Tara St. James, the 2011 Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation winner, said the influence for her Fall 2011 collection was her mother’s wardrobe and style when she was growing up in the ‘80s. There have been a lot of ‘80s references in recent years but they have tended to be louder –with Swatch watch neon colors or rap music as their sartorial cues– than the more muted inspiration referenced by St. James. With a palette of blue, burnt red, mustard and shades of grey and brown the feeling was decidedly autumnal. She conceptually reinforced this with her back-to-school presentation that had each model walk down the “runway” to leave an apple on the teacher’s desk. The clothes were refreshingly understated and sophisticated and played with pattern, volume and texture. In addition many of them were created with zero-waste and/or recycled materials and created primarily in New York. I read that Tara St. James currently lives in Brooklyn and this collection felt more Prospect Park than Meatpacking district to me: the woman wearing STUDY New York isn’t screaming for attention…she is confident in who she is and isn’t looking for approval.