I’ve seen a lot of shows this week, mostly established designers with a known aesthetic. I’m always excited to see what they produce, but that element of surprise isn’t always there. The Twentyten is a relatively new label, but I suspect name recognition won’t be a problem for them much longer.
Jeff Dodd, David J. Krause, and Nina Zilka are the designers behind the label, and they all met as students in the Pratt Institute’s fashion design program. The name is a reference to their graduation year. This is their fourth collection together, and their first as members of the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation.
The Incubator’s mission is to “link sustainability to enterprise.” The Twentyten designers are the first fashion designers to be members (the Incubator is for all design disciplines.) They don’t get financial support, but they get invaluable services such as assistance with business plans and exhibition space, like the open sunny loft overlooking the Hudson where they displayed their wares. The designers make everything locally in NY’s Garment Center, and several of their pieces are made from scrap leather and organic bamboo.
When I read the inspiration for the collection, I was slightly worried that this was going to be a beautiful yet unwearable, artsy mess. The collection was based on a “fictional female character and her descent into madness.” (Quite appropriate for the last few days of fashion week.)
What I saw when I walked in, however, was an utterly hip and wearable collection of tops, pants, and dresses. The vibe is definitely downtown, but I live uptown and I wanted a good chunk of this collection.
The Bellevue print, a sort of bleached out, Helmut Lang-esque print, shows up on dresses and tees. A micro-perforated shirt, the Weyburn, does transparency in a modern way. The best pieces were the Bedlam strap pants and leggings. They were skinny and wrapped with strips of fabric that were a literal nod to straightjackets.
The dark palette was punctuated intermittently with surprisingly girly raspberry and seafoam green. A seafoam button down with cut outs above the clavicle was a standout.
There also was a huge black fringed leather necklace that I developed a crush on immediately. The rest of the jewelry was by Carrie Bilbo, a 2009 graduate of Pratt's jewelry design program, and had a bone and marrow motif. A bracelet and earrings were made of human hair, sourced from hair extensions (These were fascinating, and I had to ask where she got the hair.)
I got to meet the designers--and Nina’s proud grandpa, who was hobnobbing with hipsters and taking pictures--and they’ve had a busy week of market appointments. Several magazines came by to take a look at them, and they are doing a T-shirt collaboration with the niche organic perfume company, Honoré des Prés.
The inmates are about to take over the asylum.