In it’s ninth season at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, the recent graduates and students of Academy of Art University showcased their respective collections for industry leaders and a New York audience.
There was an equal balance of womenswear and menswear collections, woven in between each other to alternate the male and female. Eight collections showed, each designer and collaboration showcasing six looks each. As the designers showed one after another without introduction, it was crucial their collections stood out against each other. They all did with ease.
The opening menswear collection by Didvik Kuang played up the scarf and other colorful accessories like neon rimmed sunglasses. The external colors enhanced the main muted color palate of Kuang’s American Gigolo inspired loose fitting and relaxed collection. The dichotomy of colors further contrasted with the closing piece, an under-accessorised long black trench.
Kuang’s collection was followed by Gwen Shihyao Lai’s womenswear. Lai highlighted bold prints in each piece of her collection. Straight-haired models with blunt, mod bangs strutted the structured, oversized pieces. The sharp jackets balanced out the printed button downs and bottoms. Lai’s collection seemed fit for a disheveled business woman.
Marine Rongrong Wei showed her menswear collection next. Full of oversized form and denim, Wei exhibited a ‘working class’ sensibility. The structure of her pieces showcased strength and unrelenting form.
The first collaboration of the show was a womenswear collection by Shanshan Bai and Winbo Shiau. Theirs was also the only collection to incorporate knitwear in each piece. Bombers and highly sculpted jackets offset the innovative knit tanks, sweaters and pants. The combination of so many elements exuded an alien aesthetic, modernized for the everyday woman.
Midway through the show, Leslie Dilloway’s menswear collection presented a de-stressed tourist. Her incorporation of liquid fabrics in a few looks took the collection from utilitarian to a necessary exquisiteness. Warning: Dilloway’s collection may make it harder to tell tourists apart from stylish natives your hometown. We have Dilloway’s chic fanny packs, drawstrings and windbreakers to thank.
Next, Vicken Derderian’s collection explored architecture in the human body with highly crafted dresses. Streaks of shine ran through backless dresses, pleated skirts, and an envelope sleeve dress that alluded to angel wings and human transformation.
The second collaboration of the night was from menswear designer Ryan Morar and textile designer Melissa Avalos. All looks incorporated a paint or print textile piece and t-shirt. Dark blues and tans juxtaposed with red and multicolored jacket hues. Their collection is perfect for a man with the enhanced urge for subtle futurism.
Nika Tang’s womenswear collection closed the show. Tang’s ruffles made an appearance in each look, paying homage to the oversized bubble form. Anyone looking to make a statement in unoffensive colors search no further.
The Academy of Art shows at NYFW are always refreshing. There’s nothing like scouting the newest talent straight out of school, without the weight of perceived industry demands jumping out of their collections. - Niko Nelson
Niko Nelson is a new contributor to Ms. Fabulous. She comes to us from The New School and specializes in art and fashion.
Original photos by David TW Leung