A look from Anrealage, winner in the Avant Garde category.

NEW YORK — Fashion was in the air at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Tuesday night for the Gen Art Styles '05 Seventh Annual International Design Competition and fashion show. <BR><BR>Eight-hundred and fifty up-and-coming designers from 26 countries...

NEW YORK — Fashion was in the air at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Tuesday night for the Gen Art Styles ’05 Seventh Annual International Design Competition and fashion show.

Eight-hundred and fifty up-and-coming designers from 26 countries entered the contest, which has been the launchpad for designers such as Zac Posen and Rebecca Taylor. Fashion industry veterans including Maggie Rizer, Brana Wolf, Rebecca Weinberg, Mary Alice Stephenson, Jill Stuart, Catherine Malandrino, Norma Kamali, Zang Toi, Cynthia Steffe and Joan Kaner judged the 30 finalists prior to the event.

Finalists showed two looks during a fashion show that was emceed by actress Mariel Hemingway and her daughter, Dee Crisman. Karolina Zmarlak won the eveningwear award. Her evening suit featured billowy mutton sleeves and a pointed collar, with a narrow knee-length skirt.

The award for women’s ready-to-wear went to The Avant, a team of designers from Barcelona, who showed architectural, men’s wear-inspired skirts, tops and jackets, with knee-high knit stirrups. The men’s wear award went to Omar Kashoura from London, who showed a fine-gauge knit asymmetrical cardigan in classic slate.

The Avant Garde category award was presented by Jay McCarrol, this year’s winner of “Project Runway” and past winner of three consecutive Gen Art competitions. McCarrol gave the award to Anrealage from Tokyo, who showed a plaid patchwork jacket with a shawl collar, with a strategically unraveling multicolored sweater underneath, reminiscent of an early Yohji Yamamoto.

Lulu Frost won the award for her accessories, like tarnished brass necklaces with pocket watches and beaded necklaces with silver medallions.

The $10,000 Perrier Bubbling Under Award for “Natural” Design Concepts went to Ashley Reid for her unusual use of natural materials, like a thick woven wool cardigan in beige.

Award winners won $5,000 each from sponsors, including Express, the IN:NYC Card from American Express, Project Global Trade Shows and Gen Art.

This story first appeared in the May 19, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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