Bay Area natives from Academy of Art University in San Francisco served up a whopping plateful of fashion on Saturday afternoon. Not one, not two, but a full SEVEN graduate designers showed their mini-collections in the tents, each presenting 5 to 7 looks each.
Though each collection was beautifully made and well thought-out, I was admittedly somewhat disappointed overall. When I hear the words “design student,” my mind instantly goes to the amazingly avant garde collections I’ve seen from London design students. And while the collections would occasionally teeter towards more nontraditional shapes and styling, they were nowhere near the utter insanity that I was expecting.
The collection that lived up to my expectations most was the first, by Marina Nikolaeva Popska. The crazy colored and draped knitwear which conjured images of sea creatures (like nudibranches), rainbow sherbet, and fractal patterns was paired with whimsical bubble headbands (I want!). Pairing the strong colors and shapes with nude hosiery and shoes showed a refreshing restraint and made the pieces look delightfully wearable too! Her designs really seemed to have a fresh perspective from the others, which I had some difficulty telling apart.Sawanya Jomthepmala’samazing origami-meets-ombre-during-an-acid-trip colelction was another one that wowed me. The structural, tailored shape of the garments makes this collection the polar opposite of Popska’s drapey knitwear, but is no less astounding. The softness of ombre coloring coupled with the sharpness of the shapes and colors used is the perfect mashup of hard and soft, and manages to refresh the ombre look that Prada championed back in 2007.
The other collections were less standout to me personally, but they definitely had their highlights: Kara Sennet’scollection featured the most amazing bright yellow wedges, Amanda Cleary showed some ridiculously high glittery platform ankle booties that I instantly wanted to steal, Richelle Valenzuela’s rippling pleats were delightful to see in motion, Brittney Major mixed plaids like nobody’s business (with a result that was very Marc by Marc Jacobs), and Jie Pan showed some elegantly angular pieces with wonderful silver accents. Expectations aside, I was extremely impressed by the offerings.