MADE Fashion Week hosted the inaugural runway show for the first graduating class of the new MFA in Fashion Design and Society at Parsons The New School for Design, a highly selective program for talented, emerging designers that was initiated through the support of Parsons alumna Donna Karan. Students presented their personal vision, with a focus on process and identity, through a body of work that encompasses highly executed, innovative clothing and accessory collections. The first graduating class is truly international—its eighteen students represent Australia, China, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Peru, Switzerland, Taiwan, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, and United States.
As a major supporter of emerging designers I’m thrilled that there is a program like MADE which amazingly provides the space and production of their designers shows for free (and you think NYC is all about the $). I was equally excited by Parsons new MFA program and the collections I saw on the runway. There was a range of styles and concepts in the show but overall it was creative and showed excellent craft. (I’m always fearful of craft being relegated to the backseat in favor of theory or concept in graduate programs but this was not the case.) Below are images from the runway along with excerpts from the designer’s statements and the group opinion of me with a few select friends who love fashion.
All runway photos by Dan Lecca, courtesy of Parsons New School of Design.
Part 3 coming Friday!
Jun Juyeon Hong
Fine artist Andrea Lopez Garcia’s drawing book was starting point for my collection, entitled “Unfinished Creative Work.” His drawings represent the various lines and shapes that form the core definitions of the object and its iconography.
The idea of transforming such an artistic process into a sartorial form involved serious stylistic experiments. The final pieces might appear as if they are incomplete but are in fact complete, and are executed with innovative shapes, lines, and details.
We say: There’s a slight severity to the silhouettes but the softness of the fabrics and color palette provides a nice counter balance. The grey coat with the pants (4th image) seems the most wearable and the last coat (5th image) fits in with this fall’s focus on volume and shape in outerwear.
My collection is inspired by human figures in motion. I was collecting images by taking pictures at public spaces in New York and making collages. I became fascinated about making clothes based on those collages. I was also inspired by sculptures by Isamu Noguchi, who also depicted human figures in motion. I found the connection by coincidence. I worked on the designs from a 360-degree perspective to achieve unexpected perspectives from the front, back and two side angles.
We say: It looks like a sophisticated interpretation of color blocking. Beautiful combinations of colors and textures on relaxed silhouettes, the collection is elegant yet modern.
ARTICULO 6 [narratives of gender, strength and politics] is an art and design project that aims to inform audiences and open critical dialogues about the unsolved case of forced sterilizations that occurred in Peru during the government of Alberto Fujimori during the 1990s. The project was created through an intense process of research that included policy analysis, as well as interviews with women who were sterilized in the town of Anta, in Cusco-‐Peru. Formally, the project uses the language and medium of fashion to intervene an otherwise forgetful social and political space, to stir attention towards a social scar that has not yet healed. ARTICULO 6 consists of 34 garments made through mixed techniques of machine embroidery and prints on cotton twill and cotton canvas. Explores visual representations or “moments” visually represented through cuts, pleats, waistbands, text (in two languages), prints, and embroidery-‐as-‐intervention.
We say: With some collections the designer statement seems an after thought, with others it seems unnecessary information. Lucia Cuba’s designs instantly engage the viewer. Not in a “what were you thinking” way but with a genuine curiosity –we want to know the thoughts behind them. We normally avoid this term but her collection could be considered Wearable Art in the very best sense.
Persephone is the queen of the underworld in Greek mythology. She is the daughter of Demeter, the harvest-‐goddess and wife of Hades, the God of underworld. She was originally known as Kore, the girl maiden, who was kept away from the outside world in her mother’s secret garden. One day she was kidnapped by Hades for her beauty and was trapped in the underworld for eating six seeds of a pomegranate that Hades offered her. Demeter cried in grief and sadness for her daughter’s abduction, plants on earth wilted and animals died of hunger. Zeus saw this happening and ordered Hades to return Persephone half of the year to her mother so order will be kept, thus creating the seasons on earth. This collection transitions from Kore, the innocent and naïve girl to Persephone, the queen of underworld. The play on life and death, good and bad, love and hate was key to its development.
We say: Flowers flowing from the neckline say formal wear but the sheerness is more appropriate for… the bedroom? The collection is beautiful but left us slightly confused: it looks to us as if it’s meant to be wearable but as it is we can’t figure out exactly how or where we’d wear it.
I have created a collection based on the theme Emptiness, as opposed to the meaning of nothingness. A concept used by Kenya Hara, the art director for Muji. “Emptiness does not merely imply simplicity of form, logical sophistication and the like. Rather, emptiness provides a space within which our imaginations can run free, vastly enriching our powers of perception and our mutual comprehension.”
We say: We’re totally getting the emptiness vs. nothingness here. The slashes of sheerness or opacity across the chest creates a sense of vulnerability that is unexpected. The cool pale colors feel modern as does the asymmetry.
“The Beast Within” This collection is inspired by my personal fascination with man and mythical beasts and their relationship as reflected in Greek Mythology and in Art History. It is a collection of fantastic bestiary that explores the symbolism of primitivism, sacrifice, innocence, admiration, strength, cruelty and love between the two supreme beings.
We say: We know you’re not supposed to have favorites, but collectively this one was one of the tops on our list. Moonlight silver knitwear with gorgeous textures and fun silhouettes. If we have one (tiny) complaint it’s the thigh high boots made us think of a giraffe and took away from that look. But if the first dress goes into production let us know!