Is one of these kids the next Alex Wang?
Last week, Coach CEO Reed Krakoff and Simon Collins, Dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons, hosted a pre-party for the 2011 Parsons Fashion Benefit at Krakoff’s eponymous store on Madison Avenue. On display were looks from ten designers, chosen by their peers, representing the cream of 2011’s young fashion design crop.
Now, the grad show for Parsons fashion design student will take place in early May, but consider this a preview. If that show is the Oscars, where those chosen to present their thesis collections are chosen by a panel of Parsons staff and industry experts (the Academy), these are the SAG awards, where the kids were judged by their peers.
“One thing I love is that the students go so far beyond what was required,” said Collins. “There’s a dress over there that was hand-woven. It reminds me of Michelin 3-star chefs, who will spend six hours slaving over one detail of one entrée to get the right flavor. They need to create 6 looks in their collections and there’s a student here who did 19. There’s blood on the sewing machines.”
Among the fashion heavies who came to get a look at the newest up-and-comers were Theory’s Andrew Rosen, T’s Sally Singer, Vogue’s Mark Holgate, InStyle fashion director Cindy Weber-Cleary, Allure’s fashion director, Treena Lombardo, Gilt chairman Susan Lyne, as well as Phillip Lim.
Some standouts included L.A. native Theresa Matthias, whose wetsuit-constructed tweed jacket and skirt (her thesis collection also has swimwear and fur jackets), were intended “for a bicoastal woman, because that’s what I aspire to be.”
Myrtle Quillamor “Loves to draw. I’m very 2D,” the 22-year-old Tom’s River, New Jersey native says. Inspired by old photos of Angelica Huston, she created a silk tulle bodysuit, decorated with hand applique details made from individual pieces of velvet and metallic silk, and then fixed to the tulle in layers. The intended result–at once dancerly, ethereal, and elegant–was pleasantly achieved.
Virginian Paige Kettering, 23, was inspired by South Asian cultures. She developed a traditional woodblock print, which she applied to a raw silk fabric. She then began pulling threads to give the impression of the garment fading away. “It’s not an evening gown in any sense of the word,” she says, “but for my customer it’s what she wears when she wants to look dressed up.”
T. Youn Hwang, 30, from South Korea, was inspired by Napolean’s Grande Armée and the notion of trompe l’oeil. His alpaca jacket featured deceptively fake lapels and badges, as well as false pockets, with real pockets sewn in behind them. Displaying a bold red silk lining, patterned with chess pieces, the winning jacket covered conservative, high-necked shirting and sat atop a deceptive rep skirt, which in turn, cleverly shielded tweed, military short pants.