Art Institute of California San Francisco presented their latest Annual Fashion Show titled “Style Reborn” on June 11, 2016 at SOMArts Cultural Center. The level of design talents and garment execution skills were quite impressive this year! Photos by Nicolas Ardelean.
After two years of creative runway presentations, Art Intitute of California San Francisco (AiCA-SF) went back to basic for this year’s annual student fashion show, titled “Style Reborn.” Inside SOMArts Cultural Center (934 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94103), the raised platform on the center of the room was surrounded with two rows of seats. The setup was basic, simple, and most importantly, familiar.
Perhaps that sense of ease permeated through the AiCA-SF faculty members and student producers that day. Looking the most focused yet relaxed I’ve ever seen them for the past three years, everyone seemed to be in control and in sync when Nico and I arrived around 2pm that Saturday. Geetika Gupta, Director of AiCA-SF School of Fashion was checking the seating arrangements calmly. Michael Rosen, the Executive Producer was briskly walking about, making sure the audio visual and music equipment was working as expected. The students were busy making their rounds both backstage and at front of the house.
But how about the talents of student designers this year? While AiCA-SF shows in the past had clear standout collections in a given annual fashion show, the fashion designs and execution skills displayed this year were strong overall. It was a definite step up from all student designers, from those who just graduated all the way to the freshmen. They really prepared well for the June 11, 2016 “Style Reborn” fashion show.
“They are really good this year. Geetika and Michael met with each student designer every week…making sure their collections are elevated for a fashion show presentation,” said Cindy Chow, AiCA-SF instructor who is VERY well-known for her masterful pattern-making and garment construction skills. After coming to Art Institute of California San Francisco annual fashion shows all these years, I know her acknowledgements come with real pride and deep sense of accomplishment. Cindy and Alex Snyder were the faculty judges for Best Construction that night. They must have a great time choosing the runner-up and winner from this crop of talented students!
The rest of the judging panel – consisted of Joy Fan (Senior Manager of Experience at Bespoke, Westfield SF), Amanda Fernandez (Manager of Marketing, Westfield SF), Eloisa Serrano (Art Institute Graduate and Founder of BayThread.com), and Mung Lar Lam (Artist and Assistant Professor at The New School, Parsons School of Fashion) – were present to choose runner-ups and winners for “Most Creative and Most Original” and “Most Marketable and Relevant” collections. Tallying all the award scores together, the “Best in Show” or the best overall collection of the night was revealed!
SO! Let’s see the student collections, shall we?
“Style Reborn” Student Designers
Without further ado, let’s browse all the Art Institute of California San Francisco 2016 Fashion Show collections! I have to say it was a great decision to accompany the runway with mainly Prince and David Bowie tracks :) Once again, kudos to Dj PM for the music!
Photos by Nicolas Ardelean
9 looks presented in “toile” form
These nine fashion design freshmen – Rico Concillion, Monica Arce, Elizabeth Tennyson, Yovvany Garcia, Thao Pham, Quynh Pham, Rachelle Castro, Monique Micallef, and Nidhi Jadhav – started the show with a bang. Each student presented a toile garment they worked for one quarter and a half.
The garment ‘prototypes’ looked fantastic, and I especially appreciate the drawn dash lines on the center front of the model shoes. My favorite look was Quynh Pham’s design, followed by Nidhi Jadhav’s. That being said, this presentation is such a promising tease and I’m looking forward to see all 9 students do full collections next year!
Mimi & Nana
Anatomical – Spring/Summer 2017
This women and men’s RTW collection is inspired by sculptural shapes, architecture, and technical fabrics. I love that these garments are relaxed, but sporty and energetic at the same time. I like the mesh detail on the necklines; they exude a kind of “ninja” effect that’s light-hearted but not costumey.
Reflection of White – Spring/Summer 2017
These all-white collection looked really well-made. I love the skirt panels and how they fit the models really well. Kelly’s collection is inspired by the Pyramid at the Louvre, as well as the idea of innocent yet edgy women. This collection may only have three garments, but it’s definitely one of my favorites!
Forever Mine – Spring/Summer 2017
Yanyun’s inspired by “spring gardens and the desire to stand out” to create this collection of mother-daughter outfits. They are quite charming, and the little girls did stand out on the runway.
Summer Seeds – Spring/Summer 2017
It’s only fair that a women’s RTW collection inspired by summer fruits and ladies who lunch to be fun, loud, and full of energy. The dogs might be distracting the audience from appreciating the garments, but I love the whole color combinations and footwear styling.
Mirai (Future) – Spring/Summer 2017
First of all, congratulations to Vivian for being a runner-up for Best Construction Award! For this women’s streetwear collection, she’s mixing traditional Japanese fabrics with modern ones to “integrate the past into street style.” I’m not a fan of the first outfit’s styling around the shoulders and neckline, but I love the 2nd and 3rd outfits. Youthful, colorful, and eye-catching!
