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Local couture house gives back to youth through teaching

"Best Costume Designer" award went to 10 year old Kasey Riera for this Willy Wonka inspired creation
"Best Costume Designer" award went to 10 year old Kasey Riera for this Willy Wonka inspired creation
photo by Jewel Figueras
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Ella Bella Rozio dazzles the runway with the ella1dress

Local couture designers, ella bella roZio, hosted a lavish fashion show at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables last weekend. This show marked the culmination of another exciting season of their Institute of Fashion(IOF). The IOF was established by the fashion house in 2006, as both a way to give back to the community, and also to instill a love of fashion and design in youth.

The cocktail hour was lovely. While parents and supporters had drinks in the hotel atrium, the students, who range from ages 8-18, were backstage getting ready. There was even a glam squad Loren Ridinger's Motives cosmetics line, beating the faces of the girls.

ella bella roZio is comprised of seasoned designer, Rocio Sanchez and her daughter, Ella Tello. They beamed with pride as they kicked off the show with a video of the girls working throughout the year--sketching, sewing, fitting, etc. Afterwards, the girls modeled their own creations in a production, themed, "Hollywood Now and Then." They started with tees and quickly moved on to swimwear, and collections that were inspired by movies, as well as red carpet designs for current starlets.

The IOF program is simply amazing. The kids in the program learn skills that are traditionally not taught outside of a fashion college curriculum. They are schooled in such things as set design, decor, hair & makeup, photography, sketching, etc.

After the show, which totally WOWed the audience, Rocio and Ella handed out awards, including Best Costume Designer--Kasey Riera, a 10 yr old who knocked the audience on their collective ear with her cotton candy design that was inspired by the movie, Willie Wonka. There was also Maileth Nunez, who won Millinery Design Award, in her Alice in Wonderland inspired teapot hat. Tori Harding presented a collection inspired by pop singer Pink.

The Teen Board modeled some of ella bella roZio's own creations. This is another group committed to enriching the lives of Miami's youth.

For more information about the IOF, visit For more information about ella bella roZio, visit

Jewel Figueras is the Miami Fashion & Style Examiner.  She also maintains the website  You can follow her on Twitter at or email her at


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