Singular Style at Collection 19
Models wearing looks by Antonio Armani León 19 AP wait backstage before hitting the runway.
Arresting, elegant and impeccable are among the words that describe Collection 19, this year’s runway show featuring the work of graduating seniors in Apparel Design. Presented on Saturday, May 11 at Brown University’s Meehan Auditorium, the show highlighted each student’s wholly unique design perspective while reflecting a shared commitment to meticulous craft and a department-wide vision.
“Many of this year’s seniors are motivated to change the industry from a ‘more and faster’ mindset and are working to make a difference—either through their process or production methods,” says Department Head Lisa Z. Morgan. “But there’s also a visible joy in their approaches and a wonderful sense of camaraderie within the group.”
Thanks to a new runway design by Alex Riddle 19 AP, models walked in a zigzag pattern that made the show feel more intimate than in the past. Her collection of furs, muted plaids and abundantly pocketed looks for men got the ball rolling and were followed by futuristic yet utilitarian styles for both men and women by Miron Kiselev 19 AP, one of several student designers to turn gingham checks on their head.
Impeccably crafted and pleated looks by Isabel Hajian 19 AP in feminine pinks, golds and greens were just right for a spring show. And Justine Nguyen-Nguyen 19 AP spun gold out of plastic grocery bags and other unexpected materials, creating a cohesive collection inspired by Vietnamese motorcycle fashion that contrasted the natural with the manmade.
Sarah Stoutamire 19 AP pulled no punches, presenting sexy, ultra-form-fitting looks for women featuring subtly psychedelic patterns. One model in a milky-white knitted top sported the word pasteurize down one sleeve in topiary-like lettering.
Sydney Santostefano 19 AP found inspiration in Baroque portraits, although her collection as a whole has a decidedly ’60s-era vibe with electric yellow accents and ultra-short skirts. Sheer, slinky womenswear by Berea Thornton 19 AP, on the other hand, couldn’t have been more contemporary. Her cohesive collection came to life in a rainbow of subtle brownish pinks and creams with gold accents, intricate detailing and a knockout cream fur designed with an elegant chevron pattern.
All eyes were drawn to the floor when models wearing the collection by Danielle Simpkin 19 AP hit the runway clad in amazing, space-age boots that work perfectly with her colorful patchwork ensembles. Laced together with electric cords, her looks transported viewers to an outer-space outpost in a science fiction movie.
Antonio Armani León 19 AP looked back in time to the 1930s and ’40s, decking out his models in colorful ensembles and accessories reminiscent of cultural icons Carmen Miranda and Frida Kahlo. León’s one-of-a-kind looks feature unexpected combinations of pattern: gingham checks and picnic tablecloth fruits that work together beautifully. They contrast nicely with the “clothes for clothes” fashioned in a neutral palette by Daniel Lee 19 AP, whose collection speaks to the gestures we’re compelled to make by our daily uniforms.
The music signaled a change of tone as male models dressed by Levi Campello 19 AP took center stage draped in black leather, animal hides and riveted leather face masks. His last model made his way down the runway laboriously dragging a heavy chain attached to one foot.
A mix of menswear and womenswear by Elizabeth Shevelev 19 AP was inspired by Ophelia of Hamlet. Her collection seems to celebrate androgyny, with men and women decked out in red, pink and white chiffon. Gorgeous, ready-to-wear looks by Jono Cheong 19 AP followed, with layered sheers, understated polka dots and subtle variations in color.
Looks by Franscis Balken 19 AP were anything but subtle. A model sporting a bright green cap worthy of an Esther Williams water ballet scene strode down the aisle with a small dog in her arms. Other models presenting Balken’s collection wore bold denims and fresh gardening pants in cool green and white.
Last to hit the runway were hand-dyed fabrics, furs and lacy looks created by Masha Kurguzkina 19 AP, whose attention to detail is undeniable.
All 24 graduating seniors made clear, relevant and memorable statements with the work they presented in Collection 19. “They have been an absolute pleasure to work with,” says Morgan, “and their fusion of radical design thinking and irreverence makes for a potent mix.”
—Simone Solondz / photos by Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH and Luciano Fileti
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