Arts / Galleries

Immersive Art Wonderland Gives River Oaks District Extra Holiday Power — Stepping Into a Holidaze

Four Scenes of Magic

BY // 12.24.20

The holidays look different this year,  but River Oaks District is still bringing some cutting-edge cheer. An immersive exhibit dubbed Holidaze, a project designed by Matter Creative Studio owner Matt Johns and production designer Chantelle Adams, has turned Houston’s high-fashion district into an arty holiday escape. 

The gallery features four unique vignettes designed to transport viewers into a winter wonderland at a time when many are hesitant to travel.

“Chantelle and I wanted to put some magic back into the holiday season by designing pieces that would make people smile during a time that has been really tough for many,” Johns says.

The four vignettes provide different looks, starting with “Hard Candy Christmas.”

Hard Candy Christmas

“Hard Candy Christmas” is a surreal take on a classic Christmas in East or West Texas. The rustic scene was inspired by country singers Kacey Musgraves and Orville Peck as well as Dolly Parton‘s holiday classics. Johns and Adams journeyed around Houston and found a 50’s old Lamé cowboy jacket and a ruby red antique sled. Fashion designer Marcus Pontello’s custom crimson drapes add a touch of luxury to this striking scene. 

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I’ll Have a Pink Christmas

Welcome to glitter galore and all things pink. The “I’ll Have a Pink Christmas” installation is an ode to the one and only Christmas queen, Mariah Carey. Pose next to dozens of presents for a picture that is sure to be a holiday memory for years to come.

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The Dining Room

Everyone loves sitting down to enjoy a home-cooked holiday meal. “The Dining Room” was heavily influenced by The Nutcracker and The Liberace Mansion. White curtains with fringe ropes represent the epaulets on a nutcracker’s jacket. Champagne bottles filled with holographic glitter pop against the white tablecloth. The giant upside-down Christmas tree makes for a funky Christmas photo. 

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Happy New Year

Get ready for the New Year with a neon disco neon celebration. Stand under the metallic streamers and you will feel like you are inside a disco ball. Take a Christmas Eve photo or even enjoy a serene moment to yourself. At the end of the day, Johns and Adams enjoy sitting under this brilliant scene to escape from the outside world and meditate. 

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“With all the other projects that we have collaborated on with ROD, Chantelle and I always want to transport people into a space that feels unexpected and has little glimmers of joy spread all throughout,” Johns says. 

Holidaze is free of charge and open Mondays through Saturdays from 12 pm to 8 pm and Sundays from 12 pm to 6  pm. It is closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day. Social distancing and masks are required. The exhibit is open until January 3. For more information, check out the ROD website

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