There's intrinsic excitement in seeing the first offerings of young designers, especially when most of them are presenting to a wide audience for the first time. At the Academy of Art University's student show, ten potential future industry influencers presented seven collections, with a number of standout moments that showed promise for and will hopefully catalyze companies we will be watching for years to come.
Chinese-born Yuming Weng looked to the blurred edges in portraits by artist Henrietta Harris as a construction influence in her minimal wool collection. Shades of heather and pewter wool coats and shift dresses stitched with trapunto-eqsue waves occupied that tricky area of appeal where the commercial and editorial overlap.
Hundreds of cell phones were whipped from their pockets when James Thai's custom leather pieces came down the runway, as part of Teresa Field's collection. The young designer created intricate illustrated patterns on white leather using soldering tools, burning images of flora and fauna like a howling wolf that stalked out from backstage on two slender pant legs. Backstage he told me the wolf alone took over a week to create.
Qian Xie's collection closed the show, and the details of the clothes were mesmerizing. The designer was inspired by natural light moving through interior spaces, and she successfully transformed a poetic observation into a luxury collection. Shiny woven hide on tops and jackets looked like sun coming through a lead-lined window, and clear beading in a checkerboard pattern resembled the kind of winter light many New Yorkers will see from inside their homes mid-blizzard today.