WHEN DAD’S DRESSED everyone from Giant’s James Dean and Urban Cowboy’s John Travolta to White House ranch hand George H. W. Bush, what’s a son with fashion in his DNA to do? Design for you and me. Manuel Cuevas Sr., a custom tailor and embellisher known as the Rhinestone Rembrandt, has passed his Singer on to his namesake to form Manuel Exclusive, a new line that translates his legacy on the stage and screen for the street. The father-son collaboration took off last year, when Dallas fashion-brand guru Allen Tucker and Manuel Jr. crossed paths at Dad’s “Star-Spangled Couture” exhibit at Fort Worth’s National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. The young designer subsequently presented all his personal prototypes at Tucker’s Plano manse, and a week later Tucker ventured to Nashville to see the family workshop and store. “Allen walked into the boutique and had never seen so many rhinestones, so much embroidery, so many cuts,” Manuel Jr. remembers. “He said, ‘You really put your love into every stitch.’” Junior was then invited to show his first collection of men’s and women’s ready-to-wear during New York Fashion Week (in the tent traditionally reserved for Kors, Lauren, and de la Renta), and he now oversees a design department based in Frisco. He crafts the samples in Nashville, gets his father’s blessing on each one, and then sends the rococo leather, suede, and denim pieces to his team to perfect. Though dear to Nashville and new to New York, the prodigy has been so taken in by Texans that Big D’s downtown Neiman’s insisted on carrying the line first, while the Dallas Cattle Baron’s Ball bigwigs commissioned him to design this year’s commemorative tee.
Manuel Exclusive, 6136 Frisco Square Blvd., Frisco, 972-712-1777, manuelexclusive.com. Available at St. Thomas, 10000 Research Blvd., Ste. 113, Austin, 512-338-0526; Neiman Marcus, 1618 Main, Dallas, 214-741-6911; M. L. Leddy’s, 2455 N. Main, Fort Worth, 817-624-3149; Ladies Supply Inc., 400 Nolana Tower, McAllen, 956-631-5425.