Sunday, February 15, 2009

Academy of Art, San Francisco

I love heading to the shows at NYFW, who doesn’t? Loud music, beautiful models and of course, amazing and fabulous clothes that I could never afford and would never really fit me anyway. It doesn’t matter; the whole experience brings me that much closer to my appreciation for the art of fashion.

For the past few years, I have had the opportunity to go to the Academy of Art University, San Francisco shows under the tents. It’s my favorite show because it’s new , fresh and the students aren’t pressured by any corporate idea of what they should be designing. At this show, there’s so much creativity and fabric variety. This season’s show was on Friday, Feb 13th and before I showed up, my friend who runs the PR there emailed me that day and said “wait until you see our models!” I had no idea what he was talking about, I assumed maybe they actually hired some “healthy” models that are no taller than 5’ 6”: imagine!

Usually, the show is competing with another big show or like last season,Conde Nast's Fashion Rocks, so they couldn’t get the big models ( big as in famous, clearly not by size). However, when I looked at the roster, I was blown away that they had the likes of Chanel Iman and Anja Rubik. I was so excited for myself and even more so for the designers who have the chance to have their pieces worn by noteworthy models. People look even closer when the models are famous in their own right.

So a few of the designers really left me with the jaw drop. I LOVED the collection by Heather Howard; her pieces were so beautifully done and the fun tree pattern on her flowy, prairie like dresses were something I hope to have in my closet one day. Heather is from Portland, OR (coincidentally I was at the show with Project Runway winner Leanne Marshall who also is from Portland, however just moved here to NY.) so a lot of her collection is drawn from her surrounding in the Pacific Northwest, which is a very beautiful place. Beautiful, but strange place I might add. Her dresses have a trapeze shape silhouette which is hard to imagine, but easy to embrace when you see it. Her colors were soft and feminine and I have no doubt she will be impressing many in the years to come.

Another designer I loved was Emily Melville. Her printed wool coats and dresses were so amazing; I haven’t seen anything like that in so long. They reminded me of old Hollywood glamour, the fashion that is long gone these days. Emily showed some simple silhouettes with beautiful colors and fabrics that just fall so nicely. She also featured some soft prints and patterns for an little edge. The collections from the Academy of Art are just SO fun. The designers are new to the industry and they have the major fortune to be guided by Simon Ungless, who has worked with designers such as Alexander McQueen, Donna Karan Ralph Lauren, Versace and Paul Smith. The guy is talented, and surprisingly very nice; I met him last year when I went it to get a behind the scenes look.

I highly recommend anyone who loves fashion to follow these students on their journey. Sure, many of them may have to close up shop, so to speak, and find some other work to pay the bills, as is the downside of emerging fashion. But either way, they are designers to watch no matter how high up they go. New talent is where the fresh is, and when your old standbys are getting stale, here is where to look. For a look at the whole show line up:, Academy of Art University, San Francisco.

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