Virtual NYFW, 5 Designers’ Shows Worth Watching

Fashion Week is looking quite different (still) just as back in September of 2020 but doesn’t stop fashion because the show must go on.  Since we can’t view runways in person, I got the opportunity to views these five designers’ for virtual NYFW on CDFA‘s official platform Runway360 site debuting their FW21’/SS21 collections. Continue to scroll to see the collections, backstory on designers, behind their brands and videos to view the full NYFW runways. Enjoy!

NEGRIS LEBRUM

“February 15th, 2021 (New York City) — Travis Hamilton, the Houston based Creative Director of the runway fashion collection Negris LeBrum, took to the virtual runway once again for his Fall Winter 2021 collection show.  This time, he did so as a designer featured on the official NYFW schedule & as part of the CFDA’s newly minted “American Collections Calendar.”

The collection, entitled “Homecoming” was inspired by the fashionable story Travis & the Negris LeBrum collection has been telling over the last two decades. He saw this occasion to show once again anywhere he wanted as an opportunity to show in his own back yard, of Houston, Texas.  Staged in the ‘Gus S. & Lindall F. Wortham Park’, just off the grounds of the Houston Medical Center, Travis moved in on a recent Saturday AM & staged an impromptu runway show in less than 90 minutes, much to the surprise of several bystanders who inadvertently scored “front row” seats to a NYFW runway show in the streets of Houston.

“I wanted to bring a piece of NY Fashion Week to the South this season, as I may not get the opportunity to show outside of NYC again for some time. I really feel these times are right for my brand in so many ways. I have always worked in what I refer to as a ‘conservative sexy’ aesthetic, allowing the woman who wears my collection to define the final feeling of the ensemble,” says Travis Hamilton, Creative Director Negris LeBrum.  “The heart & soul of the Negris LeBrum brand is & will always be Louisiana, but my studio & current home are in Houston, so bringing the two together for Fall Winter 2021 is like a fashionable homecoming for me.”

Grounded in Black & White for the last several seasons, the color palette for Fall Winter 2021 continues to build upon this foundation with other colors like Deep Maroon, Old Gold & Burnished Silver being seen in the tweeds & supporting separates.  Surface details on the textiles can be seen in the knits where several cutting-edge treatments lend dimensional details to the pieces that may not be immediately visible, but when discovered & experienced give the Negris LeBrum collection a sense of story & depth.

The Negris LeBrum woman is one of any age, size, race & social class. Inclusivity is part of the brand DNA & Fall Winter 2021 is no different. The Negris LeBrum story is an American story born out of societal pressures & matters of the heart.  In the final frames of the collection video, the Black National Anthem can be heard playing while a quote from Eoutee Waux, “We will all die someday, so die loving someone” appears. What a beautiful, fashionable way to look at the world & live one’s life.”

View the full collection here


FLLUMAÉ

“New York, NY (February 16th, 2021) – The modest womenswear brand, Fllumaé, released an empowering virtual show at NYFW: The Shows with their FW21 collection titled,”Fioro.” The video was shot in the designers’ hometown of Louisville and celebrates diversity and empowerment brilliantly evoking the emotion of pride in the beauty and power within all women. The collection features a mix of Luxury Prêt-à-Couture and ready-to-wear womenswear pieces that are inspired by the strong women of the 70s. The modest line was developed to offer truly inclusive pieces for both modest and non-modest consumers.

Vibrant velvet power suits, maxi dresses, capes, and staple separates included intricate beading and custom handmade flower details. Fllumaé took traditional feminine silhouettes and added a masculine touch to them  in jacquard silks, crepe Silks and buttery faux leathers. Pieces featured bold powerful colors like, gold, emerald, purple, pinks, blues creating a beautiful fusion when it all comes together. 

