Students, It’s Showtime!

“I never know what I really want so I flirt with the fabric a little while.”

Nassim Shadmani, born in Persia, might play coy initially but there’s no questioning her commitment to the relationship between design and fabric. She  creates sumptuous and seductive dresses, as liquidy as Lanvin, using only one seam. Only one.

Nassim's sketches

Nassim’s sketches

“It is from this kind of discipline I will grow as a designer.”

Ladies, you will melt. There’s vulnerability and confidence in every stitch. Inspired by the idea of contornionism, her “Bend, not break” collection plays with twisting and draping, matt and sheen, dark teal, silver and slate, slippery charmeuse and double-faced silk, to depict an unpredictable sensuality. The nonchalant ease of a slinky dressing gown with the intrigue of a geisha’s ceremonial wrapping.IMG_3877 IMG_3881 IMG_3880

Nassim was one of thirteen students representing the Art Institute of New York City who showed their graduate collections in the Lincoln Centre as part of Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week this week. I have watched these guys flourish through a relentless cycle of projects, deadlines and presentations but this was their biggest challenge yet.

They did me proud.

A highlight of the evening was the menswear which featured a nomadic bunch:

From a rambling gypsy highland punk…

 

Designer Lavan Chxeidze and his model both wearing his designs

Designer Lavan Chxeidze and his model both wearing his designs

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Lavan, born in the Republic of Giorgio, invades the Scottish Highlands

Lavan, born in the Republic of Georgia, invades the Scottish Highlands with an artillery of needles and pins

…to what my quick-quipping friend Peter, who accompanied me, described as “Pharrell Goes to Amish Country”...IMG_3888

Designer Tory Thompson's unique menswear

Designer Tory Thompson’s unique menswear

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Tory and his model

Tory and his model

“I’m always looking at what’s happening at this moment. The progression of design is important to me. Without progression, fashion design is pointless. I have sketchbooks full of a million different ways to manipulate silhouettes. I’ll go back through those sketches and pick a few to refine on a larger scale.”

-Tory Thompson

Tory's sketchbook

Tory’s sketchbook

When a Michigan-born carpenter and a Venezuelan biologist combine their talents to follow fashion, this is where they wind up:

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Designed by Flavia Nunez and Charles Johnson

If you’re a traveling sort but more in the market for a spot of glam-on-the-go, something from Cecil Dove’s collection of burnished golds and shimmering T shirt shapes might be just the ticket. How’s that for packable panache?art-institutes-runway-mercedes-benz-20140910-014007-305

Or Jose Medina’s thoughtful layering of bling and matte, knit and transparent? This wallflower is making a break for the spotlight.

Jose's handiwork

Jose’s handiwork

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Some dazzling Cameroonian-grown textiles to ease the transition of Summer to Fall, courtesy of Kibonen Nfi? For Sir or Madam:IMG_3853 IMG_3858

Or a leather and tulle evening dress with daring studded back for a romantic foray into the night and that Interview with the Vampire that all us modern girls dream about?

Oh, of course, we do.

Angelo Rosa and his model

Angelo Rosa and his model

I apologize for the blurriness of some of the photos but the show was accompanied by a driving electric guitar that meant I was head banging throughout which I haven’t done in years but intend to figure into my schedule more often.

I like to believe the blurriness symbolizes the speed with which these young talents will win over the industry and ascend to the top. Yes, keep on moving!

Our intrepid band of heroes

On your marks…

Two of the designers with the Department Chair, Amanda Lovell, seated left:IMG_3824

My novel Silk for the Feed Dogs, set in the international fashion industry, follows a young graduate as she strives for success while evading the snapping jaws of those villainous and ravenous “feed dogs,” gatekeepers to her dreams. You can buy it here. 

24 comments

  1. I AM IN AWE! Amazing Jackie, I can dream of so many of those pieces. Sigh. XO

    • Thanks Dievca, I think you’d look a dream in the leather and tulle dress with studs all down the straps of a very open back. I didn’t manage to get a photo of the back as it whizzed by too fast but trust me: those studs spelt Dievca :-)xo

  2. OOoohhhh my goodness this whole post is delicious. The first gown . . silky, drapey, goddess-y . . a dream. WOW what brilliance and talent these students bring to life. Inspiring!! Love it. xo

  3. I love the glam-on-the-go top. The dresses are divine. Thank you for all these photos.. I didn’t see it happening at first, but your blog is having a positive influence on my fashion sense – after years of just wearing practical clothes after the twins were born, I’m beginning to take an interest again. And it feels good!!!

  4. Really glad I am a girl. Even in my ancient age, I could wear every single one of those pieces. I understand that runway shows are about creativity and innovation but, if I were a young male, I would be a touch hard pressed to find something I really wanted. Maybe I am just becoming an old fart – or remember punk a little bit too well…

    • Interesting point. In the student population there are an increasing number of boys who dress like girls (in the traditional sense) and vice versa. There’s a sense of freedom to raid each others closets. Maybe one day there is enough cross pollination that distinction between mens and womenswear disappears altogether?
      i really enjoyed the long flowing hair and beskirted, long-shirted males but I always like an androgynous influence and a nod of anarchy (if anarchy can be doled out in nods…) My gay friends are always lamenting about how boring menswear is and that us girls always get the good stuff. On this occasion I had brought one with me and he left much impressed with the menswear offerings.
      I guess that means everyone’s happy! 🙂

      • Gay men do have a point. We have much more fun in the getting dressed department. Sue and I were musing just yesterday what a shame it is that, especially in the US, women’s interest in clothes tends to wane as they get older, something that doesn’t really happen in France or Italy. I wonder if it has anything to do with having difficulty finding interesting attire at affordable prices, when the chains are marketing to a much younger audience. But I am getting off topic here. I actually don’t mind a man in a skirt but, then again, I have been around rock and roll for a long time.

  5. Wow…so many beautiful shapes, textures and colors- lovely!!

  6. I love the image of you as a head-banger Jackie!

  7. thank you for your kind complement i’m so happy that you like my collection

  8. Absolutely amazing! What a talented bunch they are, you must be so proud. X

  9. They did you proud Jackie! Wish them all success and happiness in the fabulous,bonkers world of fashion!!…….and by the way I am loving your book. X

  10. Oh Joy! What creativity..what delight..the world is a rich place… xxx

  11. Reblogged this on Betimes Books and commented:
    Jackie Mallon, fashion designer and the author of Silk For The Feed Dogs, proudly presents the accomplishments of her students.

    Her novel Silk for the Feed Dogs, set in the international fashion industry, follows a young graduate as she strives for success while evading the snapping jaws of those villainous and ravenous “feed dogs,” gatekeepers to her dreams.

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