NYFW – Nolcha Fashion Week’s Ones to Watch collective runway show
Nolcha Fashion Week presented six up-and-coming designers on 12th February at the Pier 59 Studios in Chelsea. There was a vibrant and full reception room offering drinks and freebies before we were shown to our seats ready for the waves of fashion treats to come our way.
An interesting direction to drag fashion down in, Be is a beading designer who has created a collection of astounding and extremely impressive pieces, including the world’s largest beaded wedding dress. Though impressive, one begs the question of where this kind of work belongs within the world of fashion. They’re not exactly something many would wear anywhere other than a high-end fancy dress party, and the pieces aren’t exactly flattering. We can’t deny that Be is talented in her field, but there was something dated and a little bizarre about her work that could do with some more modern shapes. However, we applaud such originality in an industry that can often become safe and repetitive.
Manalo’s collection had a lot of potential, but there was something decidedly unfinished about it. The pieces didn’t seem to have a particular theme, and the cut of the dresses were bulging and unflattering. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t describe the collection as high fashion, or even high street for that matter. The few pieces presented were very plain. The only outfit that sparked interest was an interestingly cut purple maxi dress, one shouldered with a low back and a panel insert in the back of the skirt. It was unremarkable and gave off a very tentative vibe.
Maison de Papillon
This collection screamed classy nightwear and reminded us strongly of Audrey Hepburn rocking the white shirt look in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Though there was the odd questionable piece, the vast majority were delectable. In amongst the monochrome were jewel bright greens and purples in silky fabrics commonly associated with luxury loungewear. Our favourite look (other than that of the designers on their runway moment) was a chic velvety cape and cropped trouser set in black. Flowing and elegant, the models rippled down the runway.
Yi’s collection was bold and moody, featuring a great deal of figure-hugging cuts, lace and blacks. Her pieces were extremely exciting, with some gorgeously innovative shapes and textures. Our favourite was a black body with cut-out features and floor-length strips that billowed out dramatically. Another favourite was a simple black cape with feathered shoulders. There were a couple of debatable pieces, specifically ones using experimental prints, but for the most part her collection stood powerfully both couture as one and ready-to-wear individually.
Amy Devan’s brand Naveda presented a beautiful array of elegant pieces with an ethnic and bohemian twist. The collection comprised of mostly blacks, whites and golds, was a naturally winning combination. The range of figure-hugging fabrics ranged from heavy and sensual velvet dresses to ebbing and flowing sheer pieces, all decorated with gold statement beading. Our favourites were the velvet piece with a sultry plunging neckline and a white maxi dress with neck, chest and shoulders adorned with gold. Exceedingly elegant and versatile.
Our favourite designer of the night was American Christian Benner with his collection of leather jackets and t-shirts. He gives vintage pieces new life (and adds on a stonking price tag) by renovating pieces with punk traits: graffiti, rips, ladders, studs and spikes galore. Every single item that got stamped up and down the runway at Pier 59 Studios was mouth-wateringly cool, and acted as a real salute to Brit punk fashion. Despite our reservations about his title of designer, as he does what many do of their own accord in their own homes, we have to commend him for the slight “f**k you” message given to those who wouldn’t dare wear anything too last season. Recycled fashion is the future, and if the standing ovation was anything to go by, many at the show tonight would have agreed!
Photos: Esther Horvath