Arts & EntertainmentTelevision

‘Project Runway’ Star Headlines Couture for a Cause

Mondo Guerra to appear at Montrose Center fundraiser Saturday.

David Armendariz, owner of Studio A Salon in Rice Village, is known as a wizard with hair shears, but he began his working life more familiar with changements.

As in changement de pieds, a ballet jump where you switch feet positions in midair.

After earning a degree in music and dance from the University of Houston in 2003, Armendariz danced professionally for 10 years in Houston, Denver and Las Vegas. It was while he was dancing in Denver that he met Mondo Guerra, who was designing costumes.

David Armendariz

“We just hit it off and stayed friends,” Armendariz says. “That’s why he’s coming here to help out with our fundraiser for the Montrose Center. This will be his third time.”

The fundraiser, a fun fashion show and more called Couture for a Cause, is set for Saturday, November 17 at Etro Lounge.

Armando Thomas “Mondo” Guerra, of course, is the winner of Project Runway All Stars Season One and has gone on to become a popular fashion designer. A Mexican-American from Denver, Guerra had previously been runner-up on Project Runway.

“That was the show where he came out as being HIV-positive,” Armendariz says. “It was so brave, so moving.”

Guerra, who had mostly kept his HIV-positive status secret for 10 years, revealed it in response to a judge’s question, saying a print was inspired by it. After that, Guerra became a spokesperson for several HIV/AIDS nonprofits, detailing his struggles as an HIV-positive person in the American health care system. He helped ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on November 30, 2010 to usher in World AIDS Day. And he has created a popular Day of Dead (Dia de Muertos) fashion collection to honor World AIDS Day.

Guerra’s more recent collections have shown a creative whimsy full of vibrant prints and styles that have been called playful without being silly.

“For this event, he’ll be bringing his Spring/Summer 2019 line,” Armendariz says. “It’s going to be amazing, sort of a disco cowboy look. My partner and I are making some gorgeous, colorful wigs for the runway models.” One of Armendariz’s specialties is hair extensions, although his up-dos and contemporary hairstyles have been featured in the local and national media.

Studio A/Salon is also known for giving back to the community, having supported the Alley Theatre, Friends Are By Your Side, and the West University Elementary School.

What: Couture for a Cause, featuring Mondo Guerra
When: 7 p.m. on November 17
Where: Etro Lounge, 114 S. Main St. 
Tickets: Available here.



Marene Gustin

Marene Gustin has written about Texas culture, food, fashion, the arts, and Lone Star politics and crime for television, magazines, the web and newspapers nationwide, and worked in Houston politics for six years. Her freelance work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Texas Monthly, Dance International, Dance Magazine, the Advocate, Prime Living, InTown magazine, OutSmart magazine and web sites CultureMap Houston and Austin, Eater Houston and, among others.
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