Apr 28, 2010


Remember little Christopher who came to sewing class in January to learn how to sew his designs? - and how his drawings blew me away.... Well, he's well on his way to fame. A press release about my little student.

I'm so proud of him. I'm more proud of his mother feeding his gift. Believe me it's not easy for her.


Miami, FL – April 26, 2010 – Amongst the hustle and bustle of fabrics, color markers, sketchbooks, and art books, you can wade your way through the folds and find ten year old Christopher Abella, Miami’s youngest fashion design student, and an art student at South Miami K-8 Center’s Expressive Arts Magnet.

Born in Miami to Cuban immigrant parents, Christopher has had a rare gift for drawing and fashion design from a young age, and by age 9, was already studying privately with fashion designer Tracy Ellyn of Miami Art and Design, who worked as a designer in New York for 13 years and still designs part-time in New York while residing in Miami. 

“I simply have never seen anyone so young have a passion and an understanding for the fashion figure and how to sketch it so elegantly,” says Tracy. “I’ve worked on Seventh Avenue for all the top designers, and I sense that he, too, could already work there. It’s uncanny. Where does this come from?”

Tracy Ellyn watches her young student as he comes up with creations swirled from his pencil onto paper with nary a breath, while colors, metallics and beading come to life in his imagination. As if his unique and elegant gowns aren’t enough, he then proceeds to add matching shoes of such high style that even ManoloBlahnik would believe he has a competitor.

“I ask him where he comes up with these ideas, and he simply states with the innocence of a child, “From my head.’ This is the definition of true artistic talent. With little to no exposure, and having never been to New York or Paris, he knows how to design on an intuitive level. It is as if he was a designer in his previous life, so to speak,” explains Tracy.

Laurie Russell, lead magnet teacher at South Miami K-8 Center, recognized Christopher’s talent early on. He auditioned for her audition-based visual arts program at age 7, successfully, of course. Laurie has been his fine arts teacher from grade 3 to 5. He will have completed the program in just one month.

Russell has instilled in Christopher the classic training and knowledge of media that a typical college art student would receive. He has learned observational drawing, painting, mixed media, ceramics, and all of the art elements and design principles that an artist should know. It is largely due to Laurie Russell that Christopher has evolved from child artist to sophisticated visual thinker.

Simultaneously, Tracy Ellyn exposes Christopher not only to designing, but also to the history of the world’s great fashion designers, such as Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Charles James, Christian Dior, and Diane Von Furstenberg, the latter of the two with whom she worked. His favorite designer thus far is Valentino. Tracy shares with him a rare collector’s book that she got in Europe in the 1980’s containing Valentino’s sketches and actual fabric swatches. Christopher can barely contain his excitement as she turns the pages for him.

At Tracy’s suggestion, Christopher went to visit the brilliant Coral Gables couture designer Ozcar G, who recognized Christopher’s talent and passion immediately. Ozcar took him under his wing to show him the Ozcar G collection and explain the fabrics and construction of his one-of-a-kind gowns. Ozcar G, himself a Cuban immigrant who started in fashion at age 10, relates personally to Christopher’s special passion, and has been kind enough to interrupt a wealthy woman’s fitting to go sit with Christopher and talk to him about his portfolio and his future.

As equally adept on the baseball field as the drawing table, Christopher is an anomaly. At school, he is just a regular kid working on his reading and math skills, and socializing with his friends. His polite manners and humble expressions round out the picture of this rare talent.

Christopher will have an opening for the exhibition of his fashion designs and art pieces on Friday evening, May 7th, from 6 – 9 pm, at The Angel’s Ring, 86 Miracle Mile, in Coral Gables. The opening will take place during Gallery Night at the Gables. There will be a wine and cheese reception, and it is open to the public.

For further information, contact Lissette Abella at lissetteabella@gmail.com, or Tracy Ellyn of Miami Art and Design at www.miamiartanddesign.net. For information on the couturier collection of Ozcar G, log onto www.ozcarcouture.com. For further information on South Miami K-8 Center’s Expressive Arts Magnet, contact Laurie Russell at laurierussell@dadeschools.net.

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Until next time, Enjoy your moments ~ make them "sew" much fun, Cindy

1 comment:

  1. I just love this story - it really touched me. I hope Christopher keeps growing and enjoying his unique gifts.