Los Angeles-based fashion designer Lourdes Chavez is bringing her exquisite designs to Nashville this week with a trunk show for her current collection at Gus Mayer from Sept. 5-7. Now in her 20th year, she designs contemporary, yet timeless, fashions with fabrics she hand selects, and she hand-sketches every piece, closely overseeing every stage to completion. Lourdes’ fashions are routinely seen on ladies at Nashville galas, including the show-stopping couture gown Patti Smallwood wore when she co-chaired the 2018 Swan Ball. We chatted with the fashion house about the new collection, style inspiration and fashion advice.

Can you tell us about the collection coming to Gus Mayer? Lourdes Chavez Fall 2019 Collection brings excitement with her finest hand-selected European couture fabrics. Lourdes presents an exceptional selection of evening gowns, cocktail dresses, evening pants and ensembles perfect for galas, festive occasions and weddings. Styles can be adapted with sleeve lengths, extensive fabrics and glorious colors options. The collection also features timeless day dresses, suits and separates. A special focus this season is on unique jackets that beautifully stretch wardrobes when worn casually with leather or dark denim, yet move well to dressy.

Were there certain designers or fashion industry leaders that inspired or guided Lourdes' design? Before attending LA Fashion Institute, Lourdes was already researching patternmaking, fabric draping and design details that brought fame to early designers Chanel, Dior, Balenciaga and Galliano. She appreciated their timeless sensibility with seam placements and designs that especially flatter feminine forms. William Travilla, Beverly Hills fashion designer of the stars from the late ’50s to ’90s, spotted her great design talents, hired her to assist him with his collections toward end of his career, and rewarded with her own sub-collection: YT, "Young Travilla", by Lourdes Chavez. In 1999, Lourdes started her own couture collection: LOURDES CHAVEZ, now in 20th successful year. 

What style do you wish would make a comeback? Actually, Lourdes loves to bring back a retro style or influence with an updated homage interpretation. This season, the jacket silhouette [pays] tribute to Balenciaga in this sultry Italian metallic silver and black rose silk. She likes the modern edge with a legging or boot, but envisions it equally fabulous over a sleek black gown. 

What was Lourdes' dream job as a kid? As a young child, Lourdes was already exhibiting her artistic and design talents with wonderful fashion sketches (which she continues today). Lourdes took her art to next level, making dresses/clothes for her dolls, then on to family and friends. Her family moved to Los Angeles so Lourdes could be admitted to LA Fashion Institute at 17; she graduated with honors and high acclaim for her excellence.

What’s the best fashion advice you would give someone?  Feeling good about what you wear [and] how you look can get you off to a happy, confident start that carries throughout each day. Add a smile; everyone who sees you will have a better day. 

Photographs courtesy of Lourdes Chavez