Runway Review: Academy of Art Graduation Fashion Show 2011

Runway Review: Academy of Art Graduation Fashion Show 2011
Academy of Art graduation looks by Inez Marie Galvez and Rachele Barretto, Cynthia Tran and Kassie Moody, Maggie Mo Luo and Drew Williams (Photos by Randy Brooke)

Runway Review: Academy of Art Graduation Fashion Show 2011 Yigal Azrouël
When we think of top fashion schools, we often automatically go to those in the world's fashion capitals: Parsons and FIT in New York; London's Central St. Martins. But watch out world, because San Francisco's Academy of Art University is making its way into the fashion elite.

Aside from presenting at the tents during New York Fashion Week—a huge deal for any fashion program—the design department preps a grand event in a big white tent set up next to their Brannan Street campus. We didn't know what to expect when we arrived, but we were immediately impressed with the scale of the event.

Runway Review: Academy of Art Graduation Fashion Show 2011There was wine, hors d'oeuvres and plenty of industry hotshots, including designer Yigal Azrouël, New York Times critic Cathy Horyn and surprise guest, IHT editor Suzy Menkes. Azrouël was there to hand-pick his next season's interns. Graduates from the fashion, jewelry and textile programs were set up at tables for guests to peruse their work.

After ooh-ing and aah-ing at the breadth of creativity, we made our way to our front row seats next to the huge runway. The stadium seats were packed with industry professionals and cheering friends and family, for an overall festive atmosphere.

Twenty-two designers participated in the show for a total of 16 collections. For some, the designers teamed up with students from other majors to display an array of creativity. Each designer displayed six to seven looks, ranging from contemporary sportswear to complex knitwear.

Runway Review: Academy of Art Graduation Fashion Show 2011All the pieces sent down the runway were well-made and unique. But there were definitely some standouts. Peter Nguyen's menswear-inspired garments featured sleek silhouettes and expert tailoring; Maggie Mo Luo captured Nathalie Rykiel's heart and a killer internship with her dark moody knits and Drew Williams impressed with his unique knit-and-silicon garments. To close the show, Cynthia Tran and Kassie Moody charmed with their sculptural yet playful Madeline-themed gowns.

All in all, it was an exciting event which helped breath life into our little San Francisco fashion bubble. The level of talent was impressive and we can't wait for next year's show!

Check out our exclusive video coverage of the show here:

Also, check out our exclusive interview with Yigal Azrouël here:
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