Seventeen students from San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, the largest private university of art and design in the U.S., showcased their graduate collections on Saturday night at NYFW. The runway communicated freedom of expression framed within a respect for technique and a focus on textiles for which the institute has become known.
The Master of Fine Arts collections comprised of eleven womenswear, two menswear and a gratifying number of partnerships such as that of Tingting Cai and Esther Qi who teamed up to create five sculptural looks that relied on the perfect balance of layers, weight and volume. Their inspiration of Siamese twins and well-loved books with dogeared pages, highlighted passages, and scrawled notes was translated into scholarly grey flannel pinafores accented with stacked of striated fabric at armholes and hems.
The messy allure of houndstooth and lace, suiting and lingerie, askew collars and irregular buttoning evoke notions of that hastily assembled morning-after outfit which Yoonsuk Lee associates with the walk of shame.
Seventeen students showcase graduate collections at New York Fashion Week
The 3-way collaboration between design student Mark Kazu Mekaru, textile student Katy Fang Liu, and knitwear designer Amo Chou provided perhaps the most satisfyingly complete and store-ready menswear collection. Immensely tactile, in smoky greys, gold and mauve, the pieces were layered in staggered lengths to maintain a languid ease.
Cross collaboration wins again as design student Longwen Li and textiles student Kiwon Kang, who were inspired by the collision of the digital world and a tropical island, combined glitch art, white noise and classic Hawaiian print shirting to create playfully sculptural menswear.
The poetry of black and white was captured in Zhihan Liu’s austerely romantic, cinematic parade of stoic heroines with tragedy in their past. In start contrast, the kindergarten palette of brights, rounded edges, and homespun embroidery in Zibo Wang’s collection are the results of plumbing her own personal history of growing up on a military compound.
With Tilda Swinton as a muse, Lusha Wang created a collection focusing on the constraints and struggles of women in today’s society through binding, stitching and a sophisticated composition of fabrics.
The students will remain in town for the next two days as this year the school will host their first showroom event at Manhattan’s Kimball Studio permitting industry professionals to view all thirteen runway collections and see the seventeen students’ portfolios.
Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.
Photos Getty images