Metamorphosis: Pt. 1

Picasso, arguably one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, underwent a major artistic renaissance after studying and collecting African tribal masks and art. Perhaps it was the attention to the metaphysical and the sensual that drew him to the abstract. The concept of metamorphosis is fitting. This year at NYU, the African Heritage Month Fashion Show Planning Committee put on Metamorphosis: The Evolution of Fashion. The city’s most successful collegiate fashion show is a true celebration of black heritage. The face of fashion in a burgeoning global society is changing. From the grassroots, students and young designers reinvent beauty as they each visually and aesthetically perceive it. Drawing from a wealth of cultures, each of the designers brings their own unique perspective to the runway.

Our concepts of high fashion are in large part descendant of European modalities of dress and socio-economic standing. But all things change and high fashion’s former legacy of aesthetic hegemony has been re-appropriated by youth across the globe. We are a generation of individuals expressing and appreciating unique modalities. For so long history has regarded the hybrid as misbegotten experimentation. Now we’ve come to embrace and reclaim the word for its beauty and truth.

A P.Y.T. recognized a friend of mine, Richard Murray, from his former runway appearances. Murray, an NYU alum and former Director of Client Relations with the NYU Modeling Club, is a major supporter of the NYU fashion community. He often encourages people to join the modeling club despite their reluctance due to perceptions of inadequacy (i.e. I’m too fat, I’m too short, my hair’s too kinky, I’m too white…)

This year’s runway, in honor of African heritage month, showcased fashions and designs influenced by African, Hispanic and Black American modalities. The resultant show was not only a visual feast, but a taste of perceptual evolution as well. The tremendous efforts of the African Heritage Month committee solidified the show as a success. In an environment where students of color are few and far between, the show stands as a testament to our unity and visionary leadership. As a charity event, the show sponsored groups like KEEP A CHILD ALIVE and the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. The young models and gifted designers of the show are simply expanding on the legacy of the civil rights movement—the open celebration of who we are and where we come from. Each of the garments put out by the designers worked as a functional realization of a rich hybrid history.

Also in attendance at the show were three esteemed guests who came to support the show—Neil Mautone (President of Red Models NYC), Nina Ziefvert (Manager of Exhibitions Programs with the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation) and Cynthia Phillip (Vice President of Internal Audit with Goldman Sachs). Many thanks to them for their support and encouragement.

Photography by Alex Lobascio (NYU ’11)

Models: (from top to bottom) Keenan Witherspoon, D'andra Williams, Sekou Scott, Loucia "Sweet Lou" Hamilton

No comments: