International Fashion Week favorite Oxford Fashion Studio kicked off its annual array of rising designers on Saturday at Pier 59 Studios with its first-afternoon showcase.
Margaret Garrison’s eponymous eight-piece collection, entitled “Half Time,” married stylish athleticwear with sensible comfort. Oversized 3D-printed zippers accentuated neon-trimmed rompers and mesh dresses; the cutout midriff-exposing Cross Court dress, paired with goggle glasses, brought a sleek style to a post gym-friendly look. The outwear-inspired standout white jumpsuit, with covetable zippable straps and a flattering green trim to contour the body, was perfectly styled with neon strapped sandals. Garrison’s collection had a fresh take on the current trend of athlesiure and brought the modern look full circle with streetwear elements.
Empire Collection debuted next, opening with a darker twist on the classic trench. The iridescent material captured purples and browns as the model strutted towards the overhead lights, followed by a menswear crinkled cream lace suit under a matching moto jacket. The half mens, half womens cohesive collection, dubbed “London Dungeon,” updated traditional silhouettes with a current edge. A menswear two-tone ensemble featuring a black and beige hoodie with two perpendicular zippers and matching beige pants easily could be a new addition to any red carpet star’s off-duty wardrobe. The womenswear lace silk trench coat dress floated down the runway, anchored by black combat boots and a cinched waist. The UK-based designer definitely revamped London’s classic uniform.
Alicia’s Designs presented a unique collection of hand-painted wearable art, including futuristic breast plates and cone-shaped scarves. One ensemble used the same darting square print for a belt, scarf, headband, purse, and boots, styled with a simple black dress to highlight the vintage-meets-modern design. A v-shaped piece, linked with chains at the sides over a midi frock, brought a warrior queen vibe to the collection, titled “Resilience.” Canadian Alicia dedicated her work to the Residential School Survivors and Non-Survivors of corrupt school systems in rural parts of her country.
All Reclaimed by P used recycled fabrics like chiffon, lace, silk, and tulle sourced from around the world to construct the collection. The ready-to-wear pieces by Swedish designer ARBP mixed hard and soft– think chains and florals– for a seductive mysterious style. “My wish as a designer is to give every woman the premise of feeling unique and the ability to transform darkness into something magical,” ARBP said. The rebellious Pink Star, a delicately flowered print chiffon dress with a choker metal chain, is editorial glam at a closet-ready price. The Réglisse Noire satin mini dress with a black lacquer feather bottom is paired with a detachable leather harness for Black Swan meets bondage style. All looks are currently available to purchase online, sans Réglisse Noire which is understandably sold out.
The all-white Dignified Women’s Apparel collection was the epitome of tailoring perfected. A white pleated top with a side cinch and matching shorts opened the collection, followed by a snowy-hued strapped top and cream side-pleated skirt reminiscent of a revised school uniform at the chicest academy, as though the wearer opened an art gallery upon graduation. The collection was effortless and seamless, entirely balanced towards the mastery of craft. A resort-ready sheer organza overcoat and silk top embodied the light spring style, and a tiered pleated dress brought a dramatic moment styled with long dangling earrings. A standout cropped jumpsuit with circle ring straps and side pleating marked ingenious as the ensemble flowed with the volume of a skirt. The finale piece– a sleeveless collared pleated version of a shirt dress–easily could have been a dangerously boxy silhouette, yet designer Bria Evans proved her talent with selective layers and powerful pleating to create a new staple style. Dignified Women’s Apparel showcased a more than dignified collection, one of the most wearable so far this season.
Nykwale’s collection emphasized the beauty of detail. Inspired by various African cultures, the garments exuded an emotive voice that fashion is craving today. “Society uses African prints often, but we will never evolve if we keep using them in the same ways,” designer Eugénie Ajdoa A. said. The streetwear collection is marked by Ajdoa A.’s eye for complementary patterns and design touches: a leg-long frill extending from a skirt is secured by a trio of garter straps; a regal cutout look is topped with a dignitary-style red square hat for a resounding effect. The signature ruffled one-arm design is expanded on in the finale look of a mustard orange ruffled cold shoulder halter top, topping black pants with a printed band down the leg before melting into a split ankle cuff. It’s just the right amount of a lot, ready for its editorial spread or music video spotlight.
Brooklyn-based designer Haley Manochi was inspired by Art Nouveau dancer Loie Fuller, an innovator of modern dance and light effects. The warm glow of stage lights is embodied in Manochi’s stunning collection, a nod to both past and present in its timeless designs. Champagne velvets and silks walked the runway, draped into understated elegant styles like a gorgeous beige banded waist dress with a flowy back culminating in balloon sleeves. A caramel leather harness belt atop a nude silk dress was an immediate favorite, and the following pleated one-shoulder seamed bodice top lay gracefully over a silk column skirt. Manochi’s vintage inspiration proved to be a contemporary hit.
Sportswear brand Y.H. closed out the first show for Oxford Fashion Studio with colorblocked garments and comfortable shapes. This latest collection was inspired by skylines of cities in contrast to natural landscapes; most ensembles had a pointed printed pattern reveal merging into a solid form, contrasting the occupied with the open. The second look on the runway– a navy and brown slanted top and skirt combination– was standout in its simplicity and easy wearability. A layered oversized black and orange poncho-style top paired with a bell-shaped skirt proved to be a favorite in the ten-ensemble collection.
Oxford Fashion Studio once again highlighted the rising talent in the industry, finishing the day with two more shows for a total of 20 designers to watch.