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Academy of Art University Fashion Show Book 2014

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Academy of Art University Fashion Show Book 2014

  1. 1. 2014 show AAU graduation FASHION AAU GRADUATION FASHION SHOW 2014
  2. 2. But I didn’t come here for arty daydreams. Where is the action, the verve, and the glamour? Why are all these confused, delirious people mashed together like a bag of sticky marshmallows? Who are those VIPs (The Beautiful People, The Chosen Ones), and why are they sitting on those fluffy pillows? Where are the gorgeous, stunningly svelte models? To quiet my mind, I close my eyes and connect. Swirling all around me, the audience’s pulsating anticipation is palpable. But, there is something else: something icy cold. With a slithering shiver, I feel the presence of a young woman who is wearing an ivory dress and standing to my left. She is still, mesmerized by the video camera’s boldly focused, self- aggrandized 105X zoom lens that requires internal optical stabilization to offset the cameraman’s trembling finger. I can’t see her features—only the back of her head which, with its cascading brunette hair, reminds me of Samara Morgan from Gore Vorbinsky’s The Ring. She starts to turn around...oh no...I’m scared, and... HEY! THE SHOW IS ON! I’m jolted to attention. We all take our cue from the loud burst of music and whoop our applause. Held back from the show’s main focal point, I teeter against the red velvet rope, imbalanced, and my sight zigzags, finally honing in on the slippery banana peel trajectory that is the runway. Like ice skaters, the models flow out and glide past us. I’m at the far edge, behind the two technocrane operators who are propelling the overhead telescoping arm with jabbing, thrusting motions. Simultaneously, giant, Wizard of Oz-like, projected heads loom in the background. Dressed in a minimalist Goth ensemble, one model (with a side part and quiff hairstyle) glares at some unseen phantom. Another model strides forward as a pair of over-sized, wing tipped eyes float behind her. She doesn’t blink. She looks hungry, so I toss her an order of burger and fries which she attacks and devours like a rabid hyena. Three others march by in what appears to be riveted vinyl surgical gowns. As the tunes throb, the onlookers ooh and aww. The psychedelic pageant advances. Before me is a riot of sensual fabrics: bronze sheen, gunmetal gloss, floral wisps, and lustrous transparencies. I swim in a cascade of neon fuchsia, electric blue, flaming red, Day-Glow chartreuse, and shocking pink. Rainbow threads flutter. There is strutting and styling. Bodies sashay and pirouette, gracefully approaching the press photographers who, like furtive lovers, wait impatiently at the end of the catwalk. The eager shooters give it their best shot, and with a final pose and penetrating gaze, the models leave them behind in a flash of blinding light. Stunned and disoriented, it takes us awhile to realize that it’s all over. Then, overwhelmed by this tour de force of cutting-edge creativity, friends, family, and fans clap, whistle, and cheer their accolades. The noise eases down to a soft, worshipful chant of gratitude. Tears of joy overflow, along with the champagne. But, I wonder, what does this event really mean for fashion student graduates? In her Vogue magazine commentary, “Crisis in College,” Suzy Menkes, the highly influential, internationally respected fashion journalist Domina, reported on the expense of and access to a fashion design education. She specifically cites Elisa Stephens, President of the Academy of Art University, who aims to expand the university’s online digital courses in order to meet these challenges. Menkes states about Stephens that, “In her vision, a mother in rural Wisconsin or a smart guy from Taiwan can do the online course and then participate in the actual Californian college for a semester.” Menkes challenges this objective. She asks,“Can the computer cut the cost of fashion schooling and create a virtual studio in a 21st-century world–in an industry where touch and feel are as crucial as the look?” Suzy Menkes suggests that virtual education may result in abstract, disembodied fashion design. Also, an online university program distances the student from the community that develops from being physically present in the classroom and studio. Especially in a field that is so highly competitive, dynamic, and mercurial, a student must learn the networking and socializing skills that will enhance his or her arsenal of tools for career success. In support of this critical insight, I need to declare that my tangible experience of the sights, smells, tastes, and textures of this evening have compelled me to enthusiastically advocate and celebrate the voluptuous, expressive, and performative aspects of clothing. Dazed, I stumble my way out of the warehouse into the soupy San Francisco fog. I glance back at the empty, diamond hard, epoxy coated, concrete base floor that patiently bore the weight of 1000 forklifts and trailer trucks and the blitzkrieg of pitchfork stilettos, hydraulic high heels, and pile driver platforms. The floor, spent and exhausted, is riddled with crumpled, torn red rosin paper and the limp shreds of ever-obsequious yellow tape. As the voiceless echoes seep into an inky black, cavernous pit, I turn away. Finding my way back home to the Mission, I ride the Muni T-line and then the 22, and I notice that my fashion sensitivity-chakra has been blown wide