Friday, March 11, 2011


AAU STUDENT DESIGNED @ Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Lincoln Center

Words/Backstage Images Judith Ecochard

Stunning ---and it all set off a memory of Brit fashion wonder, the late Isabella Blow, buying up the entire student runway show efforts of Central Saint Martin’s grad, the late great Alexander McQueen…
John David Baker

When we sat, watching the actual catwalk show---the models outfitted by seven AAU students showing six looks apiece…

We hoped that some smart retailers had the smarts to see what we saw…as practically every look was wonderful…the talent, obvious…and a lot of the individual ensembles, wearable straight off the runway--- not some abstract concept.

Backstage prior to the show, we first chatted with Jonathan David Baker…who, no surprise here, received an M.F.A. in Knitwear Design.

Inspired by Japanese culture---including Geisha’s---especially. This translated into raw edges and sculptural shapes.

The hefty items, mostly outerwear that could ward off any hefty breezes from this Chicago native’s windy city, were hand knit and hand connected, with no seams.

3 D textures---

“The pleating makes the dresses more wearable, “ Baker pointed out.
“I still want a girl to look pretty.”

We liked the cocoon shape of an outer jacket---which the model will wear with five other pieces!

PLUS: The footwear…military boots with the heels removed, replaced by white heels “to bring light to the collection.”

Next up was a drool fest over the separates by Holly Smith ----that even had the floor staff going gaga for these Lady worthy pieces.

Inspiration for this west coast native who “grew up around birds…”---was the majestic double crested cormorant, a sleek water diving bird. The minimalist lines…
… Hourglass curves of this skirt with fab plumage like bustle…

The color palette of camel, plum and dark eggplant…winning. As a muse, the designer cited Uma Thurman---“a strong powerful woman”---


On our way out we said hi to Hurst Chang-Wei Lin, who hails from Taiwan. He created a women’s collection based on exotic Arabian costumes and alchemistic symbols…

We asked who his customer might be---and his answer…”a rich girl who doesn’t have to work---she walks around.” Probably would be conveying differently when spoken in Mandarin.

HAIR by Aveeda…”simple, edgy, young, airy---pinned underneath” by Jon Reyman using Aveeda Control Force for a “pretty strong” hold.

MAKE-UP by Janell Geason, also for Aveeda…was true to the edgy mandate…with a “grungy meets Goth, but pretty, luminous skin…and a disheveled dark lip in the center.”

That surreal lip color got that way with blue eyeliner mixed in for a more “blueberry color.” The lip stain, applied with a brush-from the inside of the lip, out-pressing all the way, with concealer placed around the mouth so the edges of the lips look “wore off.”

The models “all have brows…going with the natural shape for something simple and modern…” defined the eyes-tamed with Control Force.

Eyes were shaded with brown for “coldness”... for “a cool girl look.” We thought they looked very cool. Indeed.