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Art Thu May 21 2015

Beauty and Brains: SAIC Fashion 2015 Roundup

Last year's show

This time of year, as we happily stow away our winter gear, many of us are reconsidering our wardrobes and cheerfully putting together ensembles from skin-bearing pieces we forgot we had over the long winter. Gone are the days of black pea coats and endless itchy wool accessories. Now we can wear what we want.

In the spirit of putting a little thought into our outfits, and in celebration of the end of a school year, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago recently staged their annual runway exhibition of fashion student work, The Walk.

Although Chicago isn't known for fashion, SAIC churns out some of the most innovative designers in the world, with an annual runway show that would tickle even the most jaded audiences. In keeping with SAIC's tradition of concept-heavy, avant-garde creations, the collections tend to be more a little more "colorful" than what you'd expect to see at New York Fashion Week, and it makes for a great show. The garments are closer to fine art objects than school uniforms and the models (not always tall and skinny, mind you) are often encouraged to perform as they walk down the runway. This year, models stomped, skipped, screamed, slinked and threw gang signs down the runway, adding an additional dimension to the experience and comprehension of the work.

As for trends, this year text, fur and cartoonish motifs stole the show. Cruella Deville would have eaten it up. Quieter collections got a little lost in the shuffle, with everything moving so quickly, but luckily that's what recaps are for!

Here were some of the strongest looks from the show, both loud and quiet:

EDA YORULMAZOGLU.jpeg

EDA YORULMAZOGLU
Eda Yorulmazoglu's cutesy-grotesque test tube baby alien creatures were just the right amount of wrong. This is obviously not clothing that most of us are going to want to wear. It's probably not even clothing. But the restrained wackiness is a lot of fun and her execution of concept is impressive.

AMY VERRIER.jpeg

AMY VERRIER
1940's Hollywood vixen spywear? Badass fairy tale villainess? You can't see it in the photo but the pelt has a head.

JAMIE LANGE.jpeg

JAMIE LANGE
More fur. Sorry, vegans. Seriously, though, the devil is in the details here. Check out the close-ups of the Swarovski boots and lumberjack fur coat on her site.

YENIFER SIERRA.jpeg

YENIFER SIERRA
Hot hood rats who don't follow rules. Motifs include Mexican tattoos, American football and a whole lot of sex appeal.

JENNIFER RICE.jpeg

JENNIFER RICE
Maybe winter's not so bad. These women look like ancient Scottish queens, with a lush gothic palette and sophisticated texture combinations. One of her previous collections was inspired by equestrians. Make no mistake, these are fancy clothes for fancy ladies. Fancy website, too.

ANNIE AU.jpeg

ANNIE AU
Annie Au transforms her models into ice-queens from Pluto, with stunning sapphire accents. Their gloves and safety glasses tell you they're ready for anything but the black mesh keeps it sexy.

CHRISTINA TOULOUMIS.jpeg

CHRISTINA TOULOUMIS
Touloumis made her own prints from internet-sourced air and water-based glitch art, resulting in futuristic nymphs that appear to have materialized out of a Miami sunset.

FRANCISCO GONZALEZ.jpeg

FRANCISCO GONZALEZ
The bold, form fitting shapes and cuts are just perfect. Gonzalez mixes Mickey Mouse with sportswear -- an unexpected combination -- and it works great. Yet another win for black and white.

JAMES OH.jpg

JAMES OH
Effortlessly cool. Who says menswear can't be drapey?

ZHI CHEN.jpeg

ZHI CHEN
This is the work of a college student? Look at that coat! So expensive looking! So sexy with so little skin. And so tough. All five of the outfits Chen made for this collection involved ladylike knee-length skirts, but make no mistake, these women are ready for battle.

Interest piqued? Click here for the rest.

All photos by Robert Carl.

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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