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On the scene: Academy of Art University Fall 2014 presentation

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The School of Fashion at Academy of Art University in San Francisco selected 13 designers to debut a total of eight thesis collections at the Theater at Lincoln Center for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on Feb. 7.

“Since 2005, we have premiered the collections of students and recent graduates during New York Fashion Week. Part of our commitment to our students is to help launch their careers and have their work seen by industry professionals,” said Dr. Elisa Stephens, President of Academy of Art University. “Debuting these designers collections during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is an incredible opportunity for each of them.”

For the first collection, Austin, TX Fashion Design M.F.A major, Jaci Hodges, collaborated with San Diego native and Textile Design B.F.A student, Nisha Hanna Btesh to create a1960’s inspired womenswear collection. Hodges’ inspiration came from the excess of prints of the late 1960’s as seen on the Brady Brunch and the costumes worn by Mia Farrow in the film Dandy in Aspic. Btesh’s vibrant textile designs mixed well with the overall aesthetic to create a collection with a mix of quirkiness and sophistication.

The six looks in the collection consisted of vibrant prints and bold wool pieces. The statement pieces were a patchwork wool coat paired with printed pants and top and a wool ball gown skirt in bright yellow with a printed shirt topped with a printed sweatshirt. The overall look was something reminiscent of things your grandmother would have made if she were only extremely hip.

The next six pieces in the show was a menswear collection from Taiwanese, Fashion Design student, Frank Tsai and B.F.A Textile Design major, Andrea Nieto from Columbia. Their collection was inspired by the mood and emotion of an international photography collection, entitled “Beauty in Decay” and by personal struggle, raw emotion and the different stages of the healing process. The monochromatic collection featured layered, asymmetric looks that included printed jackets or vests over printed pants and shorts – think delivery boy chic.

Arijana Kajdić is a Bosnian-born M.F.A Fashion Design who grew up in Germany and later Boise, Idaho. Her womenswear collection blends elements of masculine design with feminine treat, all while playing homage to the women who have nurtured her, particularly, her grandmother. This is reflected in the immense amount of handwork in her designs, which range from hand-dyeing to hand-beading, as well as the materials which include alpaca, mohair, wool, suiting, cotton, silk, gauze and lace. The elegant collection included a soft grey beaded sweatshirt, with long shirt and silk pants and adorned wool coats.

Warwick, NY native, Flora Cervantes, M.F.A in Fashion Design collaborated with Lori Solem, a M.F.A in Fashion and Textile Design from Sumas, WA to create a collection that blended the twisted shapes found in nature with the gritty industrial textures and illustrations of the French artist Gustave Doré. The six piece collection contrasted black with colors found in nature consisted of asymmetric rubberized jackets, printed shirts, pants and skirts.

Earnest Haung and Hong Ni collaborated on their womanswear collection. Haung is and M.F.A Fashion Design major from Taiwan. Ni is a M.F.A Textile Design student from China. The collection was inspired by Huang’s travels to Hong Kong and feels his designs draw on his background in Sociology, which enables him to rethink the relationship between spaces, social classes and people. Ni, drew her inspiration for the collection from the scale and fine details of aerial view photography as well as contour maps of the countryside. The color palette for their collection consisted of bright orange, deep browns and cream and included a printed suede jacket, an intricate woven leather jacket, a mesh A-line tank and boldly printed shirts and pants making a very wearable collection.

The seventh collection is the show was from Bronx born, M.F.A. Fashion Design major, Elizabeth Castellon. Castellon’s inspiration for her menswear collection came from futuristic architecture, interiors and sculptures and incorporated themes from 1930’s sportswear. Bold large-scale brocade prints were used across the collection of browns, dusty blue and black. A knit tweedy coat over a chocolate brown and duty blue brocade jacket, knit turtleneck and wool pant is a defining look for the collection. The statement look was the brown and black brocade coat over a black leather jumpsuit.

Jasmine Gonzales, an M.F.A. Fashoin and Knitwear Design major from San Jose, CA. Gonzelas, took her inspiration for her knits from Fabergé eggs, while the oversized silhouettes were a reinterpretation of traditional Inuit outerwear. Her knitwear was oversized with super-bulky yarn and large-gauge knit yet still body fitting. The looks included a cropped wool jacket over a violet velvet sweater with an aburgene wool skirt.

The final collection was a collaboration between Mingyu Du, an M.F.A Fashion Design student from China, and Joseph Khawane, a M.F.A. Textile student fro Batlimore, MD. For their womenswear collection, Du used unique materials such as an army tent, a wool blanket, a parachute and cotton canvas. She was inspired by the mod fashions of the 1960’s as well as the attitude and freedom of the youth of that period. Khawane created his textiles with military elements, manipulating fabrics in unconventional ways to give them new life. The collection consisted of muted green organic patterns with neutrals and included an boxy, oversize wool dress (the blanket?) and printed shirt and a oversized printed cape jacket over a printed dress that was reminiscent of a samurai.

Guests at the show included actress Tashiana Washington, Actor Eric West , TV Personalities Alex and Simon McCord, Writer Harriette Cole, Designer Andre Walker, Editor-in-Chief of Depecha Magazine Stephan Rabimov, Fashion Journalist Marilyn Kirschner, TV Personality Lauren Ezersky, Designers Keanan Duffty and Patrick McDonald, Writer Robert Di Mauro, Journalist Michael Musto, Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady and Miss Teen USA 2013 Cassidy Wolf.

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