It was the kind of student break Pratt Institute graduate Jessie Sodetz never would have imagined, until last May when her collection caught the eye of Ralph Pucci at Pratt’s senior fashion show.
Now her collection is on exhibit at the Ralph Pucci’s Manhattan showroom at 44 West 18th Street, through Sept. 15. It was showcased last Thursday with a party for New York Fashion Week, where industry executives had plenty to say about Sodetz and her collection.
“It’s Seventies-inspired, typical American handicraft with a very modern silhouette,” said Nicole Fischelis, Macy’s group vice president and fashion director. “The multimedium patchwork is amazing,” added designer Rebecca Moses, who saw touches of Koos van den Akker and Dries Van Noten in Sodetz’s collection, even if Sodetz herself didn’t conscientiously look to those designers for inspiration. Moses particularly liked Sodetz’s take on a button-down American cowboy shirt, and commended Sodetz for having a finish all her own. “It’s very raw — not like anyone else’s.”
“With Jessie’s work, there’s a freedom to explore ideas but there’s an authenticity,” said Pucci. “She’s not just a kid playing a lot of notes. She’s under control. There’s a sophistication that fits into the Pucci aesthetic.”
“The collection took me all of the year to design,” said Sodetz, who graduated from Pratt’s School of Design last semester. In creating the collection, Sodetz said she reflected on her personal identity, what it means to be an American, and her ethnicity. “I’m half Korean, a quarter Lithuanian and a quarter Slovanian.” She said she’s influenced by masculine design while being mindful of women of the 21st century.
Ten of her looks are on display at Pucci, including a skiwear inspired pant shown with a knit top with ribbing and seaming details; an asymmetric, three layer printed quilt top; a colorful embroidered and quilted dress; a distorted poppy print oversized T-shirt, and brushed-twill men’s-wear inspired pants. “That’s my take on the boyfriend jean but more boyish,” said Sodetz.
Asked about her future, Sodetz said, “I’m working full-time as the assistant designer for men’s outerwear and swim at American Eagle Outfitters. I’m trying to gain as much experience as I can right out of school. As for my own work I’m just taking it slow and conceptualizing for my next collection, but I’m hoping to include some men’s wear and get something off the ground by fall 2018.”