The Academy of Art University showed in the tent at Bryant Park on Friday evening. Quite honestly I was skeptical both because it was a student show and because it was from a school not located in the Fashion Capital of the Universe. (as the signs outside Bryant Park refer to New York). But this show unmasked my provincial prejudices with the level of skill and presentation shown throughout.
Six different collections of recent graduates were shown.
The first was a large group collaboration called The Britex Fabrics Project. Using fabrics such as oversized houndstooth and wool crepe donated by Britex Fabrics, the students created pieces that successfully sculpted volume – creating new shapes while maintaining a softness and sense of movement. The result being both avant-garde yet approachable.
Qianya Martin’s collection came next. Inspired by the ripples and repetition of the ocean the earthtone color palette also brought to mind ripples of sand dunes. Simple shift dresses and tunics with details such as sheer panels resulted in imminently wearable pieces with refined simplicity.
Heather Howard and Cat Janky created an eco-friendly collection of longer layered smock dresses and jackets that was a bit ‘90s grunge crosses the Little Matchgirl. The delicate textile designs and lightness of the fabric however give the individual pieces a flexibility to be worn with less severity than how they were presented on the runway.
Scott McFarland, a formally trained sculptor translated his skills into knitwear design. His presentation of knit sweaters and coats for men were inspired by Art Deco patterns which were readily apparent as well as metal work and the androgynous styles from the 1920s. The cut and colors of his pieces would be attractive to women as well.
I-Shan Liou and Myoung Hee Kim presented a collection of knit dresses with abstract painterly designs. While the prints were stunning I have a concern that the volume and length of most of the dresses make them unwearable for anyone without a model’s physique.
The final and perhaps strongest collection was by Emily Melville and Ivanka Georgieva. It was elegant and sophisticated with silhouettes that seemed to be a modern interpretation of the early ‘60s. With pale creamy colors and intricate detailing these clothes evoke a rarefied world and would not be out of place at a White House cocktail reception.