Tuesday, August 17, 2010
7 News Investigations: Fashion Prodigy
His glamorous gowns and over-the-top shoes would make Carrie on "Sex and the City" jealous. But we're not talking about Gucci or Jimmy Choo. We're talking about a 10-year-old boy growing up here in South Florida. 7's Lynn Martinez takes us into the world of this tiny fashion prodigy.
WSVN -- When you think high fashion, names like Valentino, Christian Dior and Chanel come to mind. But if you haven't heard the name Christopher Abella yet, you soon will. This 10-year-old boy is building his own fashion empire right out of his mother's Kendall home.
Lissette Abella, Christopher's Mom: "His first collection is up here."
Lissette Abella knew there was something special about Christopher from the moment he could hold a pencil.
Lissette Abella: "He would draw a funny face in school, and you could see the expression in the eyes."
She enrolled him in an arts magnet program, where he created his first piece titled, "The Bird." His teacher called it a masterpiece.
By age nine, Christopher had turned his talent to what may be his true love: fashion design.
Tracy Ellyn, Design Director, Miami Art & Design, Inc.: "If Chanel were alive today, what kind of fabric would she put here?
Christopher Abella: "Satin?"
Tracy Ellyn: "Satin would be wonderful."
New York Designer Tracy Ellyn has been working with Christopher for the past year. When she first saw his drawings, she was completely blown away.
Tracy Ellyn: "I've just never seen anything like it. It's as if he learned it in another life. It's just very very unusual."
She says his understanding of the female form and the way fabrics move put him at a college level.
Tracy Ellyn: "Beautiful."
When you ask the soft-spoken Christopher what he likes about fashion, he simply replies...
Christopher Abella: "I had a feeling I just wanted to do it."
Ask him who his favorite designers are...
Christopher Abella: "Christian Dior and Valentino."
Because he says their designs are 'very elegant,' and inspired some of his collections. But Christopher's glamorous gowns, beaded embellishments and shoes that could rival the likes of Manolo Blahnik come from one place: inside his head.
Christopher Abella: "I'd be outside playing, and then I would come in, I'd start drawing. Then when I finish, I go back outside."
And when he's not creating one of his latest designs, this 10-year-old is busy just being a kid: from baseball to playing piano to singing in church.
Christopher Abella, singing: "Everyone needs forgiveness."
And like most boys his age, he enjoys a good prank once in a while.
Christopher Abella: "I like to get cockroaches and scare people."
Christopher recently hosted his own exhibition at The Angel's Ring on Miracle Mile, where for the first time, one of his designs came to life.
Man: "You're going to see what comes from his mind to a piece of paper to life."
A model wearing one of his dresses was featured in this fashion show. Christopher was beaming at the success of his big night, likely the first of many to come.
It may be impossible for this 10-year-old to fully comprehend his own talent. But his greatest fan knows it is truly a gift.
Lissette Abella: "I think that for sure it's a gift of God. I think it's a talent that is only God-given."
Lynn Martinez: "Christopher's teacher says with his talent , he could be working out of New York City right now. But his mom plans to keep him in school here in South Florida for a while. Of course, one day, we all may be wearing the Christopher Abella label."