Academy of Art Students take on New York Fashion Week
Not sleet, not rain, not wind nor snow can derail true fashion lovers. It is New York Fashion Week, and the trendiest and most outrageous style instigators are huffing and heeling around the city searching for the best and brightest of the Fall 2013 collections.
While the design kings and queens have worked these shows before, a handful of San Francisco's strongest up-and-comers had the opportunity to join the exclusive rank. The Academy of Art University brought together ten talented recent grads to show seven unique women's wear collections that emphasized the creative understanding and artistry of the group.
The opening collection brought together Janine Villa, a fashion designer, and Amanda Nervig, a knitwear designer, who collaborated on a collection inspired by the color and complexity of Villa’s assemblage of traditional Welsh blankets. The choice to focus on silhouettes that were tailored and simple allowed the intricacy of the textiles to leave a bold impression. Through simple layering, the interweaving pattern and color left an impression of intended opposition, a soft and inspiring clash.
Minimal and soft, the pieces of Yuming Weng drew on the dreamy and distorted portraits of New Zealand Artist Henrietta Harris. The pebble and taupe colored wool hung and danced softly, presenting a structured but delicate silhouette. The pieces combined the natural structure of Calvin Klein with a modern and impressionistic twist.
Teresa Field, James Thai and Leah Aripotch, a fashion designer, textile designer and jewelry designer respectively, collaborated on a collection inspired by artistic representation of the human body. The inspiration came from sketches of anatomy and musculature and also referenced the unexpected structure and geometry of organic matter. The collection drew on elemental materials like bone, leather, and metal to add to the dramatic structure of the pieces.
The loud colors and distinct patterns of Heather Marie Scholl immediately announced her message and collection. With machine gun printed pants and underwear-like patterns, Scholl’s pieces were meant to explore the duality and sexual obsessed nature of queer culture. By emphasizing the color and glamour of her pieces, Scholl’s pieces took the outward-ness of pop art and brought an underlying social pulse to her pieces.
Chenxi Li’s collection was a reminder that one color does not mean one-dimensional. The navy blue military style hats evoked a structured, masculine feel, while her bright blue tights and coats brought to mind the exaggerated silhouettes of 1950s women’s wear. By playing with texture and figure while remaining decidedly focused in color, the pieces exude a sharp contrast.
The relationship between humans and technology was the inspiration for Heather McDonald who drew on the 1927 Film Metropolis for her collection. The dark pieces focused on an angular silhouette, highlighted by sheer and structured layers as well as contoured knitwear pieces. The pieces evoked a dark contrast between sharp and soft, warm and cool, natural and unnatural.
The final designer Qian Xie kept a decidedly simple palette, playing with the ideas of light, shadow and negative space. Inspired by the shadows created during different times of day, Xie paired the texture and bulk of buckles, fur, latticed leather to emphasize the play of texture and space.
The conceptuality of many of the pieces shown is proof that this year brought together a decidely creative group. Each designer presented a strong collection of pieces that challenged the viewers to think past the moment of presentation and to focus on the message behind each collection. Each artist can be proud of achieving such an unbelievable first show and can move forward, clearly destined for a bright future with the possibility of future New York Fashion Weeks a likely reality.
To watch the entire show click HERE
All photos courtesy Randy Brooke/Getty Images