FW Fall 2014: 3 Emerging Designers Take The Stage

By Anna Spiewak, Contributing Entertainment Editor

The weather has gotten colder, the snow lasts longer and the staff at New York Fashion Week’s Lincoln Center has gotten stricter, not letting anyone in past the door without a valid barcoded ticket.

Nevertheless, couture fanatics flocked the fashion flagship Feb. 6-13, to see their favorite designers and evaluate the new ones coming on the horizon for the Fall/Winter 2014 collection. Three up-and-coming designers this season had the recurring theme of reflecting their international or national cultures on the runway with hints of gold dominating the scene.


One of these new designers, in its second season at New York Fashion Week was Desigual, a Barcelona-based brand, reflecting hot Latin colors on the very first day of runway shows, Feb. 6. With its motto La Vida Es Chula, “love is in the air,” it seems the European designers tried to fool everyone that it was spring, not winter in the air. The models, clad in florals, bold colors, with short sleeves and mini dresses, reflected a more Spanish climate than the cold reality outdoors. According to the brand’s Managing Director Manel Jadraque, the motto of “Desigual is happiness, it’s positive, it’s about enjoying life, buying to enjoy the small things you have in life,” he said in an interview to the press this season.

Indeed, the clothes sparkled with sequin skirts, hints of gold, plaid designs, geometrical shapes and polka dots. The multi-faceted patterns on the runway combined with thumping music at the Theatre, the largest runway venue at Lincoln Center, transformed the audience to warmer days in the city, forgetting the cold and slush outside. And the models’ demeanor also reflected the clothing:  they smiled, hi-fived each other and blew kisses to the camera, unlike the usual stoic expressions models are told to take during catwalks.

The Desigual collection was about “going back to basics with a personal collection that reflects the enduring optimism found in the designers’ hometown of Barcelona. This winter feels brighter and less baroque,” said its press release. Clearly, they have not been in New York City long enough to see it’s not that bright.

Supermodel Karolina Kurkova was spotted as one of the main front-rowers at the Desigual show.

Over the weekend, another emerging designer took the stage. Mongolian designer Katya Zol (G. Zoltsetseg) reflected her culture by opening the show with a singer, clad in traditional garb, serenading the audience, followed by a Mongolian contortionist entertaining everyone. “This is better than a Broadway show,” said one of the guests.

Presenting for the first time at Lincoln Center during new York Fashion week, Zol, who is well known in Europe brings a breath of global exoticism to the runway by implementing traditional Mongolian costumes and raw materials such as wool, cashmere, leather and felt on the runway. Similar to Desigual, Zol reflected the climate of her culture, cold temperatures, with a warm cozy collection in earthy tones, such as beiges, blues and grays. The fall collection reflected off-the-shoulder wool overthrows, layers, thick baggy pants, long leather skirts, scarves, sweaters, and popped up collars with hints of fur. Models also sported painted gold stripes running down their faces.

Frontrower- iconic model of the 80s Janice Dickinson was caught taking a selfie prior to the show and then taking a few shots of the Zol designs on the runway.

And towards the closing of fashion week festivities Feb. 11 was newcomer SKINGRAFT, also a first-timer under the tents of Lincoln Center, but already with a strong following by young musician celebs, such as Justin Bieber, Adam Lambert, Beyoncé, Nicky Minaj and Rihanna. The brand’s following was reflected by a lack of seats left at the show, leaving several guests standing. Founded in Los Angeles by brothers Jonny and Christopher Cota, SKINGRAFT took a more realistic if not a futuristic-retro, Mad-Max-ish approach to the current weather with an urban, back-in-black collection, such as robe-like hoodies and 80’s leather jackets, which dominated the runway. The Fall 2014 collection was inspired by the “idea of drastic climate change and an inevitable return to a dystopian survivalist future,” according to its press release. SKINGRAFT’s threads with dark colors as its trademark have also appeared on the award-winning HBO show True Blood.

The unisex runway reflected nomadic street wear, inspired by cultures braving harsh climates with fabrics such as hand-quilted leather and mohair, shaved pony hair, ribbed nylon-fused fleece and intricate embroideries with leather and metal jewels. The color gold was also heavily woven to both male and female designs.

“For me, the fall collection is not just about survival in the harsh uncertainties of our world’s future, but rather it is about thriving and building new forms of self-expression and community once infrastructure as we know it is forced into question by our changing earth and a new opportunity is upon us,” said Jonny Cota in a prepared statement.

While several major designers moved offsite, such as Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Betsey Johnson and others, still more than 60 shows took place at Lincoln Center. With stricter door policy for the first time this season, the tents were more empty than usual, making the already exclusive event even more elite.



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