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September 3 2014

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Out Of The Incubator, Into The World

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“Congrats, grads!” one partygoer said last night to a group of inaugural CFDA Incubator designers, including Prabal Gurung, Bibhu Mohapatra, and Waris Ahluwalia (pictured, right), standing in a circle in the penthouse of the Mondrian Soho. “Where are your cap and gowns?”

Stylish as they are, the designers eschewed traditional graduation garb and decided to sport the clothes of their choosing for last night’s party, fêting the end of the designers’ stint in the first-ever round of the CFDA Incubator program. They didn’t, however, skip out on the sentiments surrounding the end of an era. “Can you believe it has been two years?” the CFDA’s Lisa Smilor asked the crowd as she began her commencement speech, with CFDA CEO Steven Kolb (pictured, left) standing next to her. She was answered with a resounding no. “Tonight, everyone is a little teary—it’s emotional. But it’s not the end, it’s just the beginning of the next chapter. Mark my words, we look forward to continuing to watch you, support you, and applaud all of the success we know you are going to have.”

After Smilor’s heartfelt speech, the designers mused over the next chapter. “I’m definitely a little sad,” said Gurung, who just got back from a month of traveling in his native Nepal. “But I’m also feeling very ready to move on.” Mohapatra, for his part, shared similar emotions but admitted, “I moved into my new studio space, and at first it was scary because it was too big. I’m getting used to it now, though,” he said as he glanced toward the wall, which was showcasing the results of his and the rest of the Incubator designers’ photo project with the School of Visual Arts. For the assignment, every designer partnered with one of the school’s Masters in Photography Studies, Fashion Photography, students to create a brand campaign, in consultation with Trey Laird of the renowned creative agency Laird + Partners. Below, Style.com has an exclusive first look at some of the photos.

Photos: Billy Farrell / BFAnyc.com; Andrew De Francesco (Waris); Dario Calmese Jr. (Public School); Mete Ozeren (Bibhu)

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