The last collection of the night, Maria Pascual’s
me at ‘Hello.’ I thought it was the most vibrant collection of the
evening. It had a stated purpose that needed no explanation; and
from beginning to end, my eyes were riveted to the runway as not
to miss a single thing. She is known for her use of original fabric
techniques in creating designs that are often androgynous and dramatically
dark in their scope and context. To put it all in focus, Ms Pascual
designs clothing that has its foundation in the Goth genre but manages
to inject a refreshing sense of romanticism that serves to make
them more special and noteworthy.
From her womenswear designs, I particularly like
her warped take on the traditional prom and cocktail dresses (in
black, of course) we are so familiar with in our travels. Deconstructed
beyond the point of meaningless prettiness, Ms Pascual gives life
to pieces that would be otherwise underwhelming and overlooked.
For the men, here’s where her sophisticated take on the grunge,
disaffected youth movement has the best effect. She showed skin-tight
rock star pants, graphic print T-shirts, and fitted jackets in leather
and over-dyed jersey fabrics, and it was all so appropriate and
genuinely original. Ms Pascual has a concept Chenpascual store in
London, off Carnaby Street, where she plans to sell the casual range
of sweat-tops and jerseys from the collection.
Gen Art Styles 2004 International
OVER 1,500 fashion industry insiders
and guests flocked to Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom on May 18
to view the designs of the 30 finalists of the Styles 2004 International
Design Competition. The finalists, who hailed from Canada, England
and the United States, competed in five categories for $35,000 in
prize money; with the designs in each category judged by a panel
of fashion industry professionals including Alek Wek (model
and handbag designer), Kimora Lee Simmons (designer, Baby
Phat), Shoshanna Gruss (designer, Shoshanna), Richard
Lambertson and John Truex (handbag, shoe and accessory
designers, Lambertson Truex), Patricia Field (stylist and
costume designer for movies and television), Kal Ruttenstein
(Fashion Director, Bloomingdale’s) and Julie Gilhart (Fashion
I liked Catherine Leung’s black layered
cocktail dress and the precise cut of Michael Kaye’s red
halter column gown. I was also intrigued by MyPhuong Chung’s
crisp white gown with vibrant red piping. Ultimately, the Gen
Art Design Vision Award for Eveningwear was given to Danielle
Martin and Pao Lim of the Longuevil, Québec-based
design team, Martin Lim. The designs that won them the $5,000
prize came from their Martin Lim couture line, inspired by modern
dance, Greta Garbo and the "suprematism" art movement.
TOP ROW: Chenpascual.
SECOND ROW: Michael Kaye. THIRD
ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: MyPhuong Chung; Martin Lim of Québec.
ABOVE: Nottingham-based Ruth Wilson,
winner of the Target Design Vision Award for Women’s Ready to Wear.