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Portsmouth’s Haus of Crissy Couture takes the catwalk、

Portsmouth’s Haus of Crissy Couture takes the catwalk、

Models in feathers and gems, velvet and lace graced the runway March 24 at The First Lady of Suffolk as part of the inaugural Mahogany Showcase, hosted by fashion designer Crystal Woodard.

Woodard, a Portsmouth resident and native, has 20 years of experience in the fashion industry, including work in Atlanta and New York, she said. Her pieces were on display last month, but the event also linked patrons with makeup artists, hair stylists and other designers.

Woodard designs and sews all of the dresses for clients, she said, and she is often booked. Around prom season, mothers email pleading with her to fit their daughters in for consultations. She said she hoped a showcase could provide her patrons with an opportunity to purchase premade dresses directly off the model, while expanding the fashion scene in Hampton Roads.

Her passion for creating clothing began when she was a young girl, Woodard said. Her mother, who worked mostly in interior design, taught her how to sew. She used extra fabric to create clothing for her baby dolls and eventually for herself.

“I fell in love with making clothes,” Woodard said. “I’ve been doing it ever since.”

She eventually began making her own clothing, and then dresses for friends and family members. While in middle school, she made her first gown – a prom dress for a cousin. By the time of Woodard’s senior prom, she not only made a dress for herself, but also for school friends and her cousins, she said.

Woodard graduated from I.C. Norcom High School in 2002. She went to college nearby and eventually settled into a mass communications major. She left the program and – taking the advice of a friend in the fashion world – moved to Atlanta.

“I had a passion that was not being fulfilled,” Woodard said. “I felt like there was something missing here.”

It was in Atlanta that she established Legtalk Inc., a funky legging brand that she began selling wholesale to boutiques, she said. Even while operating her legging brand, and in between moves from Atlanta to New York and back again, as well as the birth of her son, Woodard continued making formal wear.

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