Academy of Art Spring 2014 Collections

Once again, the Academy of Art Institute brings the talent of its student designers to the fashionable masses during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. For Spring 2014, the ninth season of the Academy of Art show, ten designers (four womenswear, four menswear with one womenswear collaboration and one menswear collaboration). One detail I kept noticing about the looks of these talented student designers was volume. Several of the designer collection featured voluminous looks for both men and women. Let’s get to the collections starting with my favorites first:

GWEN SHIHYAO LAI – Her stunning spring 2014 collection was inspired by the paintings of Filipino artist, Thaddeus Ochoa Pagaduan and featured cotton, silk, and ikat fabrics which featured pleating reminiscent of the artist’s use of tree bark and bleaching which represents the sunlight and fire from nature.

SHANSHAN BAI & WINBO SHIAU – A beautiful collaboration from these Fashion and Knitwear Designers. While Shanshan was inspired by the natural curling lines of floral panels, Winbo added a dynamic twist of street-chic style. The collection features a blend of silk gazar, wool and linen yarn.

NIKA TANG – showcasing a stunning collection that were inspired by the stone carvings of realism artist Kris Kuksi, architectural designs of Mario Botta and the sculptures of Korean artist Byoungho Kim, this collection focuses on volume, movement and texture. The garments take on a half dome and large ruffled silhouette of a sunfish with the macrame details reflecting the textures of caviar eggs.

VICKEN DERDERIAN – The first thing that caught my eye when Vicken’s first look hit the runway was fabrication – his voluminous and structured collection were featured in bold prints reminiscent of stunning jacquard and  upholstery. No surprise that he has a background in Furniture Fabrication Design, Architectural Design and Fine Artistry. His collection explores the connection between fashion and architecture.

DIDVIK KUANG – Imagine if Richard Gere’s American Gigolo character wore loungewear for the entire movie, Didvik Kuang’s collection is what his attire might look like. The collection’s fabrications include linen, blended wool, nylon and suede.

MARINE RONGRONG WEI – Inspired by the vintage clothing during the Great Depression, Marine combines different fabrics and textures to create her collection. Her collection also features varied fabrics weights and oversized silhouettes popular during that era.

LESLIE DILLOWAY – With inspiration coming from ethnic Turkish prints and textures infused with the 1990’s popular grunge fashion, Leslie Dilloway created a collection for a fictional Turkish cab driver in London in the late 80’s to early 90’s who she deemed mysterious and carefree. The collection features a casual, sporty theme thanks to the continuous use of drawstrings.

RYAN MORAR & MELISSA AVALOS – The second collaboration, Menswear Designer Ryan and Textile Designer Melissa create a standout casual collection. Ryan and Melissa’s collection is inspired by Robert Rauschenberg’s “Combines” mixed media artwork in both design element and textile. Ryan also counts the sounds of 1980’s Sonic Youth and Beat Happenings albums as inspiration. His garments feature deconstructed elements that create new shapes and raw, free form aesthetic.

Academy of Art continues to give us designers that offer a fresh and modern look at fashion. This season’s show has been one of my favorites from the school. Check out the looks in motion in the models finale walk below:

Backstage w/ Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa at Emerson & Brandon Sun Fall 2013

Emerson Backstage Fall 2013

In summation the hair backstage at Emerson could be described in two words: effortlessly glam. The hair was a traditional low pony tail but to “zhoosh” it up, Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa’s National Creative Director and Master Stylist, Zahir Ziani, added a little texture (with a curling iron) and height (think teased volume) to get the effortless glam look. Zahir held the pony sans rubber bands to avoid creases in the hair by wrapping the ponytail with a thin piece of hair and secured with a bobby pin.

 **Photo/video credits: Natalie Avarado for

Brandon Sun Fall 2013 

 Master Stylist Zahir Ziani, and the Red Door Spa’s beauty of created an updated bohemian look backstage at Brandon Sun Fall 2013. The hair was a juxtaposition of a low bun in the back and a center part and breathless waves in the front. The Resistance Double Force by Kerastase helped created texture for the tousled look of the bun.

In keeping with the “boho glam” look of the hair, the makeup overall was natural but key aspects glamed it up, mostly the bold eyebrows and clean skin. Key products to achieve this look were Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Mineral Tinted Moisturizer, and Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Eye Shadow in Shimmering Copper, Bellini, and Truffle.

***A huge thank you to Fashion and Beauty Contributor, Laura A. Floyd of Blush and Beakers for covering Backstage Beauty for My Life on and off the Guest List this season. Make sure to check out her blog.

