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.
(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.
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
(Shoes photos, Matthew Peyton, Getty Images North America; runway photos, Marcio Madeira, Style.com)
It’s been awhile since Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC has drawn to a close (Feb 13-20, 2009, to be exact) but with Fall already on the way we wanted to pass on the tips and trends we saw only a few months ago.
Drawing inspiration from the group of French dandies called Les Incroyables that formed in the 18th Century following the French Revolution, designer Laura Poretzky showcased a tightly edited, elegantly cohesive Collection. Just as the group of gentlemen focused on tailored, regal pieces evoking a more opulent time, the designer put efforts into shape and fit; creating a sumptuous collection of versatile separates. The palette was sophisticated and muted in vintage-like “tarnished” hues: washed tones of black and gunmetal gray, sterling blue, colonial blue, dove gray, regal purple, and dusty rose. With exquisite tailoring and a focus on the beauty of fabric and texture, this collection stood out as the designer seemed to truly be hitting her stride. And to add the crowning touch: beautiful, drool-worthy shoes (the Antoine, Rousseau, and Dauphin) in velveteen and suede, from the Abaeté for Payless Collection due to be out in stores in August of 2009.
Elegant coats with sewn-in vests, nipped-in jackets with tails, layered silken ascots, slim-cut twill pants, wide swing skirts, tiered layering and petals, and regal striped wool separates evoked a time period of genteel joie de vivre. Jackets were constructed with sewn-in vests in order to function as a double-layered piece in the working woman’s wardrobe. Deep sterling blue silk dresses were shot through with silver lurex threads: the pieces literally looked as if the night sky was walking down the runways. Black and cream, gunmetal gray, and deep blues spoke of romance and longing – and all ensembles were accented by the most intricately beautiful accessories fashioned by jewelry designer Thea Grant: filigree gold brooches, multi-chain gold belts, and tiny pin accents that elevated the look to an entirely new regal level.
The hair and makeup was utterly gorgeous – and stayed true to the Victorian French masculine aesthetic. Beauty.com celebrity makeup artist Tina Turnbow (Tarte Cosmetics), said that the healthy “no makeup” look she did on the models is easy to recreate by first prepping the skin with Caudalie Beauty Elixir ($15), enhanced with grape, rose, and myrrh extracts to brighten the complexion. She then applied Tarte Smooth Operator foundation ($35), which gave a little more coverage than the average tinted moisturizer, to let the models’ skin shine through. She used a little bit of Tarte Lash Hugger Eco-Friendly Natural Mascara ($18) on the eyelashes, and Liquid Sunshine Vitamin-Infused LipGloss on the lips to give a natural rosy gold tone ($21). Finally she applied a dusting of powder over the eyebrows to tone them down and make the look more masculine to emulate the Les Incroyables inspiration. All in all it created a healthy, refreshing look for Fall, pairing with the dark tones of the Collection nicely.
See a behind-the-scenes video footage of the look at http://video.beauty.com/p/107/revolutionary-beauty/
(Les incroyables watercolor by G. Galat, from RubyLane.com; all other photos, Carly J. Cais for FashionTribes.com)
Lead hair stylist Mario Ruiz created super-coiffed pompadours and “basically made [the models] look like 18th-century French rock stars.” He first teased the top of the hair and shaped it into a faux-mohawk rockabilly-type look, and then pulled it back into a reverse French braid in the back, weaving a black ribbon throughout. RedKen WorkForce 9 Flexible Volumizing Spray ($14) was a must for achieving the necessary texture and holding the hair style; and one of its great features is that it won’t flake and you can brush and restyle the hair as needed and it will still hold.
All in all, it was a sumptuous, opulent collection, with fantastic separates, jewelry, and insanely affordable shoes; exquisite styling choices, and a makeup look that was just as doable in the “real world”…it flowed together seamlessly, and felt like one of those rare Collections where every element hit the right note. Bravo!
-Carly J. Cais, as posted on FashionTribes.com