For 15 years, Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion show has presented young, up-and-coming designers with ground-breaking ideas. The show has helped launched the careers of fashion majors such as Zack Posen, Derek Lam and Rebecca Taylor, to name a few. So I was surprised when the runway was filled with conservatism. I guess this is in keeping with the recession cloud that has gloomed over much of this year’s and last year’s fashion weeks.
The show, which was Gen Art’s premiere collaboration with Rock Media & Entertainment, opened with an accessories pre-reception featuring Wendy Nichols’ cowboy inspired bags, Dieppa Restrepo patent leather lace-up shoes and my favorite, bold woven and geometric jewelry by Samma. Guests buzzed around the Metropolitan Pavillion while sipping on specialty Aperol cocktails and Ménage à Trios wines while browsing these collections and waiting in line to experience Rado’s flipbook photo booth.
After an hour or so of mingling, Gen Art’s CEO Ian Gerard kicked-off the event and introduced celebrity-on-the-rise JoAnna Garcia as the evening’s host. The well spoken and charming new Gossip Girl talked up the seven designers, six women’s wear (Cloak & Dagger, Duskin, Linus, Min Young Lee, Yeojin Bae and Vincente Villarin) and one menswear (S2VS). While each label had its unique points, overall there were a lot of neutral colors popped with shocking brights, interesting and emphasized backlines, ruffles, and monotones with textured detailing – much of what has been seen in the previous few seasons.
For a spring/summer collection, there were surprisingly few prints and the use of color was generally muted, though I adored the metallic print gracing Cloak & Dagger’s leopard floral dress. Min Young Lee’s collection stood out as the most daring, though perhaps least focused. Her collection was very baggy with loose, longer dresses, harem pants, floor length head scarves, and a caftan. The pieces seem to draw mostly from island-wear, but occasionally from middle-eastern garb and navy attire as well. Yeojin Bae dazzled with the witty use of large Swarovski crystals, bold bows and mini pleating, but again, the use of color was very limited. Lastly, I found Vincente Villarian’s black cravatteria jacquard pieces paired with organdy blouses and inserts a unique idea for edgy, warm weather wear.
After the show, the crowd headed over to the very accommodating space at Pranna for the after-party. The scene was young and overtly good-looking, although the party itself was tame – perhaps as a result of everyone being too good looking to mix with each other…. And though the cocktails weren’t bad, I think the party could have benefited (or rather perhaps I could have benefited…) from a higher alcohol content sponsor. After all, everyone knows that the after-party is the most lasting impression of any event.