The CFDA Incubator Talents Show Their Stuff
“I think it’s like a football game,” explained womenswear designer Jonathan Simkhai from his brightly lit studio in the CFDA’s Incubator. “They’re sitting on the sides like a cheerleader, rooting you on, but it’s up to you to make the goal and score the point—and they’ll definitely run with you all the way to the finish line.” He’s talking about his experience thus far in the Incubator, the much-lauded CFDA program that each year takes ten young brands and helps them develop their businesses through rent-subsidized studio space and continuous mentoring over the course of two years.
On the last day of New York fashion week, Simkhai and the others showed just how far they’ve run and presented their Spring ’14 collections to buyers, editors, development mentors, and special guest Linda Evangelista yesterday afternoon.
Collections ranged from Simkhai’s own Brighton Beach mod and eighties-silhouette-inspired sexy athletica to Arielle Shapiro’s St. Petersburg-influenced modernized Art Deco lingerie to Number:Lab’s sporty, robotics-themed fashions (i.e., stylish men’s activewear designed to go from the gym to dinner). Many, including some very clean fifties-style and Indonesian looks from Timo Weiland, were inspired by CFDA and W Hotel-sponsored trips to various locales around the world. “I chose to go to Doha in Qatar to see their culture, the desert,” said jewelry designer Emanuela Duca of the original point of reference for her raw, black-and-white sterling silver collection of “primitive, sophisticated” rings, cuffs, and necklaces. “This experience has been really wonderful. There are very few months left—about seven—and I don’t want to even think about it ending!”