NEW YORK — Protection from both the elements and the news of the day was how one judge described many of the looks that paraded down the runway at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s 2019 Future of Fashion Runway show.
The show, held Thursday night at FIT, showcased some 99 looks from this year’s students graduating from the school’s Fashion Design BFA program.
In addition to featuring knitwear, sportswear, intimate apparel, special occasion and children’s wear on the runway, this year FIT introduced a Street Style and Athletics Capsule Collection that was presented at the end of the show.
The show, professionally produced by Jack Rich, is supported by a $2 million, multiyear gift from FIT alumnus Calvin Klein through the Calvin Klein Family Foundation, as well as the company he founded, Calvin Klein Inc. The show was also supported by Brother International Corp., which supplied FIT with more than $100,000 worth of sewing, embroidery and electronic cutting machine products.
The presentation was chockablock with craftsmanship and embellishments, including a chunky handknit coat; a hand-printed bomber jacket; a reflective puffer jacket; a “spaceman” sweater, and a gray industrial felt dress. Other looks were a denim patchwork handknit coat; a black shearling bomber with parachute straps; a self-embroidered canvas “Overpopulation” coat, and a gray and metallic sustainable hand-crochet bikini and cover set.
Intimate apparel was particularly strong, with a nude mesh bodysuit with black Chantilly lace sleeves and bodice; a black corset, siren red lace bra and panty with sheer panels; long black sheer illusion catsuits and gilded lace bustier, and a French nude sheer long gown with black appliquéd lace, feathers and garnet velvet strapping details.
The children once again stole the show, wearing looks that included a cape with transparent insert panels; a green cotton canvas jumpsuit; a hand-embroidered jacket, and a ruffle-trimmed sweater dress.
Among the special occasion looks were a jumpsuit, a two-piece look with ruffle skirt and fitted bodice, and an asymmetrical tuxedo gown.
Critic winners and their category were Samantha Berger (children’s wear); Dorshelle Guillaume (intimate apparel); Claire Serruya (intimate apparel); Jesse Doherty (knitwear); Aldrian Diaz (knitwear); Jia Chen Shi (special occasion), Hannah McHarris (sportswear); Ciarra King (sportswear); Minsun You (sportswear); Sifan Chen (sportswear), and Ariel Clarke (sportswear).
In the Street Style and Athletic Competition, Gwen Hine was the overall winner for her white hooded top and drawstring ruffle skirt with orange accents and sports details, navy netting and striped scuba mesh inserts. Other winners in Street Style and Athletics were Gina Smirnov, Shiv Ravichandran, Sarita Sinha and Ivy He.
“It’s definitely collection ready. I’m interested to see where these designers go,” said Kesha McLeod, celebrity stylist and one of the judges. “The knitwear was the strongest. Everyone can wear it, and it went into ath-leisure as well.” She also liked how technical the knitwear was, pointing to one piece in particular that featured Chuckie from “Rugrats.”
“The intimate apparel is so good,” added McLeod, noting there were more than 48 pieces to judge. “It was so intricate with all the embellishments and sheer.”
Ken Downing, former vice president and fashion director Neiman Marcus who is now chief creative officer of Triple Five Group, which is developing American Dream in East Rutherford, N.J., was also a judge.
“I thought the show was fantastic. It’s a commentary on the times we are living in, the athletic influences, the sense of wanting to wrap yourself and all but disappear into the beautiful amounts of fabrics.” Besides the sexy lingerie, he said the show reflected protecting oneself with fashion. He felt the designers were protecting themselves against the elements and the news of the day and they want to curl up in their comforters and turn them into clothes.
Jill Granoff, chief executive officer of Eurazeo Brands, who is on the FIT board, said, “I thought it was very different from previous shows.” She said prior shows had ready-to-wear, eveningwear, intimate apparel and children’s wear, but this one mixed in more popular culture with streetwear, sport and transgender.
Robin Burns-McNeill, vice chair of FIT’s board of trustees, and chairman and cofounder of Batallure Beauty LLC, said, “It’s a reflection of our times today. It was extremely innovative in terms of materials and statements made. The students expressed how they’re feeling right now.”