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New York Fashion Week is here, people!  Can you feel the excitement?  I can — because, if you’ll remember my post forecasting fall trends a couple of weeks ago, it loks like I was right (It doesn’t actually look like I was right so much as I am right, but there’s nothing lady-like about doing the i-told-you-so dance, now is there?)

Following the Academy of Art University Graduate show last Friday (Urban Knights represent!  Never mind it being the most ridiculous mascot in collegiate history…) the last Bryant Park NYWF has really gathered momentum and is now in full swing.  Veteran New York designer and pioneer of the “Urban Nomad” look, Yeohlee Teng’s Fall 2009 collection is another one of my top picks so far.

Photo Credit: Talaya Centeno/WWD.com

Photo Credit: Talaya Centeno/WWD.com

Born and raised in Malaysia, Yeohlee opened her own design house stateside after moving to New York City to study at the Parsons School of Design.  If you’re unfamiliar with her signature brand of “Urban Nomad” chic (which is nothing to be ashamed of — she isn’t even listed on Style.com), it looks something like the love child of Rei Kawakubo and Helmut Lang might, if it were a young working professional who secretly loved Halston (if you’re not familiar with their signature styles, I simply can’t help you, and you should be ashamed).  This Fall’s collection feels both new and classic at the same time, and totally appropriate for right now.

Color: Yeohlee’s usual fondness for neutrals became a mania for monochrome this season with a pallet of black, white, and gray, with three platinum metallic pieces and a lone top with a smattering of red polkadots.

Silhouette: Contrast was the theme in all aspects of this collection.  In silhouette it manifested as a play on prportion.  Voluminous coats covered slim slacks and leotard-tight tops were tucked into great draped dhoti pants.  Although she took volume to the extreme, skillful tailoring, impeccable construction, and sensible color choices made almost every piece in this collection completely wearable.

the designer backstage, courtesy of Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

the designer backstage, courtesy of Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Likes: Of course, I’m going to love this collection because it backs up my forecast and encompasses everything I love about fashion right now.  On a more objective note, though, it feels like Yeohlee is really in touch with consumer attitudes right now, giving us a RTW collection that feels luxurious without being ostentatious, with wearable pieces suited for women of all ages and body types.  She brought back the catsuit as a foundation for her sculpted outerwear, which to me, is evocative of Donna Karan’s attitudes towards working women in the 80’s, and absolutely appropriate for the working woman in today’s economy.  She stuck to basic colors, because we’re all stretching our dollars these days — instead providing interesting contrast between textures and materials (including some suhweet double faced wool/angora, and expertly draped patent leather).  Basically, if you’re a human being and you wear clothing, there’s nothing not to love about this collection (if you’re a nudist, you’re really missing out).

Dislikes: I’d love to say absolutely nothing here, but I will admit I could’ve done without the polka dotted number.  I wish Yeohlee had gone balls-out and just said no to color all together, but I understand the inclusion of the look as a metaphorical middle finger in the general direction of prints and colors.

Now, while I’m lusting after Qianya’s knits from across the lab, I’ll be fanatasizing about what they would look like with a pair of Yeohlee’s slim slacks, nestled under a gigantic draped coat.  Maybe Yeohlee’s willing to trade?  I make a mean homemade bowl of ramen, but that’s about it — I am a quintessential broke college student, after all.

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On Friday the 13th, the fashion world gathered at Bryant Park to see the Academy of Art University’s annual graduate collection (according to The Daily Cookie, Miss J was spotted in the front row).  The collection showcased the work of fashion and knitwear design graduates and the textile designers they collaborated with.  Despite being an amalgamation of five distinct collections, AAU’s MFA graduates seemed to agree on the theme of deconstructed volume, which I loved.  The collection also showed a surprisingly cohesive color palate, accentuated by the sepia-inspired makeup provided by MAC.

Qianya Martin, courtesty of Getty Images

Qianya Martin, courtesty of Getty Images

I particularly loved Fashion and Knitwear Design major Qianya Martin’s beach inspired collection.  The California native was inspired by the coastline of Bolinas, which was evident in her neutral color pallet and the flow of her designs.

Color: Martin maintained a neutral color pallet of whites, blacks, and shades of sandy browns, strongly defined by the incorporation of sheer knit panels.

Silhouette: The collection showed a contrast of geometric lines within curvilinear silhouettes.  She seemed particularly fond of shorter length dresses with yoked necklines and bell sleeves.

What I loved: Qianya’s collection was very cohesive — she really took her nature inspiration and ran with it, all the while keeping within in the realm of definite wearability.

