I think I won’t be the only person to say that I am fascinated by the notion of watching emerging talent. There is no better proof to that than the success of Project Runway on TV. In case you are just as curious as I am to, let’s just say, “see the future”, I suggest you check out the works of the selected representatives of the leading schools of design, who competed in Supima Design Competition during NY Fashion week.
On Thursday September 8th, 2016, the first day of the Fashion Week, The Ninth Annual Runway Show of Supima Design Competition was presented at Skylight Clarkson Square by celebrity host Olivia Culpo. The Competition was created to give runway exposure to emerging talent and was modeled after the legendary 1954 Wool Secretariat competition that launched the careers of the then-teenaged Yves St. Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. Supima is the brand of America’s luxury cotton, grown only in California and the Southwestern U.S. and prized all over the world. One finalist from each of the six of America’s top design schools (FIDM, FIT, Kent State, Parsons School of Design, RISD and SCAD) is selected to represent his or her alma mater in this prestigious competition. Each is tasked with the creation of a capsule collection of women’s evening gowns from premium Supima denims, knits, corduroys, twills, and shirting.
The resulting show is a fest of creativity, ingenuity and innovation. It is always a treat and frequently a surprise. This year the contest participants were Duston Jasso from Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Jiyeon Lee from Fashion Institute of Technology, Kara Michelle Kroeger from Kent State University, Jacqueline Zeyi Chen from Parsons School of Design, Jacob Blau from Rhode Island School of Design, and Jeffrey Taylor from Savannah College of Art and Design. Fashion designer Bibhu Mohapatra served as mentor to the six finalists, providing invaluable feedback and insight throughout the process.
Unquestionably, all collections had great merit. I enjoyed feathered surrealism of Duston Jasso, irreverence of Jacob Blau, and modernist vision of Jacqueline Chen. I definitely admired marvelous detailing of Jiyeon Lee and cool sculptural presence of Kara Kroeger. However, the work of Jeffrey Taylor spoke to me louder than the rest. His dresses were the fields of dreams – magnetic and powerful, suited for the highest of occasions. There was a definite influence of the New Look of Dior in his designs, but reinterpreted, re-envisioned, made current and distinctly his own. The first prize, a check of $10,000 from Supima and an opportunity to present his collection during Paris Fashion Week on September 29th are all richly deserved.
Congratulations to Jeffrey Taylor! Make sure to keep an eye on this name in future shows.
·Mary Alice Stephenson