open. All my fellow passengers look extraordinarily cool. Their ready- to-wear and streetwear combinations are effortlessly chic, and their dapper accessories echo the high notes of this season’s haute couture collections. I feel like I’ve traveled light years away from my dull, neutral-colored attire, with my sensible shoes and navy blazer. Clearly, my personal spaceship has trekked far beyond my own dumpy wardrobe abyss into the ever-expanding, changing, and flourishing Fashion Universe that spins all around us. I am reborn—renewed by the knowledge gained from my time spent with the voguish beau monde. My imagination ignited, I make a promise to myself to sew up my fantasy outfit of a mauve-colored tube top; crimson PVC, faux Raw Sewage jacket (in honor of Leigh Bowery); rhinestoned, crushed velvet, orange and black tiger striped tights; magenta hologram lamé Isis Wings; Bob Mackie-for-Cher, black-feathered Mowhawk headdress; John Willie- cum-Bizarre magazine inspired patent leather, 8” heel ballet boots; and plum-colored, full-length, satin evening gloves. To top it all off, I’ll don my disco glitter blonde afro wig and go out dancing to the Dark Room. Maybe I’ll even apply to the Academy of Art University School of Fashion myself. I’m lost. En route, several passengers and two bus drivers warn me not to go there. They ask what I am doing and why, and they can’t believe that the 2014 Art Academy University Graduation Fashion Show is in Bayview-Hunters Point: I must have the wrong address. Didn’t I watch Kevin Epps’ Straight Outta Hunters? Didn’t I know that I was heading into a toxic wasteland superfund site? And because mine is a dumbphone, I can’t use GPS or ask Siri. Instead, I clutch my scrap paper with my scrawly, handwritten, incorrect directions and call upon the universe to guide me. Dodging semis laden with organic dino kale, I sludge, like a zombie, through the slippery, grey mist that engulfs the produce district loading docks and emerge at the doorstep of the industrial warehouse that is the ground zero launching pad for the careers of aspiring AAU fashion grads. I don’t have a printed invitation, so I name-drop the show’s Technical Director, and, in awe, the Keepers of the Gate part like the Red Sea. I enter. What I see is Yayoi Kusama’s polka dots. The dots are pretending to be spotlights. They shine on the empty catwalk, which has been marked out with red tape, and the silent bleachers stare blankly into the void. Kusama’s dots hover symmetrically and dance quietly: they “are a way to infinity.” Standing guard, a lone construction cone entices with its sirenic song and shimmering, golden shades of yellow and orange. I am shuffled into a hot, sweaty, smelly, slightly hysterical channel of people who are aggressively pushing their way through each other, going nowhere. Some impatient individuals rib jam and shove aside the disabled senior citizens who have been struggling to get inside the building. Canes and walkers are crushed under well-heeled feet. Everyone wants a seat, but none are available. Ushers scream in horror that the Fire Marshals have proclaimed the rafters off limits. We must all move NOW. It’s standing room only. The herd stampedes back down, and I anchor myself away from the tide by hanging on to the wires that dangle precariously from the control booth. Breathing in deeply, I prepare myself for the ride. There is a Modernist Grid facing me. It’s a massive high-resolution LED video wall blending four video signals into one and driven by sound cues. (Is this the right wording?) The Grid gives a warm and fuzzy shoutout to all those who have gone before it: El Lissitzky’s Prouns, Malevich’s Squares, Kurt Schwitter’s Merzbau, and Tschichold’s Golden Canon. It offers order to the chaos, measure for the madness, and a framework for the content. From this system we have created a plan, a choreography, and an exit strategy. If necessary, we can rocket out of her through the Z-Axis into the 7th dimension. To my right is the set’s transporter: it serves as a threshold between facades. Transfixed in this liminal space is a luminous man with a glowing, Alex Grey-like, white aura. He tries to hand me a gleaming consecrated tablet, but I can’t reach past the boundary defined by the yellow tape. He stomps his feet three times, and then, with a soft hiss, his energy pattern dematerializes and fades into the sepia-tinged atmosphere. The yellow tape continues on, circumscribing the producer’s station where two reference video monitors have been placed on a pedestal and set off with an iridescent curtain. The curtain sways wildly—a riptide ensnared patch of seaweed trying to escape the net of some random San Francisco Pier fisherman. The image on the monitor resembles Lewis Hine’s photograph of a power house mechanic working on a steam pump, but instead of a laborer with wrench in hand, there is the disembodied arm of a worker who is positioning the camera on the overhead truss. I can feel the perspiration congealing on my upper lip as I try to analyze the cognitive dissonance between what I remember and what is actually here in front of me. Ease on Down the Runway Janet Silk 3 2
  3. 3. 4 5 BUILDING THE SET 8 days / 11 hours / 42 minutes
  4. 4. 6 7
  5. 5. 8 9 5 days / 1 hour / 18 minutes
  6. 6. 10 11 4 days / 5 hours / 49 minutes
  7. 7. 12 13 3 days / 1 hour / 42 minutes
  8. 8. 14 15
  9. 9. 16 17 2 days / 1 hour / 12 minutes
  10. 10. 18 19
  11. 11. 20 21 1 day / 5 hours / 37 minutes
  12. 12. 0 days / 3 hours / 21 minutes
  13. 13. 24 25 GO!