What it lacked: I thought this was a great ready to wear collection.  I would wear every single piece on a daily basis.  Sometimes, though, the best part of a collection is the over-the-top impractical fantastical get up that no one in their right mind would ever actually wear.  I would love to have seen a piece or two like that, as well as more accent color, but maybe that’s something she’s holding out on until she gets her own full show…

Qianya Martins Knitwear Collection, courtesy of SF Gate

Qianya Martin's Knitwear Collection, courtesy of SF Gate

All in all, a pretty tame collection from the ex-burlesque dancing knitwear designer, but just my style.  You’ll find me rockin’ Qianya’s designs all over town when I’m a renowned fashion journalist (with a renowned bank account).  For now
I’ll just have to lust after them from the other side of the knitwear lab.

If you missed the show, you can check out the video here.

To see stills of the collection, or any other collection, check out the Mercedez Benz New York Fashion Week website.

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Last Tuesday, hudreds of students, teachers, and press gathered at the Academy of Art University’s Morgan Auditorium for a Glady’s Perint Palmer’s “Food for Thought for Fashion” symposium.  An established fashion illustrator whose work has been published in The New Yorker, Elle, Vogue, L’Officiel, and The New York Times, Perint Palmer is currently the Executive Director of AAU’s Fashion Department.  Looking radiant in an iridescent magenta swing coat by Ralph Rucci, Perint Palmer led a presentation of her new website, read an excerpt of her upcoming book, and discussed the success and expansion of AAU’s fashion department.

Gladys Perint Palmer

“Being a colorful exception,” says Perint Palmer, “is a good thing in fashion, where everyone wears black.”

Despite the country’s economic troubles, Perint Palmer expects to see a 25-30% increase in departmental enrollment for Fall 2009.  This increased enrollment will afford the school an opportunity to expand the summer fashion program, including a foray into sustainable fashion — currently a hot topic in the industry.

Gladys Perint Palmer @ Morgan Auditorium

Perint Palmer also discussed her experiences in the industry as a renowned fashion illustrator and writer, reading an excerpt from her new book, “You Are Not On The List”.  The book chronicles her adventures in the industry, shedding light on the mysterious inner sanctum of the European runway scene.  As always, the audience enjoyed Perint Palmer’s presentation, which ran more like a friendly conversation than an arduously long symposium.  “I’ve been told I’m witty, but I think I’m just honest,” said the veteran fashionista, whose new book fearlessly shares a number of colorful anecdotes about some of the industry’s top designers.

Steven La Fuenta @ Morgan Auditorium

Steven La Fuente shoes

Outside Morgan Auditorium, students showed off their good fashion sense in Fall neutrals and textured layers with an emphasis on accessories and sweet vintage footwear.  Design major Steven De La Fuente (above) rocked a trio of sand/gray neutrals with a pair of fabulous vintage lace up boots.

Derek Heins @ Morgan Auditorium

Fellow Fashion Journalism major, Derek Heinz, alsp appeared J.Crew chic in neutral suiting pieces with bold asymetrical pleated pants.

Bottom line: Gentlemen, hold on to your scarves and blazers, because the “hot professor” look isn’t going anywhere just yet.

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First of all, I must preface this post by saying that I probably wouldn’t have considered writing it if it wasn’t for Dino, but his love of Beyoncé runs deep, and who am I to argue with such a fabulous man?  That being said, I think we’ve all found ourselves at least a little bit fascinated with Miss B’s style evolution at some point since Destiny’s Child exploded on to the scene, booties a-shakin’, back in the day.

Miss Jay-Z has shed her bootylicious cocoon of late, abandoning the TLC-esque duds she sported above in DC’s Survivor, opting instead for clean lines and a more grown-up, Fosse-inspired brand of booty shakin’ in her video for Single Ladies.

Despite her fashion sense being on the up-and-up these days, I still can’t sem to get over the steaming pile of fail produced under her name by the (now bankrupt) House of Deréon, Deréon, and The Deréon Girls Collection.  Along with her mother, Tina Knowles, Miss B let some pretty awful designs out into the world, highlighted in a controversial ad campaign that many critics claim over-sexualized little girls.

All things considered, though, I feel like Beyoncé has made consistantly respectable fashion choices recently.  Now, if she could just design some more sophisticated clothes (sans Mama T) to go with her new, sophisticated look, I might finally be able to forgive her for the distaster that was Deréon.

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Check out one of my designs on Burda Style’s top 25 of January!

That is all.

And vote for it — but that’s a given, right?

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As the Fall ’09 collections approach, fashion followers wait with bated breath to see which trends they will be following for the next season.  That’s all well and good, but I like a little more challenge — Here’s what I’m hoping to see next week and why.

Size Queen
building upon the peplums and exaggerated hips of last season’s Balenciaga, Chanel, and Burbery Prorsum collections, I’m looking forward to more all-over volume in outerwear to complement the stark economically-inspired minimalism about to rain down on us.  The key, I think, is rounded lines and an emphasis on texture.

Armand Basi One

Aquascutum

And underneath all that volume?  Something gorgeous, yet simple.  Demure, but not to the point of austerity — something along the lines of Marios Schwab’s beautifully draped modern maxi.

With less than a week left until the shows begin, I’m curious — who are you most looking forward to and what are you expecting?

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