Venexiana Fall 2013 Collection

I wrote about backstage at Venexiana Fall 2013 collection where the beautiful side twist french rolls and glamorous smokey eyes were the focus, now I eagerly bring you the details on what occurred in the front of the house. The clothes from the Venexiana Fall 2013 collection were a glamour girl’s dream come true with nothing short of 76 couture looks floating down the runway to choose from.
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Kati Stern’s gift is in the details; while each piece oozed personality, whether the fabric of choice was velvet with crystals or lace with crystals, they were all reminiscent of each other which made for a cohesive collection.


Even the color palette of the Venexiana Fall 2013 collection, although varied, all were in the metallic, deep gemstone range, reflecting light in different ways. Overall, it was a strong collection with lots of sexy silhouettes and beautiful metallic colors.

***Thank you to Fashion and Beauty Contributor, Laura A. Floyd of Blush and Beakers for covering Venexiana for My Life on and off the Guest List this season. Make sure to check out her blog.

**photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Alon Livne Fall 2013 Collection

Seeing Alon Livne’s Fall 2013 collection in person was, for lack of a better word, moving. Although the color palette did not deviate from black, Livne added different textures, beaded decals, and materials to set each look apart, as well as geometric cutouts and shiny black hardware that jutted out of the clean silhouettes of the clothes.

All of these different elements, as well as the star trek-like head pieces on each model, gave off the foreshadowing feeling that this will be the norm for glamorous and elegant clothing in the next fifty to one hundred years. Overall it was refreshing and a pleasant surprise to be able to view this collection.

***A huge thank you to Fashion and Beauty Contributor, Laura A. Floyd of Blush and Beakers for covering Backstage Beauty for My Life on and off the Guest List this season. Make sure to check out her blog.

Monika Chiang Takes Flight for Fall/Winter 2013 Collection

Stepping into the Monika Chiang presentation felt as if one were stepping inside an aviary of rare birds. Chiang’s inspiration for the Fall/Winter collection was a recurring dream she’s been having of running fast enough to be able to take flight. Indeed the models’ looks were striking; Patrick Melville for Aveeno made them look as if they have just landed— highly coiffed ‘dos resembling a crest of an exotic bird with teased ends that made them look wind blown.

The theme of flight continues with the simple yet tailored garments, which Chiang drew from vintage aviation uniforms. Streamlined jackets, billowy pantsuits, shift dresses with overlapping lapels and artful hardware details combined to show how it takes strength and grace to fly. Metal collar and bib necklaces with sculpted flocks topped off the simple architecture of each piece.

Winged ear cuffs and rings coupled with metal plated footwear and purses presented a stunning juxtaposition to the deep blues, blacks, reds, tans, and greens of the clothes. All in all, a strong collection that is both wearable yet statement making.

***A huge thank you to Guest Blogger, Christine Ongsueng of The Tiny Tierant for covering this show for My Life on and off the Guest List this season. Make sure to check out her blog.

Son Jung Wan Fall 2013 Collection

My favorite collection this season was absolutely Son Jung Wan’s Fall 2013 Collection. The collection, titled Dynamic Romance and inspired by two Russian greats, Kandinsky and Catherine Palace, was stunning from beginning to end.

The uber-luxe collection of jewel-toned gowns, chic felt jackets and pleated wool dresses, started with a neutral palette of nude pink, beige, gray and metallic with oxblood red, Sapphire blue, and violet used to punch up the subtle palette. Son Jung Wan didn’t disappoint with her very sophisticated and feminine silhouettes; her mix of luxurious fabrics and soft, chic tailoring and stunning aesthetic will garner her a large fan base for years to come.

The show’s final looks included a jaw dropping fox fur coat with sequins and a chic gold sequined tank romper

Enjoy the finale of the breathtaking show in the video filmed on my #HTCOne below:

Jill Stuart Fall 2013 Collection

With a color palette that featured most black, Jill Stuart presented her Fall 2013 Collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Her collection, inspired by the modern British aristocratic, namely model and grand-daughter of the 11th Duke of Devonshire, Stella Tennant

Brightening up the color palette were gold accents and embellishments, a few pops of navy, a candy stripe-esque print that added a bit of playfulness, deep red and coral. Memorable details included large Victorian bows at the neck, structured and modern jackets (which immediately made me think of old English gents), and dresses which featured delicate lace, sheer linings and bold necklines.

Unlike the show’s beginning, Jill Stuart ended her collection with pops of color but I’d describe them as rich and deep rather than bright which will please those who love fall tones.

Check out more from the collection in the show’s finale,w hich i filmed on my #HTCOne X+