As Muslim women and immigrants from war-torn Somalia, Alliiyah, Fahima, Mona, and Luul Saidi found modest fashion offerings were difficult to find here in America. The sisters joined forces to create Fllumaé, a truly inclusive modest Luxury Prêt-à-Couture and ready-to-wear brand based right here in the USA. When asked about why they created Fllumae, the sisters quipped, “Fashion has no faith color or shape, we want to make all women feel their very best through our designs no matter what their story is.” Based in Louisville, Kentucky, the brand has already shown during Arab Fashion Week and has captured the attention of the CFDA with a feature in their newsletter last week. T

Fllumaé is a US-based fashion house.  Founded by four Somali sisters, the Saidi sisters, Alliiyah, Fahima, Mona, and Luul Saidi.  The Saidi sisters are Somali immigrants, who like most immigrants, came to America for refuge, and, hope for a better future. Escaping a war-torn country, and, living in a refugee camp, the Saidi sisters knew that being able to have an opportunity to build your dreams no matter what it took was the only route. Fllumaé began as a dream to provide modest yet fashionable clothing after difficulty finding representation in mainstream fashion. 

The sisters believe the spectrum of fashion is limitless, and started Fllumaé with the vision to bridge the gap between fashion and modesty. To merge the two, Fllumaé developed an inclusive brand for women of all faith, sizes, and color. The brand embraces ethical fashion, stirving to operate a fashion house based on, zero environmental damage, avoiding the use of hazardous chemicals that may harm the environment, free of animal cruelty, intolerant to child labor. Visit the brand at www.fllumae.com and follow them on Instagram @fllumae.

(Photography by Andrea Hutchinson and Hisham Muhidin)

View the full collection here

Videography by Hisham Muhidin (FlickImage)


THALE BLANC

“February 17th, 2021 (New York City) — Deborah Sawaf, the founder & creative director of the runway fashion & accessories collection Thalé Blanc, took to the proverbial “silver screen” to present her Spring Summer 2021 collection with the release of “Dream: A Fashion Film” during virtual NYFW.

Shot in her home town of Los Angeles, Sawaf opened the film with a simple request across the screen “Let Me Dream”… & dream she did! Deborah provides the voice over for the film which featured her Spring Summer 2021 collection (yes, Spring Summer… Thalé Blanc has shown on the couture schedule since its debut, a nod to the designer’s early professional pedigree) being worn on the models as they frolic about their home doing chores, enjoying lunch & doing pool work, all clad in the gloriously luxurious clothing of the season.

The true brilliance of the film lay in the small details that are not immediately recognizable on a quick glance, much like the details found in the garments that have become the hallmark of the Thalé Blanc collection in only its second season since launch. Sawaf’s work has immediate impact for certain, but, like the film, there are layers to their essence.  Layers of inspiration, layers of needle work, & layers of possibilities of how to wear them. The result is a collection so rich in story & inspiration that volumes can be written about each.

The Thalé Blanc collection isn’t for the fashion faint of heart, however.  These are statement pieces, a nod to the designer’s guiding belief that “every woman is a statement by her very being.” Every Thalé Blanc ensemble makes a statement in & of itself & can be worked into an existing wardrobe to add a dash of fashion spice or can be worn as a full look that is sure to turn heads regardless of the room being entered.

Sawaf is keenly aware of her place in the fashion landscape. In the voice over of “Dream”, she states “there is a thin line between eccentric & quirky, kind & indulgent, extravagant & tasteful, or maybe everything is just crazy!”  She goes on to state, “don’t be afraid to dream, even though it might sound silly & naïve… & have some courage to take a leap.”  In this case, the leap would be a fashionable one where you’d find yourself dressed in the fanciful, yet everyday wearable skirts, coats, pants, blouses & dresses.  There’s even a new range of sweatshirts in the collection, a definite nod to the Zoom society in which we currently find ourselves living.

But spending our days at home doesn’t mean boring.  Deborah reminds us, “remember, we only live once, unless of course you’re a cat!”  So, unless you’re a cat, take her advice & check out the Thalê Blanc Spring Summer 2021 collection… & check out her full range of handbags & jewelry as well. Thalé Blanc will have you dreaming fashionably from head to toe.”

