High Style in H Town

It’s not surprising that the fourth largest city in the country is a shopper’s paradise, with its glitzy Galleria and Uptown fashion-house offerings and miles of malls filled to the gills with designer labels. Amidst this, you’ll find fresh thinking and sparks of brilliance from up-and-coming Houston designers.

CHLOE DAO | LOT 8 Celebrating the 10th anniversary of her boutique, LOT 8, Chloe Dao has come a long way since her “Project Runway” win in 2006. One step inside her friendly boutique is like stopping in for a party with friends. Half of the shop is devoted to the Dao Chloe Dao Collection, with very limited editions and high-end fabrics. The other half of the shop offers more accessible clothing, jewelry, shoes and accessories that she and her sister, Sydney, have carefully chosen to make it easy to mix and match. Her motto is “Fashion for everyone, not just the skinny and the rich.” Lot 8, 6127 Kirby Dr., 713.807.1565. www.lot8online.com

CHRISTINA NICODEMUS | MIEL DE ABEJAS After 14 years as a boutique owner with an eye for the spectacular, Christina Nicodemus is re-launching her Miel de Abejas (Honey of the Bee) line. The latest collection includes her signature flip-flops—the evolution is now crafted of metallic lambskin and authentic python—along with leather hobo bags lined with European linens, diamond jewelry and clothing of Indian cottons and washable silks. Everything is handmade and one-of-a-kind, of course. Here’s your chance to get your Christina Nicodemus pieces in the stylish spot where it all began. Who knows? She might even be there to tell you how great you look in her creations. Abejas, 5600 Kirby Dr., S-4, 713.522.3025. www.abejasboutique.com

GEROME SAPP | MORPH & THRO Houston native, former NFL pro and budding fashion model Gerome Sapp is out to beat the environmental clock. Sapp—along with co-founder Glenn Earl and partner James A. Molinaro Jr.—has created Morph & Thro, offering high-performance workout gear with a twist. It’s 100-percent recycled from the plastic drink bottles we toss out each day. When we say recycled fabric, we’re not talking foamy, boring fleece, but fine-cut, soft and comfy fabric that’s been upcycled into hard-core fitness wear that looks as cool as it actually is. Even shopping Morph & Thro saves energy—just fill your cart at www.morphandthro.com. Look for the line at Luke’s Locker and The Houstonian in early 2011.

CAYCEE BLACK | CAYCEE BLACK With her flirty dresses, cuffed short-shorts, sleek ruffles and skirt hems tucked in the most interesting places, Caycee Black rides an irresistible line between innocence and provocation. She’s inspired by vintage films and art and screens her own paintings into original fabrics. As a ballerina and former TIBI knitwear and Anna Sui designer, she’s a master of body-friendly, wearable style. WWD, Daily Candy and Lucky Magazine all dubbed this rising Texas star “Best New Designer” for her Fall 2009 Collection. Black hails from Houston, but now juggles her painting, fashion design and dance careers from her Brooklyn loft. Available at Tootsie’s, 4045 Westheimer Rd., 713.629.9990. www.tootsies.com