By Alexia Hill
Photo by John Helmke
NEW YORK, NY- Hosted in the Financial District of the Big Apple, NYC Live! at Fashion Week was an overt success. People crowded into every chair, and overflowed into the surrounding standing room of this elegant event space, known as the Mezzanine.
The Fall/Winter show highlighted 14 different designers, with 6 local to New York, and 8 from across the nation. The runway was hosted by Xpozure Modeling and Media and NYC Live @ Fashion Week, in association with: Runway News, Uneeq Entertainment Inc. Bare Bonez Entertainment, Safe Haven Holdings LLC, Crystallization Connection, Emerald Fox Creatives, and of course, The Mezzanine.
Beginning the show with high-fashion shimmer, Velvet Zephyr Designs quieted and hypnotized the crowd. This collection told a story of color, sparkles, and incredible draping in both mens and womens clothing.
Progressing through collections from Sarah Landry Designs, Debonaire Club, Shekhar Rahate, FASH Philetta Designs, and a personal favorite, Vincent Woolridge’s Love Collection.
Woolridge hails from Houston, Texas and The Love Collection was his debut as a designer. Stemming from a passion for love, connection and mental health, Woolridge strives to tell a story through his pieces. He explained that the collection goes through how love impacts us as humans, “It’s really more of the life cycle of love and how we are exposed to it as individuals. The solid hearts, the first demonstration, represents how we came to the world-untainted, a clean slate so to speak. The second heart actually has a broken heart and elements flowing out of it. That actually represents life and what we’ve gone through to kind of shape and mold who we are as individuals, the good, bad, indifferent,” Woolridge said. “Which then concludes with that third heart which brings everything back together and is held together with a pin. You can still see the visual crack however you are now brought back whole, basically that we learn from the things we experience in life.”
The Love Collection showcases a majority of silk textiles expressed through streetwear and a couple formal wear pieces, doused with a personalized touch and connection. A more subtle yet refined look was the cherry blossom pattern that camouflaged hearts into the blossom’s center. This was used as an all-over print on a varsity style jacket and as part of a mid-leg placement print on black cotton bottoms.
One look showcased a hoodie, varsity jacket and pants set, patterned with a black and gold print showing all these different heart versions mentioned by Woolridge. However, another model, Anthony Serrano, wore a full maroon suit set that was customized with safety pins and heart detailing on the chest pocket.
Serrano has been modeling for three years, and walked for the designers: Haus of Luxuray, Woolridge’s Love Collection and Velvet Zephyr Designs by Judith Nunan.
“It’s funny because modeling runs in my family, but I never once thought about modeling even though my parents tried to persuade me to, until one day I got scouted,” Serrano said. “I was told that I could take it very far given my height and looks and so I thought about it hard and decided to give it a chance. It was the best decision I ever made and I fell in love with it.”
The show started at 6:30, had a brief intermission, starting again around 8:00 p.m., primarily highlighting designers local to New York. This latter half of the show included: Haus of Flash by Luxuray, ELJ Avenue by Von Perez, The Lone Star Collection by Alvertis Alve Alexander, Pan Zai Boutique by John Naftali, Eval Company by Beverly Matos and NJ Boutique by Nusrat Jahan.
From the designer, model and audience perspective, this showcase included some incredibly deliberate, detailed collections from all across the country.
“I thought the show went extremely well and very smoothly. I definitely see myself working with them [NYC Live! At Fashion Week] in the future for sure,” Serrano said.
Despite some A/V technical difficulties with the screens meant to highlight each designer, the show producers trudged through it all with passion and excitement. Throughout the night, it was clear to me that the fashion industry that came together and that played a part in this official NYFW event, manifested itself as a community, strong-willed and ready to grow.
“Everyone was very receptive. I truly view it as an art form. It was great networking with the other designers and learning from them, the various temperaments of how the process goes, you know I would say it’s a beautiful, chaotic mess that ultimately ends in this beautiful swan,” Woolridge said. “It’s just so many moving pieces, models trying to get into one outfit and into the next, and getting an idea of how that works. William and his team did an amazing job putting that together.”