Kingstonstyle DIY contributor and fashion journalist Monique Robb recently travelled to New York during the famed fashion week and visited the PLITZS New York City Fashion Showcase, a collective of fashion shows from emerging international designers held at the Park Central Hotel. Robb gave us a run down of the Saturday night showcase in which she saw designers such as Jamaica’s own KAJ by Summer Jarrett, British Eco-designer Jose Hendo and LA artist Dawn Sunflower show their latest collections for New York Fashion Week onlookers.
The fourth showcase for PLITZ was scheduled for 8:30pm but when I arrived at 8:44 pm at The Park Central Hotel in midtown Manhatten the scene was buzzing with unpreparedness. Through the thin black sheets, which served as partitions, I could see models in hair and make-up while some who were already dressed, lined up back stage for the opening act. Men and women in the audience were busy chatting it up, scrolling through their iPhones and taking pictures to pass time. I was focused on the personalized fashion show the guests had put on as these fabulous New Yorkers had brought their fashion ‘A-game’ to the show. At 10:10 pm the music finally chimes in as the audience bursts into a bout of applause.
As the broad, shiny, white runway is lit, the first model appears sporting the Cbrido Collection by Celine Brideau of New Brunswick, Canada. Brideau’s collection featured colour-blocking in violet and mustard, blue, green and yellow floral prints, shades of grey, wide-legged pants and flowing hemlines. The models are styled minimally and apart from a few issues with the sizing, the show is off to a good start.
The second designer is Kerapa Klothing Company by Sonya Mills who has a ‘Caribbean-esque’ vibe as she sends her models down the runway in brightly-coloured, crocheted swimwear and cover-ups. The collection also included a few knitted shorts and simple tees for a casual daytime look as well as African-printed dresses and skirts, proving its trend on the runway and contemporary wear.
Texan Jessiica Howell Fashions by Jessiica Howell was one of the crowd’s favourite as she opened with an array of elegant gowns that hugged each model perfectly. Despite the sexy sheer panels on the top of most of her gowns, her models looked sophisticated and classy. A vintage inspiration could be seen in her collection as she used popular 90s velvet fabrics and timeless Houndstooth prints in modern ways. The look is professionals-with-a-desire-for-style, as the collection contained high-waisted, wide-legged pants, jumpsuits, halter tops and fine tailoring.
The most art-inspired designs were by Dawn Nguyen from California whose collection, Dawn Sunflower, boasted shimmery fabrics, feathers and elaborate embellishments. She too used velvet signaling its come-back! Summer Jarrett represented Kingston, Jamaica well as her collection KAJ was vibrantly coloured, embodying the true spirit of the Caribbean. Her signature pieces were flared maxi skirts worn with bow-bandeau tops available in every colour you can think of. There were a few jackets paired with painted shorts and skirts. She played with the hemlines of her gowns using feathers and elaborate cuts.
A collection comprised of only gowns and dresses which stunned the audience with their impeccable movement and fluidity, Lubna Designs by Lubna Najjar was a show stopper. Having Middle Eastern decent and inspiration, some models were garbed from head to toe, still exuding strong, sexy femininity and finesse. When her necklines were plunging she covered the models’ backs, when they were high, she showed off their spines- perfectly balancing modesty and sensuality. The colours of the collection appealed to a mature audience as they were deep, mostly dark and monotone. She used lace and other sheer fabrics to layer backgrounds and her seaming and finishes were faultless.
The final designer, eco fashionista Jose Hendo by Josephine Kyomuhendo travelled the furthest, all the way from London, United Kingdom and brought the largest and most high fashion showcase of them all. She had a constant theme of circles throughout: using circular appliqués, prominent circular buttons, circular hemlines, necklines and armholes, circle clutches and pockets. She was the only designer to feature both female and male models, making a perfect closure for the night. The females reeked of both femininity and androgyny as they wore dresses, shorts and pants tailored to perfection. Kyumuhendo was the most innovative of the bunch with designs such as shoe covers made from the cloth used to construct the garments. The designs were futuristic yet tasteful and easily applied into mainstream fashion given a couple of seasons.
PLITZS New York City Fashion week put on by PLITZS Fashion Marketing has been creating a platform for both local and international emerging designers since 2004. The show allows designers to affordably showcase their talent to the public, media, fashion merchandisers, bloggers and retailers during an often very expensive New York fashion week. The show was particularly useful in highlighting current trends such as maxis, peplum borders, high and accentuated waist-lines, cropped tops and gave us a peek into upcoming styles such shoe-covers, capes and feathers. Though there is room for improvement by the producers and designers alike–such as the delayed show– the staging has the potential to lead designers down the golden runway at the dream destination- Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.