Custom Dynasty Hong Kong mermaid gown circa 1980, $375
Before Robert Black and Doreen Picerne, co-owners of Fashion by Robert Black, unveiled their newly curated collection at the Scottsdale Artists’ School’s inaugural Canvas & Couture fashion and art show this spring, guests were told to expect the unexpected.
“We’re mixing patterns, mixing colors, mixing eras, making it really bold and adorning it with the biggest jewelry I can find,” Black says.
At Canvas & Couture, Subyn Wadsworth showcased the Travilla gown, $1,250, Native American feather hat, $475, and Navajo turquoise necklace and bracelet, $5,000.
The collection, named Fashion Is Art, features pieces from fashion history that span more than six decades.
Black also drew inspiration from the venue of the show, Frank Lloyd Wright’s stunning Taliesin West music pavilion, which blends elements of East and West.
The Don Luis de Espana dress, $225, with Tibetan turquoise necklace, $450
Although the curation for Fashion Is Art started eight or nine months before the event, none of its pieces were seen by the public. Designers include Halston, Lanvin, Don Luis de Espana, Dynasty Hong Kong—all curated at Fashion by Robert Black.
“Everything in this is very bold,” Black says. “Jumpsuits, gowns, yarn, kimonos…anything that really makes a statement.”
Also featured are one-of-a-kind scarves made from vintage kimonos, which are part of the Megumi Project, benefiting women directly impacted by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Onagawa, Japan.
Futura Couture circa 1970s, $475, and Santo Domingo turquoise and coral necklace, $975
“We’re the first company to bring them to the United States,” Black explains.
For Black, also the founder of the international modeling and talent organization FORD/Robert Black Agency, gathering this collection was a journey outside his comfort zone. Although he’s fond of sequins and rhinestones and “everything bling,” he made the conscious decision to leave the shine behind.
“It was very challenging, but then the pieces started coming to us, coming together.”
Every look and accompanying accessory from the show is available to purchase in-store or via Instagram. 7144 E. First Ave.
Photography by: editorial fashion images by Kevin Banna | runway photo by Jimmy Jack Photography, all courtesy of the ford/robert black agency and robert black | hair and makeup by melissa evans