Vegan + Haute = VAUTE

by Leesa Raab

Here in New York we’re in the middle of Fall ’13 Fashion Week. Each season as the show schedules are posted and the invites come through, I take a look to see if there are any new, unique shows, especially any that carry eco-friendly aspects. This season I’m happy to say there is a designer on the scene who is doing her part to make a difference. Her name is Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart and she is the creative director behind VAUTE Couture, a line of vegan clothing and accessories,which are also partially made with recycled materials. While not the first time showing during fashion week, this was Leanne’s first solo show–one that she ensured would be completely animal-friendly and cruelty-free, from the clothes, to the hair and makeup.

Now whether you’re vegan or not (I don’t think anyone with is practicing) there are many great things to say about a vegan lifestyle. The reality is, the resources that are used to produce meat and animal byproducts that go in to various consumer goods, are a strain on the environment–from land, to air, to water. Not to mention the cruelty aspect, which is probably the leading inspiration for those who have chosen to go vegan. So while perhaps not for everyone, we do certainly see the benefit and appreciate everyone doing their part to make a difference–which Leanne is certainly doing!

I know what you’re thinking, vegan wear sounds great and all, but is it going to have the high fashion look we’ve come to expect from the runway? I’m here to tell you the answer is YES. I’m personally, slightly obsessed with the VAUTE line and currently coveting a coat or two, among other items. Leanne has done an amazing job of designing a line that caters to a young, stylish consumer–and her shop in Williamsburg is perfectly located to reach that crowd. And if you don’t have plans to go to Brooklyn anytime soon, you can always shop online.

Her A/W ’13 collection, inspired by Sailor Moon, offers a strong color palate of blues, purples and some pops of red. The Sailor Moon inspiration was more than perfect for this show, as the back story of the Japanese cartoon is that Sailor Moon discovers a cat in distress and helps him out, only to find it was a magical cat. Certainly a fit for Leanne as she does her part to be completely animal friendly. In fact, sponsored by the American Humane Society, the models weren’t the only ones in the spotlight, as several four-legged friends also walked the runway.

Leanne’s looks were rounded out by the Salon Champu hair team and DeVita all-natural cosmetics makeup team. Salon Champu–a Manhattan-based vegan salon–lead stylist, Fanny Sosa, helped develop a look that helped fulfill the Sailor Moon theme, with lots of great braids and creative twists. While the DeVita head makeup artist, Rebecca Casciano, used the DeVita vegan makeup to create a look to compliment the clothing; I’d describe it as androgynous yet sexy.

The show was set up as more of a presentation, where models walked the runway and on to platforms where they stood for approximately 15 minutes so attendees would have the opportunity to really see the full look and detail of the clothes. There was even a fun photo booth, where the DeVita makeup artists glammed up the attendees before having their pics taken, and vegan treats were passed around by Brooklyn-based vegan bakery.

VAUTE is certainly a label to watch–and be inspired by.

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