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The Set NYC uses NYFW Benefit to Battle Child Human Trafficking (aw2014 NYFW)

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As is the case with these things, my last show of New York Fashion Week coincided with another dumping of snow caused by the aptly name ‘Polar Vortex’. While other events were cancelled, The Set NYC soldiered on with their Fashion Benefit to end child sex trafficking.

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Held in the heartbreakingly beautiful Holy Apostles Church Ballroom, the vaunted arches and stained glass windows were a dramatic backdrop for an eclectic crew of designers, all showing their work to benefit the LOVE 146 organization. The event also boasted a cash bar, a Valentine’s Day menu of haute hotdogs and adorable cupcakes by Noel’s Kitchen, and stylishly bedazzled leather accessories by Unusual Star Jewelry. Actor Eric McKay of the Americans mc’ed the event, rousing the crowd from its bad weather torpor. I was graciously served a glass of wine and place in the ‘skybox’ which gave me an excellent view of the show.

The first designer, Lucina Lu produced a delicate looking collection that was inspired by geisha kimono. The dip in the back of sheer blouses is a reference to the way that geisha show off the nape of their neck, considered an erogenous zone. Lu used techniques that brought to mind origami folding, as seen in the black and white min-skirt with deeply folded asymmetrical hem. A strapless jumpsuit on bold polka dots was beautifully striped down each leg in white. I adored the strapless black dress encircled with a golden pouf- like Christian LaCroix combined with Sargent’s Madame X. A complicatedly elegant dress with wide v-neckline, showed off Lu’s Parisian influenced sophistication. An outré, yet traditional take on femme fatale.

Styled to Rock third runner up Autumlin Kietponglert is coming off of a season where she competed against other designers (including Laura Pulice of Vex Clothing) to create stage and red carpet looks for high profile celebrities like Rihanna, DJ duo Nervo, and country music stars The Bad Perry and the legendary Cher. Her intellectually curious take on fashion led her to obtain a Master's Degree in Fashion Design from Drexel University and a BFA from The University of the Arts in Fibers. Her work, sculptural and architectural, reminds one of Hussein Chalayan.

Futuristic in the Blade Runner sense, she works with zippers to create clothing that caters to theatrical personalities. Favorites were a gold halter style top made of yk zippers, and a reflective black top with a slashed mesh covered décolletage baring opening. The Eugene Soleiman inspired hair and makeup worked well with the clothing, pushing the look to the limits. Kietponglert’s work has appeared in Zink, Marie Claire, and Italian Vogue.

Fittingly, considering the weather, Kristin Costa’s show began with a model dancing to Tom Waits’ gravelly voice growling ‘Make It Rain’, one of my favorite songs. I took to the patchwork-ish steampunk style immediately, loving the swinging romanticism. Kristin’s work has an element of the fairy tale, so it’s not surprising that she’s actually worked on such fantastical projects as making wings for Victoria’s Secret angels and creating costumes for Enchanted. There is a deep level of fantasy running through her work, so much so that the collection dips toward cosplay.

That said, her knit scarfs look luxuriously beautiful, and a hunter green and black zippered jacket is perfect for Urban Riding Hoods. The layered gypsy look is perfect for pretending to be a ragged Urchin while dining at Elan. It was a deeply imaginative collection perfect for fairy tale lovers.

*all images taken with the Fujifilm HS50EXR

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