Thursday night in San Francisco, the Academy of Art University graduate fashion show featured 104 fashions from 17 student collections, and vivid collaborations among knitwear specialists, textile designers and fashion designers.
More than 1,000 students, parents, friends and fashion industry participants filled the standing-room-only presentation, produced by the university’s executive director, Simon Ungless.
The show opened with collaboration among eight MFA design students working with organic cotton fabrics and abstract digital prints of bachelor of fine arts textile student Mario Chinchilla’s San Francisco landscape images. It set the tone for complex designs and artful interpretations of themes such as gritty urban life, contemporary experimental artists and escapist fantasies.
A highlight of the show was the design and textile collaboration between Denise Ramos and Jorge Iglesias. Ramos, inspired by classic Saville Row men’s wear, shaped tailored pin-striped jackets in tropical weight suiting, on which Iglesias applied intricate black-dyed and layered repurposed denim threads printed with gold and copper foil. The jewel-like trompe l’oeil effect of the gold leaf was particularly effective printed on a long black lightweight wool suiting gown, and the gold adornment added luxury on a simple wool tunic over silver-leafed pants.
The forward march of tech was evident in the broad use of manipulated photorealistic prints using advanced techniques, but students also took a step back and used their hands to paint and screen-print fabrics and to knit, weave and manipulate yarns.
Textile specialist Julie Eunju Kim used raw wool, dyed mohair and alpaca yarns, which she manipulated to create cloudlike dresses and floating tunics. Kim’s long tangerine vest was crafted using padded knitted tubes of mohair. A short white dress in drifts of mohair was produced by a labor-intensive process of attaching cascading looped and fringed mohair to a backing of hand-knitted bands of mohair. A fringed and tasseled red mohair tunic deployed macramé techniques to shape the body.
Students also incorporated eco-awareness and ideals of sustainability into their patterns, concepts and use of materials.
“Thoughtful and informed use of materials was a focus and a challenge we set for all students this year,” noted Gary Miller, the university’s fashion school director.
Jeannifer Tirtamarta discovered high-visibility blue, yellow and red industrial safety tarps while in search of street images for prints. The resulting collection of sportswear and outwear in Yves Klein blue, fluorescent yellow and red was bold, graphic, sculptural, street-sharp and ultimately practical. Tirtamarta’s zip-front all-weather jacket included a cotton fleece collar and hood, and her oversize zip-front cape featured poster graphics from repurposed billboard poster tarps.
Felix Ryan’s surreal navy blue dreamscape prints on raw-edged silk organza were particularly effective as a floating skirt beneath a structured and belted coatdress of heavyweight wool.
In advance of the fashion show, Academy of Art University director Dr. Elisa Stephens bestowed honorary doctorates on Alexander Fury, chief fashion correspondent of T magazine, and designers André Walker, with Dover Street Market, and Lutz Huelle, a consultant for Max Mara and Brioni.