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Welcome to the Haus of Leisure

A Muskegon native, Matt Jurecic attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York where he majored in fashion design. Emphasis: evening wear. He spent some time in both Denver and Chicago honing his skills, but now, the cultured designer has returned to Michigan and is on the precipice of launching his own fashion line, Haus of Leisure.

"(Our clothes) are for a woman who loves style and clothing, who is not afraid to try new things," Jurecic says. "We envision mostly a market of women who appreciate the finer things in life, who like to travel, who are well-educated in the world of fashion and the arts." Jurecic lovingly describes these clients as 'ladies who lunch... young women who aspire to be ladies who lunch.'

Jurecic has two partners in this custom couture line. COO Christina Hulstrand is involved in the business side of things, while Co-Creative Director Corey Watson fulfils many roles, including moral support.

"Matt and I have known each other for years," Watson says. "This is his dream, and I want to be there from the very beginning to see how it works."

Watson and Jurecic also work together at The Leopard Lounge (77 Monroe Center NW, inside Louis Benton Steak House) as 'Social Liaisons.' Watson can be seen on the weekends, impeccably dressed to the point where his bowtie matches his hat, making guests feel welcome.

With no home base, the rogue fashion operation meets at various local spots, and works mostly out of Eastern Alternations. Here, a seamstress puts together the basic shapes of the garments. Jurecic says he uses "very classic silhouettes," with most of his design details coming through in the fabrics. Hand-pleating, draping, trims, notions, and buttons -- all to create the perfect dress. "(I add) any details that I can that would make a better impact through the design," he says.

The debut show will occur on Feb. 12 at the J.W. Marriot's annual Little Black Dress party at 8 p.m. and features a behind-the-scenes affair where attendees will be able to watch as the models undergo their final touch-ups. The show starts at 9 p.m. Titled "The Women," after the 1939 George Cukor/Joan Crawfod picture, the fashion show acts as a dichotomy to the somber-suited partygoers. While the audience will be cloaked in black, Haus of Leisure's line is prepped for spring, with Jurecic drawing color inspirations from Pantone's line of vernal options.

"[I've used] honeysuckle, pinks, oranges, ocean blues," Jurecic says. Honeysuckle, it may be worth noting, is Pantone's color of the year.

You can expect an intimate show with up-close viewing, followed by a 15-minute standing show where guests can walk around and look at the individual pieces.

The show features models from the Matthew Agency and friends of Haus, with music courtesy of DJ Todd Ernst, who will continue to spin after the show and into the evening.

Following the show, hausofleisure.com is expected to go live on Feb. 14. Haus is hoping to infiltrate various boutiques in the Midwest first (potential owners have been invited to the show), and is also contemplating a small mens' line of accessories.

"We think we've got something really unique with (Jurecic), and that the market is here in this area," Hulstrand says, citing all of Grand Rapids' social events as incentives for area women to seek out unique styles.

Jurecic adds, "I've only lived in Grand Rapids since September, and I've noticed a lot of women out here who are very interested in fashion. I think they get jaded by the mall. I think it's sometimes hard for them to visualize what they want, and they get stuck in the every day way of thinking. But, people are going to start thinking about different things, and how dresses are cut and the length of a dress for the occasion. I'm really hoping that sparks that creativity in them to come to me and get something they that love and keep forever."

J. Bennett Rylah is the Managing Editor of Rapid Growth Media.
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