Lilith On Park Avenue – Spring/Summer 2017
Since last year’s Talk Style fashion show, I have been a fan of Sylvia’s process in producing garments. Her use of shibori dyeing and fabric painting techniques is always fascinating, and this was her strongest collection yet.
Her bohemian women’s and men’s RTW garments moved really well on the runway, and it was the only collection that made me smile broadly the entire time. So I was so stoked when she won the Best Construction Award! Very, very well deserved.
Leila Nekbeen Entezam
Rousseau’s Dream – Spring/Summer 2017
Kudos to Leila for being the big winner that night! She won both the Most Creative & Original Collection, as well as Best in Show awards. These garments look really nice up-close; you can have some sense on how much crochet handwork, patchwork, and embroideries applied to these collections. The kids looked great and cute, while the adults looked refined yet playful. There’s that “jungle coolness” qualities to this collection inspired by exotic foliage and Rousseau’s paintings. Well done.
Debonair – Fall/Winter 2016
Betsy’s collection celebrates sports uniforms, technical fabrics, and athleisure influence. The neutral-colored garments made me pay more attention to the silhouettes, and I especially LOVE the first outfit.
Elite – Fall/Winter 2016
Inspired by luxury and 3D draping techniques, Giavonna created women’s special occasion outfits. The ease and flow of the drapes looked really nice on the models, however the feather and fur accents felt quite gimmicky. I also got thrown off by the light brown printed fabric that adored the last outfit’s pants – it drapes nicely, but that fabric doesn’t match any other fabrics in the collection.
Sing Misty For Me – Spring/Summer 2017
I really love the color palette of this women’s evening wear collection. Inspiration of foggy San Francisco nights and the Jazz Age transformed to flirty and tasteful ensembles. And that tiered skirt from the 2nd outfit? Love it. Really lovely and rich.
Red Sea Sabbatical – Spring/Summer 2017
Congratulations to Elishes, who not only reprised his role as MC that evening, but also delivered a women’s evening wear collection that won him runner-up of Most Marketable & Relevant Award! On the runway, his red garments have calming qualities instead of bold aggression. It’s very ethereal and soothing to see these outfits moved gracefully.
Escape – Spring/Summer 2017
I have great respect for Lauren. She’s the only AiCA-SF fashion student designer who showcased her design talents four years in a row. This was her last presentation as a student designer, and her collection of women’s knit tops were superbly well-made, commercial, and fashionable. I can see women dressing them up with midi, full-length ballgown skirts (like how they were styled for the runway) and slimmer gowns, or dressing them down with jeans and shorts. They are versatile, and it was a great conclusion to Lauren, who brought it up to the runway year after year.
Her standout collections brought her awards every year, and this year was no exception. Lauren won the Most Marketable & Relevant Collection Award, and it was a no-brainer. Congratulations to her success during her AiCA-SF student years, and I cannot wait to see her blossoming into a full-fledged fashion design professional and entrepreneur. All the best!
Elegante – Spring/Summer 2017
With Prince’s “Purple Rain” playing on the background, you knew right away this three-piece women’s evening wear collection was all about presentation. Then again, My’s collection is inspired by “super heroes on the red carpet.” Model (read: Runway Queen) Fely Tchaco worked the heck out of that cape for the first look; her slow walk and dramatic ‘swoosh’ at the end of the runway were so enchanting and dreamy.
Suffocation – Spring/Summer 2017
The finale collection of the night was arguably the most modern and edgy. The design details of exposed seams, buckles, dangling strips, and corset ties successfully brought the best attributes of designs of the past with Julissa’s interpretation of modern aesthetics. Inspired by strait jackets and women’s uniforms in lunatic asylums, Julissa’s constrained yet hopeful “Suffocation” collection made her runner-up for Most Creative & Original Collection Award.
Beyond this fashion show presentation, I felt her collection represented what’s happening in our society today. Stylish and brave young generation bound with idealistic and small-minded perspectives from others who magnified their poison’s reach. But even when these young ones end up getting unfair treatments, their support to each other and outlook are always hopeful for a better future. That’s my interpretation of this fashionable garments, and perhaps that’s one perspective I projected into them. Regardless, bravo to Julissa for creating this wonderful collection!
Congratulations again for all the Art Institute of California San Francisco student designers and producers, faculty members, and volunteers for whipping up a great show! It’s great to see a full house of audience, and the amount of love and attention poured into making this show a success was really heartfelt. It’s so special to be invited to see this presentation year after year.
On a separate note, I just learned that Style Reborn was the last fashion show under Geetika Gupta’s reign as Academic Director. I’m honestly still reeling from shock, however I wish both AiCA-SF and Geetika all the best in their paths going forward. Onward!
Thanks for reading; until next time,
Hair and Make-up: Axel Melgoza, Jerome Mason and teamWardrobe: Rachelle Castro
Styling: Valerie Mercado
Music: Dj PM
MCs: Alyssa Elias and Elishes Cavness
Photos: Nicolas Ardelean