Nine designers from around the country showcased a slice of their immense talent at potential as part of The Art Institutes Show at New York Fashion Week (NYFW). Giving these designers a platform on a national level was not just a slick opportunity for them, but a visual treat for audiences who got to see a plethora of shows in one. The debut was saturated with inspirations from a variety of cultural and design backgrounds.
Devon Pezzano – Art Institute of Philadelphia
Hailing from my former hometown Philadelphia, this was a red, black and white themed collection, three of my favorite colors, especially the red. A red neoprene mesh bubble overall opened the segment as a fairly gender neutral outfit, barring the puffed sleeves. Neoprene was a common fabric element here, for mostly dresses, where I enjoyed the accenting of cardigans or asymmetrical shorts the best.
Mimmy Begazo – Miami International University of Art and Design
Calling her geometrically stunning outfits “anti-radiation”, this was a futuristic looking collection foiled in silver patchwork on rectangular dresses with a plethora of fabric and taupe patchwork or organza. With a penchant for shine and metal infusions in fashion, I enjoyed both the unique cutouts of the organza dresses versus jackets, as well as the creative shapes of metal wire and sparkle of metallic foil on every outfit.
Rene Majia – The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale
The gray satin pantsuit with a cut-away jacket was my favorite piece in the entire show, highly gender neutral and creatively accented with colors. Outside of these, this was a futuristic take on princess attire, with a pink tulle overskirt atop a satin gown, or a pink flounce on a simple white satin gown. Using the baby pink accents was a clever way to feminize the delicate whites even further.
Esther Ashiru – The Art Institute of Vancouver
A clever take on deception was a nude mesh bodysuit with gray beaded and embroidered appliques, fairly risque on the front, but with a gray apron train in the back to make it fit for an evening. The black and gray theme was prominent with sequined bustiers, bodysuits, organza skirts and a plethora of appliques. Being a shine and sparkle enthusiast, this collection fit right into avant garde evening wear. However my favorite was a white sequined peplum top with an oversized bow and satin skirt, almost bridal looking, but with stunning detail and tonal contrast with the fabric and skin.
Maria D’Ocon – Miami International University of Art & Design
Going the bridal way was a series of white lace and applique dresses that would make anyone crave an impromptu wedding, if only to gape at the bride. I could not decide between a favorite of the outfits, given their variety from mesh lace with appliques and matching trains to a white chiffon illusion neckline gown. The outtakes as a dress with an organza coat and chiffon cape, or an altogether masculine rendition with a lace sequined sheer pant ensured that the combinations of white and lace could unravel an infinite collection of possibilities.
Julissa Arrington – The Art Institute of California – San Francisco
Admittedly having walked right into this show, I caught the theme of white as a spring/summer 2017 essential. With off white maxis paired with jackets, linen and silk dresses and a gauze shawl (being a favorite accessory of all seasons), it was a luscious combination of a disparate series of fabrics, unified by the color white.
Melody Hernandez – The Art Institute of Dallas
A smart and almost ready-to-wear collection consisted of mix and match skirts (one with vinyl geometric appliques as a favorite!) with bustier and mesh tops. The bursts of iridescent blue and pink blush or light blue and black gave this collection a starry night quality, compared to the pastels seen at other shows.
Bianca Zidik – The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago
Who said neon pink and orange was stuck in the retro 70s and 80s? Bringing back the multicolor patchwork dress, a cropped pink jacket over a pink mini skirt or the orange hound tooth’s flared pants with a faux fur vest, this collection rivaled many others on its interpretation of haute couture.
Adrian Escoto – The Art Institute of New York City
Hailing from New York, these designs were almost all patchwork, a modernist and signature style of the designer. With blue being a key color tone, the denim patchwork shirtdress, layers involving a patchwork jacket with white pants and a crop top with a midi skirt were standouts. The patchwork theme was well executed, even on the designer’s own menswear shirt!
With an inspired sense of fulfillment, having seen the dreams of these debutantes come true, I left feeling content and entrusted for the bright future of fashion.