard and boating was a regular thing. I love the beach and the chilled-out beach-bum vibe of South Florida. When London people find out I left Florida for London, they always ask me the same thing: “Why?” I am fortunate enough that I have the opportunity to travel between the two places regularly, so I am getting the best of both worlds.
The Shuzz Art Fashion show will begin 6 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, 5550 NW 40th St. Tickets cost $150 for general admission, $250 for VIP second row and $300 VIP front row. To order, go to Shuzz.org.