Academy of Art runway combines innovation with collaboration
Seventeen students from San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, the
largest private university of art and design in the U.S., showcased their
graduate collections on Saturday night at NYFW. The runway communicated
freedom of expression framed within a respect for technique and a focus on
textiles for which the institute has become known.
The Master of Fine Arts collections comprised of eleven womenswear, two
menswear and a gratifying number of partnerships such as that of Tingting
Cai and Esther Qi who teamed up to create five sculptural looks that relied
on the perfect balance of layers, weight and volume. Their inspiration of
Siamese twins and well-loved books with dogeared pages, highlighted
passages, and scrawled notes was translated into scholarly grey flannel
pinafores accented with stacked of striated fabric at armholes and hems.
The messy allure of houndstooth and lace, suiting and lingerie, askew
collars and irregular buttoning evoke notions of that hastily assembled
morning-after outfit which Yoonsuk Lee associates with the walk of
Seventeen students showcase graduate collections at New York Fashion Week
The 3-way collaboration between design student Mark Kazu Mekaru, textile
student Katy Fang Liu, and knitwear designer Amo Chou provided perhaps the
most satisfyingly complete and store-ready menswear collection. Immensely
tactile, in smoky greys, gold and mauve, the pieces were layered in
staggered lengths to maintain a languid ease.
Cross collaboration wins again as design student Longwen Li and textiles
student Kiwon Kang, who were inspired by the collision of the digital world
and a tropical island, combined glitch art, white noise and classic
Hawaiian print shirting to create playfully sculptural menswear.
The poetry of black and white was captured in Zhihan Liu’s austerely
romantic, cinematic parade of stoic heroines with tragedy in their past. In
start contrast, the kindergarten palette of brights, rounded edges, and
homespun embroidery in Zibo Wang’s collection are the results of plumbing
her own personal history of growing up on a military compound.
With Tilda Swinton as a muse, Lusha Wang created a collection focusing
on the constraints and struggles of women in today’s society through
binding, stitching and a sophisticated composition of fabrics.
The students will remain in town for the next two days as this year the
school will host their first showroom event at Manhattan’s Kimball Studio
permitting industry professionals to view all thirteen runway collections
and see the seventeen students’ portfolios.
Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for
the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.
Photos Getty images