There's something about a group show that brings out a festive spirit. At VFiles tonight—following a feel-good video message about togetherness from top model Carolyn Murphy—four relatively unknown men's and women's designers from around the world each presented a mini-collection to encouraging hoots and hollers from the audience. The receptive crowd included plenty of colorful downtown stars and Tumblr sensations, as well as enough bold-faced mentors—most notably, Calvin Klein's men's creative director Italo Zucchelli, who was all smiles—to keep the fresh-faced young things giddy with excitement well into the wee hours. Or, however late the VFiles x Def Jam DJ Championship, which doubled as the after-party, raged on.
The democratic process of allowing designers anywhere to upload pictures and videos of their work to VFiles naturally favors extremes in shapes, colors, and concepts. The first and most promising of the group, Tigran Avestiyan, exhibited these in spades. The graduate of Central Saint Martins in London, who returned to his native Russia to found his label, based his collection on five actual bottles of name-brand fragrances he bought from duty-free stores in airports and fused them together into one unwieldy bottle that his models carried in clear plastic bags. They also wore tunics and shorts with a mishmash of crinkles and flashes of the words "Duty Free"—just enough to suggest cellophane packaging. The designer's message, that of the corruptive, corrosive nature of globalism, came through loud and clear. "It's good to be outside of fashion, seeing it from a distance," he said with a grin backstage, quickly adding, "Not that I wouldn't love to work in New York!"
Next up was Hye Gin Hamm. Graduating from Parsons earlier this year, she drew inspiration from, she said, "a mix of American and Korean cultures," specifically, American denim and bulky silhouettes evocative of traditional Korean monks. Careful hand-bleaching of each oversized and layered item gave the collection an alluringly timeless, placeless quality. Showings by ZDDZ's Dasha Selyanova, another Russian, and Detto Kazuma of D.TT.K, both of whom produced highly graphic, slightly athletic collections, rounded out the very international showcase.
Given the excellent IRL platform of VFiles, which is only a year old, it'll be interesting to see how these young hopefuls matriculate through the global fashion system. "It was challenging to choose four designers out of the hundreds who entered," said founder Julie Anne Quay, "but we work closely with our community and mentors [to look] for a point of view, salability, quality, and that's something special."
Key Hair: Kien Hoang | Oribe Hair Care. Hair: Louis Orozco | Oribe Hair Care, Dan Nguyen | Oribe Hair Care, Coby Alcantar, Tony Caldwell, Jami Symons, Ashley Brecken, Christian Ceja-Compin | Oribe Hair Care, Mandee Hernandez, Kristen Keller, Nathan Nguyen | Umbrella Salon, Yanin Colmenero | Umbrella Salon, Karla Fenton | Umbrella Salon, Ronnie Stam | Oribe Hair Care. Special Thanks to Talia Thomas of Oribe Hair Care.