Nolcha Fashion Week – September 2014

Israeli-born Rinat Brodach has always had a passion for fashion. After serving in the Israeli Air Force and gaining a stronger sense of herself and direction, she moved to San Francisco to pursue fashion design at the Academy of Art University. Her senior thesis was honored with a scholarship to study in Paris for a year. Rinat did just that and stayed another year, working for a top fashion house. In 2012, she moved to New York City, where she launched her namesake brand and commits to her extensive expertise in finishing and draping. Her Spring/Summer 2015 collection is called, “How to Expose the Heart,” which is inspired by the plight of exposing and protecting the heart. I’m sure you have heard that saying, ‘I wear my heart on my sleeve.’ Rinat goes on to explain, “Taken from everyday life where the heart is exposed, passionate, happy, sad, scared and vulnerable. Using boning to enhance the heart areas for protecting as a metaphor for the rib cage that creates a natural shield for the heart. The draping around the areas of the heart come to show us different situations and feelings after exposing the heart or protecting the heart. Sometimes art doesn’t make sense, because it comes from the heart.” Her minimal yet sculpted intricate silver accessories were designed by Orly Ruaimi. The woman who wears Rinat Brodach is strong, powerful and ready to take on the world.

At just 22, Puerto Rican designer Sofia Arana is the youngest Latin designer to showcase at Nolcha Fashion Week. She is known for the concept of ‘less is more’ when it comes to designing a collection. She starts out with a classic silhouette and plays with cutting-edge lines and flares that result in exclusive contemporary styles. Her “Gallery Girl” collection was inspired by a walk through an imaginary garden of muted-hued flowers that also have pops of color. For this being Sofia’s first time successfully showing at Nolcha , she sure had me at her garden prints, lace and flowy pieces.

Schuyler4 Collective Ltd., was launched in 1977 by Jack Makoujyis and is an exclusive U.S. Distributer of better European men’s sportswear collections. The brands are: Alberto pants, Carl Gross sport jackets, Codice knitwear and Haupt shirts. The Spring/Summer collection was easily wearable, fun and proof that men can wear prints, while maintaining a masculine edge. Oh and the vibrant floral print pants during the finale…I’m crushing HARD on them.

New York City based Mariana Valentina‘s Spring/Summer collection was titled, “Le Jardin Persian,” in which she was inspired by two films. One film shows a mystical garden where women were turning into vines and they were living in a forest; whereas the other film depicts the Persian War and is based on Persian and warrior princesses. Mariana blends the two together to create a stunning collection of whimsical evening wear with embellishment and risqué yet incredibly sexy silhouettes.

San Francisco and Paris based designer Mimi Tran may be new to the design world, but is a pro when it comes to creating handmade gowns with classic silhouettes and brilliant embellishments. This season, she created two collections, inspired by classic ‘Old Hollywood glamour’ and European style. Her ‘Old Hollywood’ collection included her signature fabrics, while the ‘European’ segment featured couture designs. Both collections were elegant and sophisticated. It seemed that each sequined panel on the fabric was perfectly sculpted to the body, creating this statuesque vision that flowed down the runway.

One of my favorite contemporary luxury brands of NFW was Charles & Ron. The self-taught duo are based in Malta and have been designing since the 90s. Since their launch, they are known as one of the leading fashion houses in the country, with their bi-annual fashion show being one of Malta’s most talked about events. Their designs are distinctively known for their Mediterranean flair. The Spring/Summer 2015 collection was titled “Humilissima Civitas” and is inspired by Malta’s capital city of Valletta and some of its historic landmarks, for example: the Triton Fountain and the designs by Renzo Piano in the newly restructured city gate. I loved the geometric print and pastel color palette that make up the blue print of easy to wear, airy silhouettes. The grided cut-out top and dress and the voluminous maxi skirt at the finale were my absolute faves!

Gregory Apparel designer Rachel Gregory embodies her continued muses for her inspiration of Spring/Summer 2015, which are the empowered women of New York City. The collection consisted of soft, wearable and feminine silhouettes in easy colors. I thought the playful halter romper with cascading ruffle detail was just the bees knees! Gregory Apparel is easy to travel with for the gal-on-the-go and relatively versatile to transition from day to night.

Sportswear brand Oiselle (wa- zell) was created by Sally Bergesen (an avid runner herself) who was tired of going to the store and finding athletic wear not fitting right. Oiselle is derived from the French word for “bird.” They presented their Spring 2015 collection on athletes and runners, instead of the usually ‘straight skinny model-type.’ The line focused on architectural lines, vibrant tones and subtle yet edgy details, all with keeping their mission of “making the runner women happy.” I thought the collection was wearable, fun and unlike the mainstream athletic clothing I’ve seen. Great work Oiselle!

Monstruosite‘s millinery collection blew me out of the water, in the best way possible (it helps that I love creating headpieces myself, so I can relate). The Florida-based brand was founded by Dolly Donshey in 2010. The Spring/Summer 2015 was titled “The Rise of Ostara” and is a celebration of Spring. The vibe explores the concept of the Spring Equinox derived from Pagean culture. Dolly breaks away from traditional millinery materials and uses more exotic materials, such as 18k gold plated paint on twine, peasant feathers, beading, flowers and other natural fibers. Every piece was statement-worthy and provided a fresh transition from a focus on just apparel.

B’VENAJ Designs was launched in 2010 by Vanessa, who created the brand’s name using the initials of her siblings: Brandi, Vanessa, Eleasha, Nathalie, Abigail and John. Vanessa’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection was named, “DIPO.” Dipo is a traditional Ghanaian festival to user in puberty. Traditional African prints and rich colors were used in the collection of dresses, separates and menswear.

New York based Jennifer Burgos presented her Spring/Summer 2015 collection with her tropical roots and the elegance of women in mind. Burgos enjoys playing with colors and different fabrics, along with keeping to her signature form-fitting and A-line silhouettes (basically anything that accentuates the body). I loved the green skirt with draping on the hips and the eye-catching green glossy long-sleeve jumpsuit.

“Project SUBWAY” was the finale of Nolcha Fashion Week runway shows (for me anyway). The second annual competition challenged emerging designers to create a one-of-a-kind look based on vegetables at SUBWAY. It was interesting seeing what the designers came up with, which included classic and avant-garde looks based on onions, tomatoes, carrots, pickles, etc. The competition was then judged by a panel of celebrities, including: Bella Thorne, Johnny Wujek, Nastia Liukin and Russell Westbrook. In the end, the onion-inspired look by Veritee Hill took home the winning prize.

For more information on Nolcha Fashion Week, please click on the link.

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