Conscious that many up-and-coming talents would not have the means to show their collections after fashion week was canceled, Vogue and Style.com invited 11 emerging designers to present their work in a collective setting. Carolina Herrera graciously offered her midtown showroom, and top models and stylists waived their fees. With each designer showing only a handful of looks, the result was a rich, whistle-stop tour through an impressive range of alternative visions.
Benjamin Cho describes his work as "creative, without being esoteric." He made good on his words with exquisitely crafted white ribbon tops and a superb long column dress with a ribbon-laced circular cutout in the back.
Elisa Jimenez is known for her draped, individually customized frocks, which are often sewn directly on the body. Jimenez ran with a fairy-inspired theme that included lattice sleeves and floral attachments.
Pierrot's knits were first seen on Miguel Adrover's runway during the Spring 1999 season. His second solo collection exuded Old World, sensuous sophisticationwitness his subtly shimmering black cocktail dress, crocheted shawls (one sprinkled with gold paillettes) and lavender pointelle top.
Behnaz Sarafpour continued her exploration of black and white elegance. Her brief white guipure dress was stunning in its simplicity; a black skirt with a white embroidered apron overlay summed up her confident, powerful aesthetic.
Tony Smith is now in his second season, translating references from the past into sensible, contemporary clothes. Smith's modern-day gypsy cast a spell in a cotton voile blouse and a navy wool skirt with a gilt lace insert.
Michael Soheil was inspired by 1940s Casablanca, but there was nothing old-fashioned about his off-the-shoulder, asymmetric silk jersey dress with a high slit. Scarf inserts, peek-a-boo red square appliqués and slit sleeves were all part of his repertoire.
Peter Som combines architectural and cultural influences to create youthful, snappy designs. Where else could you find a leather-piped, beaded eyelet tennis dress?
Rebecca Taylor's girly, kittenish clothes are edgy without being intimidating. The New Zealander's eclectic ethnic mix included floral-print dresses trimmed with coins and feathers, lace fairy slips and crocheted camisoles.
Tuleh, the design team of Bryan Bradley and Josh Patner, excelled with their chic, perfectly proportioned take on ladylike dressing. A black-and-white printed coat was cut close to the body and outfitted with large, clear buttons; a snappy suit consisted of exquisitely mismatched tweeds.
Christine Ganeaux has amassed a loyal following of hip downtowners who live for her low-cut, razored trousers. There were plenty of those, flared at the boot, as well as a sexy black wool dress with a side zipper and a '60s-inspired orange leather coat-dress.
Zero is Maria Cornejo's line of unpretentious, wearable clothes that retain a distinctly avant-garde edge. Her cotton bodice dress, poncho T-shirt and hexagon wrap skirt combined urban practicality with Japanese-influenced minimalism.
"An American View" would not have been possible without the contributions of several individuals and companies who donated their time, services and products. Vogue and STYLE.com wish to thank the following for their generosity and support.
Showroom: Carolina Herrera
Modeling agencies: Boss, DNA, Elite, Ford, IMG, Marilyn, Next, T Management, Women (see individual pictures for model credits)
Hair: Danilo for The Wall Group
Makeup: Tina Turnbow for The Wall Group, using Stila and MAC cosmetics
Production: Deborah Hughes, Inc. and Fly Productions