The food was catered by Chef Aiden from Aiden's Cuisine, whose crab cake dip was out of this world! The inspired menu included: Creole Spiced Shrimp, Grilled Greek Chicken on Bamboo Skewers and Crab Cake dip with chips. You can't have delicious food without anything good to wash it down with -- in comes Michele Hudson, Mixologist from Butterfly Mixtures, Inc. The customized drink menu included the Espion-tini and Atelier Rising. My favorite was the Espion-tini, the mini drink packed a delicious punch! A drink that's guilt free too is always a nice catch. Thanks to the tasty mixture of Blueberry, Blackberry, White Cranberry Juice and with Skinny Girl Vodka -- the Espion-tinis were a hit.
Before the grub-fest and ESPION Atelier runway presentation, I interviewed Deidre Jefferies on her inspiration behind the Fall 2015 collection, DC Fashion and why faith is important. Check out my interview with Deidre below:
Tell me about your inspiration behind the ESPION Atelier fall 2015 collection.
The inspiration for this collection was the powerful image of a black unicorn with gold hooves. My love of art and photography led me to it. The photo I came across was stunning, I couldn't take my eyes away. I was so struck by it, I did a bit of research and found a few references to the unicorn in the Bible. Some writers say that the single horn of the unicorn symbolizes the unity of God and Christ. It was a regal animal, a fierce protector of the kingdom, impossible to be taken alive.
What led you to design? Tell me about your background.
My background is very book-ish (laughs) I was a nerd.
Was this a hobby of yours? Or a sudden opportunity to dive into fashion design?
It was a sudden opportunity, but it was also a love of mine because my mom has five sisters. They all wore amazingly, gorgeous clothes - they had the best clothes! I thought my mom was wonder woman. She had the Farrah Fawcett hair and from middle school on -- I would just sit in her closet and bother all her stuff, but it was just the best place to be in the house. As for the name ESPION, I was inspired by the Spy culture - all the Bond films and Evelyn Salt!
As a true Washingtonian, seeing more productions being inspired by D.C politics and their style, For instance, House of Cards and Scandal puts D.C on the cool kids map - just behind FLOTUS and President Obama of course! It's nice to see more fashion events in D.C. It's like "Thank you, Join the club, but you're late!"
Yes! They can come when it's all Emerald City and they can eat off the sidewalk now! (laughs) I have been here all my life; I knew the time when our downtown turned into a ghost town. But before that, we had one of the largest Garfinkel's store in the world! It had glass escalators and it was right here on F Street and I used to be up in there (laughs).
Woah. I'm a baby. (laughs) I don't even remember this.
It was just an amazing place.
Nice! We need to get more celebrities to wear your clothes.
Me too! Especially Tracee Ellis Ross. I just love her personal style. She's incredible!
First and Foremost -- I am still hoping and dreaming. Never, ever let that fire go out! The hopes and dreams will always stay there. If you still have the dream, then they're still coming because God put these desires in our hearts! There's a scripture that I follow from Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
That's about to be my Life Motto.
Yes! And, for me too. Those words come from him, God. So, he doesn't lie. Whatever fire they have in them - it can't be distinguished by one failure. Not one, two or nine failures. As long as you keep trying, it's going to happen! I tried for a long time. Not just for these three collections, I've tried well before that.
That is inspiring. It's great to see someone from D.C to show at NYFW! You don't understand. It's a dime in a dozen.
Definitely. It's a blessing.
How long since you've been in this profession?
About 10 years.
How long since you started your company, ESPION Atelier?
Since 2010. When I first started to make a collection.
I am inspired by you. You keep doing your thing! When I saw the positive reviews of your fall 2015 collection, I was like YES! It's good to see a Washingtonian show during NYFW!
And still with no resources! I think when you used everything you have - pulling down momma's curtains making an outfit, you have to manage (laughs). That's what you have to do!
I love it! (laughs) started from the bottom now we're here!
(laughs) Yeah! Take that heat from your momma to make one beautiful outfit.
Last question since I know so many people want to talk to you. How would you describe the ESPION Atelier woman in three words.
Smart, Powerful and All Women.
To learn more about Deidre and ESPION Atelier, visit here
Special Thanks to Maggy Francois.
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Photography by Christine Shepherd