Style 101: The Academy of Art University’s Grad Show

For those who have ever thought of attending, or, have attended, fashion school, this post goes out to you. Last night, at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, the top 16 graduate portfolios (out of a class of 82) made their debut on a destination that many designers only dream of – the runway. Those in attendance included the likes of fashion critic Cathy Horyn, designer Yigal Azrouël, Sonia Rykiel President and Artistic Director Nathalie Rykiel, and, of course, the graduates’ friends and family members.

We snapped photos from our front-row seats to capture some of favorite moments from the show…

Design duo Lauren Haut and Darrin George took classic, 1950’s tailoring on an electric ride with their elegant-yet-exaggerated silhouettes and loud colors. The concept behind the line was that of “a world of mid-century women who have experienced a loss of their innocence,” explained Haut on the AAU blog.

For polka dot lovers, we’re sure Donna Dong Zhong‘s draped, dotted collection hit the spot. Zhong fashioned her pieces with tulle, silk, leather, stripe cotton silk rayon, brocades, and wool gabardine. Her inspiration? The zoot suit!

Inspired by Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s “the noble savage” and Henri Rousseau’s jungle paintings, graduate Margaret Yoha released a wild line of separates created from liquid latex-coated prints, silk noil, and burlap. “Rousseau’s State of Nature had been a back burner idea; it lacked the literal visual inspiration I needed to move forward.  Henri Rousseau’s vibrant imaginary jungle scenes completed the concept,” said Yoha in a pre-show interview.

Brittany Burgraff and Wendy Tam‘s voluminous, endlessly tiered looks were hard to miss on the runway, with dresses so poofy that they almost grazed us in the front row. The line was inspired by dark children’s stories, the artwork of Yellena James, and vintage lingerie.

Bay Area native Drew Williams stitched together a playful, candy-colored collection of mini dresses and tops made from silicon, bamboo, plastic, Egyptian cotton, and rayon. As a former molecular biology student, Williams was attracted to silicone because it shared the same consistency as agarose gel, which is used electrophoresis to run DNA samples.

Time for the graduates to strut their stuff! Above, award recipient Maggie Mo Luo smiles as she takes the ending walk with her fellow AAU students.

Congratulations to the graduating class! All together now: “AAU-yeah!”

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  1. katie petix 05/06/2011 at 9:37 am #

    hip hip hooray for midcentury silhouettes in NEON! it’s like a dream come true…

  2. Linzy 05/06/2011 at 4:19 pm #

    I love AAU! I can’t wait until I start this year 😀

  3. Annie (ModCloth) 05/06/2011 at 5:04 pm #

    Donna Dong Zhong‘s stuff is beyond cool. I also really loved reading about Drew Williams’ affinity for silicone. Designers to keep an eye on, for sure! Great post, ladies:)

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