Before any of us fell in love with Heidi Klum’s deeming emerging designers “in” or “out,” and wishing the latter “Auf Wiedersehen,” on the now infamous Project Runway, there was the Academy of Art University (AAU). The San Francisco school, founded in 1929, is home to a prestigious fashion program endorsed and supported by the likes of Oscar de la Renta, Alexander McQueen and Issac Mizrahi, just to name a few. Each year since 2005, a selection of recent graduates of the school are given the chance to show their collections on the most elite of fashion runways during Mercedes Benz’s New York Fashion Week. On Friday night, nine designers had their time in the spotlight and there were a few clear standouts whose looks we may be seeing more of soon.
Opening the show was Iglika Vasileva Matthews, a Textile Design BFA and Fashion Design MFA whose work for the Spring 2013 collection was inspired by architect Zaha Hadid. Standouts were her abstract printed dresses in indigo, black, turquoise and stripes.
Ginie C. Y. Huang’s neon line was inspired by Japanese photographer Ninagawa Mika – all her pieces were fully saturated in colors like fuchsia, green yellow and mandarin orange.
Tanja Milutinovic, originally from Belgrade, Serbia, showed perhaps the most avant-garde of AAU’s collections. Her taupe/black silk print dress and wool/silk cross-hatch tops, skirts and pants stole the show with unexpected necklines and superior fittings.
The makeup and hair looks for the show were fashioned by Aveda, with makeup artist Janessa Para and hair stylist Jon Reyman creating fresh looks that were simultaneously soft and modern. Janessa described the makeup look as very elongated and contoured, particularly in the eye, where she used Aveda’s new dark brown shadow, Brown Velvet Rose.
“We took it just on the outer one third and carried it slightly into her outer contour on her upper lid,” said Pare. “What that did was it gave her a very elongated look and we filled in that brow and carried that very far too.”
Pare left the models’ skin matte but hydrated in certain areas using a Callalily, a shadow from the Passion Flower collection, to highlight above the brow.
“I’m really liking highlighting above the brow rather than lower than the brow,” said Pare. “It’s a modern twist on it but light hits it. It just creates a really beautiful shape above the brow, and we know that brows are not going anywhere right now.”
Lips were left a light pink/taupe color and mascara was applied very heavily on the top lashes and none at all on the lower lashes.
Jon Reyman swooped each models’ natural hair into a low-slung, very tightly secured side-pony with hair looking very sleek, smooth and flat to their heads. The ponytails were then affixed with hair extensions matching models’ natural hair color, then wrapped in hair nets that were also color matched.
Reyman and his team then tied each long ponytail into an angular knot that resembled a wrap of glistening fabric strips formed into bulbous side protrusions that managed to look contemporary and super chic. Creating this look at home would surely be no easy feat.
Other designers showing their lines in the AAU show were Liza Quinones, Yanfei Fan, Jie Jessie Liu and Stephina Touch.