Jessica Minh Anh is known for the elaborate shows she stages in far-flung locales famous for their architecture and engineering. She features relatively unknown designers from around the globe; prior shows have included designers like Paul Costello and Addy van den Krommenacker, as well as couture fixtures Tony Ward and Ziad Nakad.
For her latest show, she returned to New York, this time staging the production on Oct. 23 at Pier 88 on the Aidaluna, a Sphinx class cruise ship that was set to leave the dock that evening at 6 p.m.
Minh Anh created a 100-meter runway facing the Manhattan skyline. Guests included dignitaries from such countries as Vietnam, Slovakia, Moldova and Bangladesh; friends, clients and press, who sipped Champagne and took selfies on deck against the dramatic backdrop before the two–hour show started. This presentation featured only women designers, as Minh Anh called it her “female power show.”
The designers in the lineup, showing spring collections, all gravitate toward eveningwear and high ready-to-wear, or “pret-a-couture” as Minh Anh describes it. The runway was filled with their interpretations of gowns, suits and capes. Labels included Ani Álvarez Calderón of Peru; Eden Haute Couture by Zeina Halabi and Rouba. G, both of Lebanon; Qatar-based Debaj Collection; Vone by Ivonne Magdalena from Jakarta, Indonesia; Teresa Rosati of Poland, and Chotronette from Romania. New York-based Cristina Sabatini provided her jewelry to accessorize the looks.
Highlights came from Elisabete Reis, designer of Debaj Collection, who transformed basic eveningwear shapes with over-the-top exaggerations like an emerald green velvet cape with a beaded collar, and a pleated gown with feathered sleeves. Ani Alvarez Calderon offered laser cuts, tooled skirts and dresses with rhinestone embellishments, and also incorporated Aztec prints. Both collections featured breezy, light fabrics that flowed with every stride and offered a powerful and sexy appeal.
Chotronette presented soft and hard takes on eveningwear with the use of dark hues and pastel colors, and the use of floral embellishments and tulle. The standout ballgown collection came from Eden Haute Couture by Zeina Halabi, who created a range from nude and electric blue lace styles to a white gown with gems along the lace sleeves.