The best thing about the Academy of Art show is not the clothes. It's the creativity and enthusiasm of young designers who are as yet unencumbered by the weight of marketing and PR teams, of revenue spreadsheets and trend forecasting. What the designers lack in wearability they make up for in ingenuity and innovation. It's still–comparatively–raw talent that's full of the energy necessary to charge into the fashion spotlight.
While the structure of the garments was awkward, Marina Nikolaeva Popska's knits (above) are standouts. With patterns and colors that evoke butterflies, the knits are intricately woven and beautifully textured.
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Kara Sennett's 60s inspired collection (above) made me want to pop out of my seat and dance the mashed potato. Bright blues and poppy pink are even brighter next to whites. Fun and wearable.
Amanda Cleary's use of packaging (above) as a jumping off point for her clothes was original and appreciated, and her adventurous experimentation with fabric–bonding silk Lurex to cotton twill for a look that mimics eel skin, for example–is commendable.
Richelle Valenzuela's silvery blue organza pieces (above) fluttered like crepe paper decorations–in the best way. These are beautiful pieces for women who aren't afraid to be noticed.
The taffeta compilations assembled by Brittany Major look rack-ready (above). Bright colors perk up the plaids, making them springy and light.
It was hard not to think of the Jetsons while viewing Jie Pan's space-age collection (above). Her juxtaposition of contrasting materials–horsehair and chiffon, natural linen and organza–made for textured garments, if a bit ahead of her time.
Sawanya Jomthepmala (above) struck the right balance of patterns and solids, pretty, pop-y colors as beautiful as the stained glass windows from Thai temples that inspired her. The origami-influence was well-directed, creating chic details that made her clothing unique.
– Becky Ellis