TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
Photos by Randy Brooke
This season, the Academy of Art University student show 2011 show premiered six women’s wear and one men’s wear collections. The AAU show is one of my favorite shows on the bi-annual NYFW lineup. It’s not just because I’m an online instructor for AAU’s Fashion Department – it’s much more than that.
People in fashion tend to be jaded, to great or lesser degrees, which comes from constant rejection and the risk of “putting yourself out there” when you present your creative body of work, whether it be your modeling, writing, PR, styling, or design talent.
What’s different at the AAU backstage scene is the sense of “feels like the first time” excitement that just can’t be duplicated. The atmosphere is stressful, of course – what backstage scene isn’t? but I stayed far longer than I’d intended, caught-up in the festive atmosphere, and arrived late at the Assouline Book Party uptown at the Plaza.
Being late was worth seeing the little girls dancing and posing about in the brightly colored dresses that were inspired by a number of British influences including cricket, the television series “Brideshead Revisited,” British interiors, and the uniforms
of Oxford University.
The eclectic dresses were a collaboration between textile designers, a group of Technical Designers, Fashion Designers and Textile Design students all working together. As Oprah so famously said, “It takes a village”.
After stopping to chat with AAU’s Dino Ray Ramos, he took me over to meet
Maria Korovilas, M.F.A. Fashion Design. On the way there, I stopped to admire Cara Chiapetta‘s Helmut Newton-y black dress, thinking how professional it looked. No wonder, Cara’s won the Fashion Group Foundation Scholarship, and participated in an LVMH Creative Briefing Design Challenge, interned for N.I.C.E. Collective, as well as for Michael Kors. Her muse for this collection was Bridget Fonda’s character Nina in the film “The Point of No Return”.
A small gaggle of photographers and I were transfixed by the incredible tambour beading coat
Maria was applying some final touches to. Simultaneously working and speaking, she explained that she was resewing some of the nuts and bolts “just in case” to avoid a disaster on the runway [like the metal bits falling off - that did not happen]. Tambour Beading is a specialty which originated in 1770, and was established in Paris by Charles de Saint- Aubin.
There were workrooms dedicated to making beadwork for the French court, who prized these intricately worked garments.
After completing classes in Tambour Beading at AAU’s School of Fashion, Maria incorporated metal encrusted pieces and details into her collection. The hand beading took her over 600 hours to complete. The starting point of her inspiration was the Jenny Lewis song “You Are What
You Love” from which she pulled visual and conceptual references for her collection.