The crème of the crop of Parsons MFA Master’s Fashion Design & Society debuted their spring summer collections at Milk Studios in downtown New York City. By and large, aesthetics were very much singular to each designer, there were, nonetheless, standout trends Parsons’s designers shared with the rest of the industry: heavy knits, fringe, and architectural silhouettes.
Jiapei Li was the first to see her collection walk the runway. The amply exaggerated silhouettes of neoprene armor and Li’s own mantra “Try to find myself,” suggested an existential journey inspired by Cartesian philosophy. A familiar compilation of manipulated wovens concentrated around the facing side of the body with translucent backsides provided fashion with a capital F point of view.
Anmar Belal came out with ethnic prints and Asian faces imprinted on sheer dresses that moved pleasantly with her models. A concentration on prints and an earthy palette leant the collection a safari-like appeal for the tourist attempting to connect with her host’s native culture.
Bei Kuo debuted a theme strongly reminiscent of papal dress. A house dress was cut from black cloth and accessorized with a long necklace that could easily be taken for religious insignia. A neoprene-like boxy top featured a neckline that fit within the same vein as the house dress—reminiscent of a minister’s dress. The austerity of the collection was then juxtaposed against a few iridescent pieces, lending a playful edge to the blacks and bright whites. Serious and playful were joined, and appeared to reflect more on the personality of the designer than on any political or religious statement.
Mathew Dolan showed what is perhaps one of the most recognizable trends of fall Fashion Week. Fringe—the surplus of dangling material cut in dangling form—appeared to be an homage to a more relaxed time in society—like when Cher wore her mermaid outfits on television and smoked a joint because that was the thing to do. Denim was mixed in for interest, and provided a pleasant partner to the casual fringe.
A satisfying finale, Alan Oates presented knitwear with heavy bead ornamentation, sans high street tackiness. A cohesive group of skirts and heavy knit sweaters that dropped well past the natural hipbone, Oates’s contribution to the fashion girl is not lightweight; in fact, he’s offering all kinds of stylish evening wear that an uptown as well as a downtown girl would feel equipped to run into her professional foe in. She is neither overly dressed nor mommy jean casual. The impression of these looks lends the Oates girl fashion cred without calling any particular trend her own.
A job well done for this group. Parsons is undoubtedly proud.