Sitting in the audience of a New York fashion show, among the expected fashion writers and photographers, you find illustrator Kris Keys using ink and watercolor to tell the story. In only a few minutes, a vibrant sketch emerges that catches the spirit of the event as it happens.
As a sought-out illustrator, Kris has sketched at fashion week for WGSN, a fashion trend website, while also using her degree in fashion merchandising. In her two years in New York City, she interned with designer Trina Turk and bridal designer Jussara Lee. In 2011, she made a big move to London to take a course in the foundation of fashion, be inspired by another fashion mecca, and continue to create her signature sketches. Many times gracing the audience as an observer, Kris wants her artistry to one day take the stage.
Today, Kris is making another leap in pursuing her dream as a fashion designer. When I finally caught up with her in Memphis, her hometown, she was once again bound for London in less than a week to study Fashion Design and Development at the London College of Fashion.
After missing several live portrait events she organized as part of her effort to fund her tuition, I met Kris for lunch at the Beauty Shop where she also demonstrated her illustration skills between bites of her salad.
It could have been the sparkle of the crystals glimmering from her necklace that drew my eye. Or the bright-red bag swinging as she walked.
I try to dissect the elements of Amanda's outfit, mostly focusing on how she could wear a basic white tee and look so superb. But I start to see that I’m losing the whole picture.
It wasn’t one key piece or even the ensemble. It was her energetic presence that pulled everything together.
Before we even exchanged names, this fetching couple, Aaron and Bethany, kindly stood for several photos, unaware of the fact that I did a complete 180 when they walked past me and for several minutes waded through the heavy crowd with two other friends before finally catching up with them.
In the midst of a chaotic few days preparing to launch her second boutique, Alexandra Nicole welcomes the chance to catch her breath and makes the time to meet with me.
"Yesterday, I worked from early morning to past midnight," she says with a couple of deep yawns, referring to a long day at The Attic, the new clothing boutique opening next week with co-owner Ben Scharff.
There's a nervous excitement as she talks about how soon opening day will be, an excitement also driven by the fact that it will be the first clothing and accessories concept in the newly energized Overton Square, a place she sees as a significant Memphis landmark.
As owner of four businesses on South Main and as senior pastor of St. Timothy United Methodist Church, Cynthia Grawemeyer will still routinely take her time looking through her closet and trying on outfits until the right one fits her mood. You will rarely find her in sweats or jeans.
I met up with her at Grawemeyer's, her restaurant serving her family's German-American recipes.