  14. 14. 26 27 Kika Knaup Kika Knaup Marcia Amandary Marcia Amandary Marcia Amandary Marcia Amandary Marcia Amandary Marcia Amandary
  15. 15. 28 29 Iris Jin Iris Jin Iris Jin Karen Chuhua Yao Bowen Quan / Yucen Wavy Tang Bowen Quan / Yucen Wavy Tang Bowen Quan / Yucen Wavy Tang Bowen Quan / Yucen Wavy Tang Zonic Kwong / Jose Dojaquez Zonic Kwong / Jose Dojaquez Zonic Kwong / Jose Dojaquez Zonic Kwong / Jose Dojaquez Karen Chuhua Yao Karen Chuhua Yao Karen Chuhua Yao Karen Chuhua Yao Bowen Quan / Yucen Wavy Tang Kika Knaup Kika Knaup Kika Knaup Zonic Kwong / Jose Dojaquez Zonic Kwong / Jose Dojaquez Iris Jin Iris Jin
  16. 16. 30 31 Nicole Bell / Holly Hapka Tony Wloch Tony Wloch Tony Wloch Morgan Truong / Han Huynh Morgan Truong / Han Huynh Annie Abbey Annie Abbey Leo Lee Leo Lee Jordan Rae Epstein / Sheni Moshabesha Jordan Rae Epstein / Sheni Moshabesha Tony Wloch Tony Wloch Morgan Truong / Han Huynh Morgan Truong / Han Huynh Annie Abbey Annie Abbey Leo Lee Leo Lee Jordan Rae Epstein / Sheni Moshabesha Jordan Rae Epstein / Sheni Moshabesha Jordan Rae Epstein / Sheni Moshabesha Jordan Rae Epstein / Sheni Moshabesha
  17. 17. 32 33 Vivian Mazuki / Dale Beevers Vivian Mazuki / Dale Beevers Vivian Mazuki / Dale Beevers Vivian Mazuki / Dale Beevers Taylor Carr Taylor Carr Jaide Folger / Lisa Voong / Zoe Cope Jaide Folger / Lisa Voong / Zoe Cope Esther Shim Esther Shim Esther Shim Esther Shim Vivian Mazuki / Dale Beevers Vivian Mazuki / Dale Beevers Taylor Carr Taylor Carr Jaide Folger / Lisa Voong / Zoe Cope Jaide Folger / Lisa Voong / Zoe Cope Esther Shim Esther Shim Nicole Bell / Holly Hapka Nicole Bell / Holly Hapka Nicole Bell / Holly Hapka Nicole Bell / Holly Hapka
  18. 18. 34 35 Jenny Hien Hoang Jenny Hien Hoang Jenny Hien Hoang Jenny Hien Hoang Seth Olson Seth Olson Seth Olson Seth Olson Yuko Okudaira / Liang Huo Yuko Okudaira / Liang Huo Aile Hua Aile Hua Jenny Hien Hoang Jenny Hien Hoang Seth Olson Seth Olson Yuko Okudaira / Liang Huo Yuko Okudaira / Liang Huo Yuko Okudaira / Liang Huo Yuko Okudaira / Liang Huo Aile Hua Aile Hua Aile Hua Aile Hua
  19. 19. 36 37
  20. 20. 39 38 BEHIND THE SCENES
  21. 21. 40 41
  22. 22. 42 43
  23. 23. 45 44
  24. 24. 47 46 Dr. Elisa Stephens, President of Academy of Art University, in a tribute to Missoni fashion design
  25. 25. Preface: Janet Silk Photography: Randy Brooks, Evan Davies, Joanna Hidalgo, Ed Jay, Jan Jonak, Jakub Kalousek Photo editing and story: Jan Jonak Graphic design: Renata Jonak A Boron Media publication 2014

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