Stitching for Mrs. Bush

Posted on 13 Sep 2007 at 6:18pm
By Jenny Block Contributing Writer

Texas Fashion Collection salutes Michael Faircloth



Michael Faircloth knows how to make a woman look good. He should. The Dallasite has been designing for more than 20 years. One of his most famous clients is Laura Bush.

“And my very first client out of school is still a client,” Faircloth says.

The key to his success? Listening.

The start of Faircloth’s design process is a 45-minute conversation where he gets to know the woman for whom he’ll be creating. Every piece is “inspired by the person and her figure and personality,” he explains.

He’s also attuned to his client’s “concerns,” he continues. “Parts of her body she’d like to celebrate and parts she’d like not to.”

With an affinity for “gracious society,” Faircloth could easily be labeled as a traditionalist. One of his more memorable experiences was creating dresses for four generations of women from the same family.

Faircloth is a University of North Texas alum, who graduated from the College of Visual Art and Design in 1983.

Next week, UNT’s Texas Fashion Collection unveils “Reflections: Work by Michael Faircloth,” an exhibit that studies his career. More than 20 Faircloth designs will be shown including evening gowns, dresses, suits, wedding attire and debutante gowns.

Faircloth hopes the exhibit will inspire young designers. But he also hopes it will encourage his clients to donate to the collection.

A 1985 evening suit he designed for Dallas philanthropist Louise Gartner will be on display, as will an evening gown that he designed for Mrs. Guy Griffith to wear to the 2003 Crystal Charity Ball. There will also be sketches and photographs of Faircloth’s work as well as expansion plans for the gallery.

A red evening gown he designed for Laura Bush’s 2001 presidential inauguration is perhaps Faircloth’s most famous creation. Although the dress now resides in a collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the Dallas exhibit will include a suit that Faircloth designed for Mrs. Bush when she resided at the Texas Governor’s Mansion. Also included in the show are one of Mrs. Bush’s green suits and a blue evening gown she wore to an inauguration ball.

Is it a difficult designing for the wife of a political leader who supports a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage?

“Not in the least. I focus on a client’s needs for a specific occasion, not their political or philosophical backgrounds,” Faircloth says.

It was recently announced that Bushes plan on moving to Dallas after leaving the White House.

Does this mean a Bush-Faircloth reunion is on the horizon?

“She has been a very loyal client,” Faircloth says.

Although he hasn’t met with her personally in about three years, Faircloth says there are no plans in the works yet, but he would, “welcome the opportunity.”

Reflections: Work by Michael Faircloth Fashion on Main, 1901 Main St. Sept. 21 through Dec. 21. Gallery hours: noon-5 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays, noon-8 p.m. on Thursdays. 214-752-8151

DRESSES & SUCCESS

“Reflections: Work by Michael Faircloth”
at Fashion on Main, 1901 Main St. Sept. 21 through Dec. 21. Gallery hours: noon-5 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays, noon-8 p.m. on Thursdays. 214-752-8151.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 14, 2007

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