The day began with a highly professional, impressive showing of the famed San Francisco based Academy of Art University’s second annual MFA graduate’s fashion show (of which the famed illustrator Gladys Perint Palmer is Executive Director of Fashion). The designs of 14 mind blowingly talented students (fashion designers who worked in collaboration with textile designers) who have traditionally gone on to much bigger and better gigs, were not only on par with but transcended much of what has been shown up until now. Highlights were the Balenciaga inspired designs of Laurie Browne in collaboration with Young Jun Ryu; the structured denim sportswear by Li-Jen “Alan” Lee (which is being sponsored by Cone Mills); the colorful knitwear of Vietnamese Quyen Nguyen; the painstakingly hand detailed and feminine designs of Swedish and African American Shanti Rose Markstrom. Kudos to all.
Alice Roi’s show was refreshing, sweet, and charmingly consistent in mood, tone, and execution. The young talented designer is admittedly taken with short dresses, structure, jumpers, vests, chic neutrals, layering, ribbed knits, and sleeve treatment (not to mention a hefty dose of the Courreges 60’s and the utilitarian functionality of the 90’s). It was well designed and looked wearable and relevant.
One can always count on Alexandre Herchcovits to go his own way and go his own way he did. While fall 2006 was all about hard edged black, in what thus far seems to be a very neutral spring, AH made a stand with a short and sweet showing of his signature eye popping, almost cartoonish primary colors, pattern mixes (bold awning stripes, florals, plaids, abstracts), creative layering, plays on proportion and volume. And while much of what was shown was admittedly difficult to wear, Alexandre’s simple, deft tailoring always shines through and saves the day.
Speaking of stripes, bold color (and especially the color red), all the above stood out at Atil Kutoglu, the Turkish designer with quite a fan base, who seemed to be far more inspired by the honest simplicity of American sportswear than in seasons past (though he said he was inspired by the “Wiener Werkstaette mixed with the clothes my mother wore at parties in her house in the summer of ‘78”). The result was a collection far more wearable and less contrived which certainly did not suffer from the formidable modeling talents of top gals like Karolina and my favorite, Cecilia (she of the boyishly long skinny frame, and close cropped black straight bob) who not only looks great in everything but makes everything look amazing!
The UPS sponsored newcomer, Russian designer, Alexander Terekhov unveiled his Terexov collection in the afternoon at the UPS Hub. With the exception of the first look out: a black coated cotton trench coat worn over a white top and black mini, almost everything else seemed to be a variation on one theme: a draped jersey self belted wrap dress: knee length or floor length, in either white, gray, or black. Sometimes the dress was belted high for an empire effect, sometimes it was sleeveless, and more often than not, it was full sleeved and worn seductively off the shoulder.
In the meantime, the most powerful woman in fashion, Anna Wintour, was sitting front row center, clad in a chic black and white sleeveless polka dot dress from Oscar de la Renta’s upcoming resort line (gee, I wonder how she managed that??!!!). But she was not at the Bryant Park Tents. She was at the U.S. Open, cheering on her good friend Roger Federer as he won his men’s semi final match. I guess she won’t be attending any late afternoon fashion shows on Sunday because Roger will be battling against Andy Roddick in the men’s finals. Speaking of which, congratulations to the very young, tall, beautiful, and stylish Maria Sharapova, who not only won the women’s finals against Justine Henin- Hardenne, but looked amazing in her Audrey Hepburn inspired little black tennis dress.