View the full collection here


EPPERSON

“February 17th, 2021 (New York City) — EPPERSON, the designer of the namesake collection known by the same moniker as the designer himself, simply “EPPERSON” debuted his Fall Winter 2021 collection “runway” virtual NYFW show on the CFDA’s Runway360 website. 

Shot in a snow covered back yard in the designer’s hometown of New York City, the models strolled out on the pure white crystalline catwalk to the almost haunting words of EPPERSON himself articulating the design journey on which he currently finds himself. “As we continue through the Pandemic, we have the opportunity to look around & feel grateful,” he says. “I’ve used the time to reflect.  I’m looking back in order to go forward & taking the experiences I’ve gained in the past & bringing them to the forefront.” Cue music… go models…

EPPERSON’s aesthetic is one of recycled, artisanally-hew creativity, that reads equal parts homespun & underground-designer-vibe-cool that is normally only found on the runways of the Paris underground or from Tokyo in the late 80s/early 90s.  There’s a nomadic cool to EPPERSON’s aesthetic that is difficult to pinpoint from whence the inspiration was born.  They seem otherworldly, yet fully grounded – home-made, yet intricately designed – complicated, yet naturally at ease. These are clothes that exude story & inspiration with every stitch & every step of the model.

The video takes a truly special turn at the mid-way point when EPPERSON is shown in action explaining his process & inspiration. “My collection is inspired by the sense of reflection & the very real question of protection. The need for a shield of armor. A warrior stance as you press forward,” says the designer.  “The collection blends textures & features tattered patchwork, gathering, lattice & mostly black garments with pops of color – plaid & denim.  It is infused with my signature up-cycled pieces.”

The Fall Winter 2021 EPPERSON collection brings so many of the trends that have been emerging over the last few seasons on the global runways – up-cycling, sustainability, gender fluidity, layering, seasonal neutrality, artisanal processes – & wraps them all into one not to be missed showings that set the standard for creative expression for this genre of design. The Fashion Group International got it right.  The EPPERSON star is indeed on the rise.”

Photography Credit:  Marc Baptiste

View the full collection here


OQLIQ

“New York, NY (February 18,  2021) – The innovative menswear brand, oqLiq, from Taiwan returned with a virtual and completely digitized show at virtual NYFW: The Shows to premier their FW21 collection. The collection ”Natural Blessing,” was a continuation of their Spring/Summer collection released in September. It featured men’s pieces that are also gender neutral focused on a color palette inspired by nature with black, deep moss green, olive, orange and navy hues dominating. 

The video transports guests to another world. The fashion show then commences on what appears to be an infinity sign shaped spaceship that would act as the brand’s metal gravity defying catwalk. The creative team focused on technical design and new-tech materials with utilitarian features such as zippered pockets that are stylish yet functional to face the Pandemic’s “new normal.” The video highlighted the collection utilizing realistic 3D CAD animation allowing viewers to peep into the future.

An outerwear piece with architectural zippered pockets will keep a mask or hand sanitizer easily accessible but can easily transition to function for a passport for your next trip to Mars. oqLiq showcased a wearable collection with versatile pieces that can be worn in a variety of settings and great attention to details like inclusion of their signature curved zippers on trench coats, deep pockets, and hidden buttons. 

Pieces from this “Natural Blessing” collection were designed to sustain various weather scenarios from a cool breeze to a rain shower. Nature inspired hues dominated the collection: olive, navy, khaki, taupe and black, with layered pieces a few shades both darker and lighter and a number of pops of vibrant citrus orange. Fabrics and textiles used throughout the collection will be polartec, nylon, poly and cotton although for our viewing pleasure they are 100% pixel today. 

Though traditionally menswear, oqLiq wanted to expand on their successful debut a couple of seasons ago at NYFW: The Shows with a unisex approach, sticking true to gender neutrality in the fashion industry, today.”

View the full collection here

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