Saturday, May 03, 2014

FIT Future of Fashion Runway Show

Con Grad-ulations!

Photos: Amber De Vos/ Patrick McMullan Studio
(Click on images for larger views)

Who will be the next Calvin Klein, Ralph Rucci, Norma Kamali, Michael Kors, Stephen Burrows, John Bartlett, Andrew Fezza, Francisco Costa? The answer to the question of who might follow in the footsteps of these celebrated FIT alumni, may well lie in Thursday night’s FIT Future of Fashion runway show, (  How do the names Peter Do, Daniel Laudadio, Grace Cox, Sarah Angel, Sarah Conlon, Gayoung Ahn, Talisa Almonte, Natali Collado, sound to you?

Critic Award Winner for Sportswear designed by Sarah Conlon

This annual end of year event (which was presented by Calvin Klein, Inc. and the Calvin Klein Family, and generously supported by MAC Cosmetics and Chico’s), spotlighted approximately 85 innovative looks created for fall 2014 by FIT’s top graduating Fashion Design students. Whittled down from an original 250, they were judged by a group of six highly respected fashion and media professionals (Bryanboy, Kate Betts, Alana Kelen, Colleen Sherin, Lilliana Vazquez, and Beagy Zielinksi). The 9 industry critics who mentored the students throughout the process were Lisa Di Napoli, Rebecca Minkoff, Mathieu Mirano, Brandon Sun, Daniel Vosovic, Reiko Waisglass, Kate Williams, Felicia Zivkovic, and Jennifer Zuccarini, who were all present at the show.

Calvin Klein

When Dr. Joyce Brown made her welcoming comments, she congratulated the “gifted group” and reminded everyone that FIT offers a wide range of programs and more than 45 majors and grants, but acknowledged, “Fashion is our signature”. She gave special thanks to FIT alum Calvin Klein, whose company supported the show, donating a $2 million multiyear gift. The runway show was actually dedicated to the design legend who was seated in the front row along with Francisco Costa, an FIT alum and creative director for the label.

Critic Award Winner for Sportswear designed by Peter Do

FYI, Calvin looked relaxed and not in the least bit worried that he had “nothing to wear for this Monday’s Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art”. According to an article in Page Six in Friday’s The New York Post, "Ralph to the Rescue", since he generally wears tuxedos, not tails, he had to enlist the help of his pal Ralph Lauren to re-create a white tie look, which was mandated by Anna Wintour for all the guys attending the gala. (I think he can well afford it LOL). And another positive side benefit of the style conundrum was that it gave him an excuse to go to Ralph’s studio for the fitting. “It’s the first time I’d ever been to his offices. I’ve heard about those offices over the years, because they’re extraordinary” he remarked. So, there you go, without even knowing it, Anna’s fashion directive has resulted in some serious fashion designer bonding. She’s also put more money in Ralph’s pockets because reportedly, many of the male guests have turned to the design icon for their formal Monday night attire.

Alexa Chung

After a lively video presentation featuring students, professors, critics and industry leaders, which offered a behind the scenes look at what went into the final selection process, leggy Alexa Chung, (the English television presenter, model, contributing editor at British Vogue, and fashion icon), took the stage. As host, she lent her unapologetically hip, It Girl status to the evening, looking effortlessly cool and keeping it light and personal while making her brief off the cuff remarks. “I’m an avowed fashion fanatic like you”, she said about the talented graduates, “but I didn’t go to school like you- I just studied the school of Jane Birkin” (this pretty much sums up her ‘look’). “And when I come knocking on your door, begging to borrow one of your dresses, please remember what I did for you” she deadpanned in her proper British accent (I’m certain she was not kidding LOL).

Critic Award Winner for Knitwear designed by Sarah Angel

There were many highlights during the course of the runway show which included some truly outstanding outerwear and sportswear, mind-blowingly textural knitwear, some beautiful eveningwear, a 3D dress,  sexy lingerie (Victoria’s Secret, eat your heart out!), and a group of children’s wear, with adorable pint sized models literally stealing the show. The finale was the announcement of the Critic Awards in the following categories: knitwear (Grace Cox, Sarah Angel), sportswear (Sarah Conlon, Gayoung Ahn, Peter Do, Talisa Almonte), Special Occasion (Joelle Samaha), intimate Apparel (Danielle Ortiz), and Children’s Wear (Natali Collado) and it was not lost on me that in a few instances, the winning designs would easily look at home on a Calvin Klein runway.  Also, for the second year, Siempre Mujer Magazine sponsored the Best Use of Color Award (given to the student “whose use of color most enhances the design of his or her garment”). Judged by Maria Cristina Marrero, the magazine’s editor in chief, the winner was the very talented Grace Cox, who also won in the Knitwear category.

Alexa Chung took to the stage and once again, thanked everyone for coming, and then, in appropriate Cool Brit It Girl Style, told everyone: “You can now go get drunk”.


- Marilyn Kirschner

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