In September 2003, Cat Swanson débuted
her first collection, Tiger Lily, which premièred at 7th
on Sixth in Bryant Park. The collection garnered much attention
from the fashion industry and the fashion press, which resulted
in a myriad of music industry celebrities, including Liz Phair,
Lil' Kim, and Britney Spears wearing Cat Swanson designs.
For her spring 2005 collection, Ms Swanson entitled
her show Quetzal, after a beautifully colourful tropical bird from
South America; and followed that by sending down her runway a truly
colourful collection indeed. Her palette of vibrant green, white,
orange, blue lime, peach and emerald in luxurious fabrics (silk,
charmeuse, georgette) was expertly manipulated to highlight her
theme, resulting in pieces that were cut to show off a woman's body
at its sexiest and best. Throughout the entire presentation, she
managed to convey innocence (her white blouse paired with a green
silk shorts), urban sophistication (a blue straight-legged pant
paired with a red silk top and white fitted jacket) and evening
glamour (a beautiful green chiffon multilayered gown with red accent
top and criss-cross detailing). I was not totally in love with everything
here, but this collection aptly demonstrated Ms Swanson's continued
growth as a designer. the fabrication has improved, her sense of
what works has been sharpened, and she is well on the way to even
more success within the industry.
Gary Graham, who studied at the Art Institute of Chicago
and trained in costume design, once described his style of design
as ‘distressed, rough-edged clothes that are homespun goth.’ A master
of deconstruction, the designer is also a master of techniques and
fabric treatment. He dyes, machine-quilts, shrinks and frays material.
It's fantasy meets rock and roll when it comes to his creations.
According to the designer himself, one of his
muses is Xena, Warrior Princess (which shows in his collections)
which has a tendency to be mediæval and romantic at the same
time. He also proclaimed that he is ‘a poor man's Galliano,’ another
aspect that shows in his creationsrebellious and elegant.
He is known for celebrating the rough edges of
fashion, the ragged, undone look that, just the same, has an underlying
air of sophistication.
This season, however, he traded in a lot of that
undone-ness and went soft with a variety of distressed
dresses and pieces that has a distinctive romantic air. Being an
old softy for such designs, I loved most of the collection. The
rest, I am not ashamed to say, went over my head.
My favourite pieces includes his georgette printed
scarf dress (overlaid over a silk charmeuse slip dress), his pretty
white cotton voile pleat dress, the champagne silk georgette dress
at the top of the show (with a handkerchief hemline), his silk and
cotton jacquard culottes and matching faille jacket, and his georgette
scarf top paired with a charmeuse slip skirt. Other noteworthy pieces
includes his shrunken jackets and cardigans and his rather interesting
Gary Graham proclaimed that
he is ‘a poor man's Galliano,’ another
aspect that shows in his creationsrebellious and elegant