NY Fashion Week: Academy of Art Fall 2009 Runway Show Coverage

Friday the 13th of February saw the Academy of Art University present 6 outstanding student collections at the Bryant Park tents. “This season it’s all about collaborations: we want to prepare these young designers to go into the industry,” said Ian MacKintosh, Academy of Arts University In-House Public Relations. [Once in the industry] “they’re not going to be working by themselves; they’re not an island, they are working as a team in a design team atmosphere; they’re learning how to share ideas, morph ideas, and take ideas further.” Four of the six shows were the product of collaborative efforts between a textile designer and a fashion designer, where the concept for the clothing was devised between the two, and the textile designer then created the fabrics the fashion designer used to construct the garments. With such a melding of upcoming raw talent, the variety and innovation of the looks was both astounding and inspiring.

Heather Howard and Cat Janky showcased a collection (pictured above) in a muted palette of grays, navies, pale denim blues, browns, and beiges; utilizing about 20% eco-friendly fabrics, and referencing a historical early 1900’s-silhouette with exaggerated lengths, longer waists, and mini collars. Textile designer Janky overdyed many of the fabrics and then printed them using silkscreening, pigment discharge and burnout techniques. Sketches of historical faces, ghostly pine trees, and antiqued plaid lent a vintage and aged feel. 


Academy of Art University: I-Shan Lou & Myoung Hee Kim
(above, Sam Francis artwork, AllPosters.com; some looks from the runway show)

I-Shan Lou and Myoung Hee Kim created standout pieces by knitting shapes in angora wool and bonding rice-paper and chiffons printed with bold splashes of color onto them, a la Sam Francis and his abstract, splashy paintings in bright hues. Paired with black and white checkered leggings, the models exuded an 80’s feel, and the oversized knitted sweaterdresses and jackets seemed the perfect toppers for the artsy, fashion-forward gal.

(above, Leslie Shows’ artwork from jackhanley.com; some looks from the runway show)

Emily Melville and Ivaka Georgieva produced structured dresses with ethereal marble-like prints that could easily have found their way onto the pages of Vogue. Wool coats and dresses took on unconventional forms through unusual pleating and construction techniques; inspired by the work of landscape artist Leslie Shows the pieces were printed in sinewy grays, thin streaks of coral, and undulating beiges. The fluid colors graced hems and sides; the overall effect was ladylike and delicate.

The Britex Fabric Project showcased the work of a number of different students who used donated Britex fabrics to create paperbag-waisted pants and wool crepe dresses.

(above, Agate Beach photo from visitcalifornia.org; some looks from the runway show)

We also saw student Qianya Martin produce a collection of knitwear interspersed with sheer paneling; inspired by the tide pools and sand of Agate Beach in Bolinas, CA. She created a 60’s silhouette using sculptural knitting techniques, boning, invisible thread, and 3D shaping to fashion volumionous coats an zebra-like dresses in stripes of black and tan, with sheer fabrics in between. “I want people to have an appreciation for what’s beautiful already,” she said. “When we walk down the street, everything we see can have beauty in it, and I tend to live my life like that.”

Finally, student Scott McFarland showed a menswear collection dominated by textural, puffy sweaters with pink and gray diamond patterns woven into the yarns. Art Deco played a significant role in his inspiration for the collection, and he paired the pastel gray and cream hues with loose thermal underwear leggings and knitted accessories. Shape and 3D detailing stood out – though the color palette may have been not masculine enough (read: too fashion-forward) for some.
Overall the AAU show started New York Fashion Week off on an innovative, fresh foot – and any environment that fosters such creativity and forward-thinking while remaining grounded in the realities of surviving in this business – is to be celebrated. We look forward to what these talented designers will move on to in the future.

-Carly J. Cais
All runway photos by Scott Gries, Getty Images for IMG.
As posted by me on FashionTribes.com
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