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Captivating the Runway

During a stunning show, six collections created by Academy students took to the stage at New York Fashion Week

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NYFW at Skylight at Moynihan Station. Photo by Lenny Groysman.

It was a sunny day in Manhattan when Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion students presented their collections at New York Fashion Week. It was also the school’s 10th anniversary showing at this prestigious event. This year, the Academy presented six collections designed by eight talented students.

The show started off with Max Lu and Jingci Jessie Wang’s collaborative collection. Lu, born in Taiwan and Wang, born in China, are both M.F.A. fashion design students. They used high quality materials and fabrics such as lame, metallic, leather and sequins to give the collection an edgy and modern look. As an opener, Lu and Wang’s collection definitely captivated the audience in the room and took them on a trip through a dazzling dream world.

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Ruone Yan’s collection was right behind Lu and Wang’s. Yan was born and raised in China and she is an M.F.A. menswear design student. She is no stranger to the runway as her collection was also presented in the School of Fashion’s 2015 Graduation Fashion Show in San Francisco. Her collection was inspired by the Cephalotus, also known as the Venus Flytrap. She custom dyed all her fabrics with oolong tea, which created an off white color throughout the collection. The boxy shape of Yan’s collection reminded me of the flytrap itself, entrapping the models in her designs.

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Liz Li and Bom Kim’s collaborative collection was up next. Li, from China, and Kim, from Korea, are both M.F.A. students. Li is a fashion design major and Kim is a knitwear design major. Together they collaborated and created a collection that took us through the different seasons, expressed through Chinese-inspired prints.

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Mehrzad Hemati, an Iranian-born M.F.A. fashion design student was the fourth designer to present. Her all-white collection blurs gender lines, incorporating menswear design elements into her womenswear collection. She used fabrics such as cotton, silk charmeuse, duchess satin and organza to create cleanliness in her collection. Custom closures are also featured in her collection, which are designed to imitate piercings.

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If you want to look sporty yet edgy, then Livia Bianda’s collection would be a perfect fit for you. Bianda, an Indonesian-born B.F.A. student, used fabrics such as lycra, mesh, pinstripe cotton and wool to create modern boxy silhouettes, inspired by football players’ uniforms. The green color of Bianda’s collection reminded me of a football field for her models to march on. What is interesting about her collection was the built-in backpacks and fanny packs sewn onto the garments. The collection not only exceeded aesthetic, but also function.

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Last, but not least, Wenhan Yuan presented her collection. Yuan was born in Yanji, Jilin, China and she is an M.F.A. student. Her collection reflects sensuous women in men’s clothing, emphasizing fresh style, sex and emotion. She uses various materials for the collection such as cotton, suit fabrics and paper-textured fabric. The black and white collection reminded me of a famous Chinese philosophy, yin and yang, which can be understood as female and male. This furthers Yuan’s interpretation of mixing womenswear and menswear in her collection.

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School of Fashion S/S 16 designers. From left to right: Jingci Jessie Wang, Max Lu, Mehrzad Hemati, Bom Kim, Liz Li, Livia Bianda, Wenhan Yuan, and Ruone Yan. Photo by David Dooley.

All runway photos by Getty Images.