Parsons is undoubtedly New York's (and America's) top program to look for outstanding and upcoming American fashion designers. Its alumni include the likes of Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs and the Proenza Schouler boys, though in light of their great success, it's hard to imagine they took the same first steps as any student does. Parson's wouldn't have you forget it either, as a large display in their exhibition boasts ominously: "You Never Leave Parsons" (which the Executive Dean also repeated in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese during his opening speech, heralding the school's internationality). Everybody has to start somewhere, though, and with any student show, be it fashion or art, one should always be on the lookout for imagination, as that spark of creative genius is what carries a designer through the ringer of market integration.
Janelle Abott opened the womenswear collections, with her heavy dream cloud dresses, beautifully dyed and layered like petticoats
What's interesting about a graduating class is seeing the running themes that course through the upcoming collective conscious in fashion. This year's graduates were leaning towards more maximal, favoring layers of evident handiwork or detailed prints, laser cut embellishment and a billowing silhouette. New York also seems to inform everything with a street-friendly trend, whether that's the demanding market or the fact that it's where young fashionmongers here are making the most headway, via the see-and-be-seen or the Internet. Menswear Designer of the Year Christy Jeehyun Lee is a good example of both, delivering maximal menswear, in volume and print, that is built to be seen and worn on the street, much to the delight of every daytime street style blogger combing the Bowery.
There was a lot of romanticism on the women's end, from the laser cut ethereality of Danielle Frankel's dresses to the modern embellishments of Dwarmis Concepcion and Mary Beth Bachand
Rachel Chiu and Andrea Tsao also took similar approaches to menswear, Chiu with voluminously patterned and padded ensembles and Tsao with the wet-sport sleek patterned look. Janelle Abott opened the womenswear collections, with her heavy dream cloud dresses, beautifully dyed and layered like petticoats. There was a lot of romanticism on the women's end, from the laser cut ethereality of Danielle Frankel's dresses to the modern embellishments of Dwarmis Concepcion and Mary Beth Bachand; the black-chic robes of Wynn Burson to the flamboyant fringe of Alex Perez-Castells. Maybe it's an effect of the information age, with so much going on all at once that it just looks right to be wearing the same sentiment. Technology gets slicker but information only blossoms, organically and messily through a streamlined interface. These young designers are sure to begin their journeys at a very stimulating time.