Art Hearts Fashion Hits Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

by Mac Smith
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Feb 17, 2014

It turns out the fashion industry does have a heart. Right in time for Valentine's Day, AIDS Healthcare Foundation presented the FTL MODA + ART HEARTS FASHION event to promote the connection between fashion and philanthropy and to support the next generation of young designers while promoting AIDS awareness. This runway event was a great reminder that AIDS is still an on-going crisis and how many people in fashion, photography, writing and all creative industries have been - and will continue to be - impacted by this disease.

Launched in 2007, FTL MODA proudly shows internationally the breadth of Italian brands exhibiting the county's fine legacy of craftsmanship and signature 'Dolce Vita' style. In 2012 FTL MODA partnered with Art Hearts Fashion, a leading art fashion platform to create meaningful and artistic fashion events.

Since 2011, Art Hearts Fashion has been held across the U.S. and benefitted charities including AIDS Project Los Angeles, Women's Cancer Research and Hurricane Sandy Relief Kitchen.

Fall 2014 was the premiere entry for FTL MODA into the official Mercedes-Benz NY Fashion Week calendar and the evening capped off the week with a wink towards the European shows ahead.

Dramatic Designs and Couture Crescendos

Showcasing a succession of designers, the show built up a heady energy of anticipation and dramatic design beginning with contemporary lines Kokler and Silkskin, to fluid and elegant evening wear from Gianni Tolentino, followed by Giada Curti and Jamal Taslaq’s "prĂȘt-a-couture."

The evening culminated in a couture-like crescendo by Nino Lettieri. Modern accessories from the likes of I Mondelliani, Silvia Massacesi and Maria Greca complimented each of the designer’s visions. I was particularly taken with the leather and lizard clutches that featured finger slots that both looked fashion forward as well as convenient to use in real life.

Kokler’s collection offered sleek, supple leather juxtaposed against delicate silk chiffon paneling, high-waist pants with dangling bondage straps and rounded, strong shoulders... this may be a contemporary clothing line, but there is nothing casual about it - these clothes are meant for a strong, sexy and confident woman.

Silkskin lived up to its name in silky pieces that looked like they floated on the models and were surely smooth to the touch. The addition of leather driving gloves, motorcycle jackets, waxed canvas trench coats and the bold use of cobalt added a slightly masculine, unexpected edge to pieces that could have fallen very quickly into "girly."

Marching to his own beat, Jamal Taslaq crafted a symphony of silk column dresses and gowns inspired by music. As the music blared, a parade of designs came down the runway that offered a mixed bag. Some were quite striking like corsets with leather stovepipe pants. But others kept to the theme too literal with the treble clef one shoulder gown feeling a bit out of tune.

Giadi Curti was a welcome splash of color after all these shades of black and white. Hers was a Sicilian seaside getaway that was extra inviting considering the winter onslaught that had continued earlier that morning. Here were bright and sunny coral caftans, turquoise lace bandeau tops and lemon yellow hi-low hem gowns. Everything here was cohesive and told a story. And it was one in which you wanted to live.

TV Flashbacks and Control Sector

By the time the menswear came out, the audience was feeling a bit of fashion fatigue. This was a long show. Luckily, between the Kanye West Black Skinhead sonic explosion and the modern and urban menswear flooding the stage, I jolted awake.

As if that weren’t enough, Mixed Movement also gave me the start of the night: Is that Steve Sanders from "Beverly Hills 90210"? Yes, this wasn’t a delusion. Ian Ziering was walking the runway and got quite a rouse of applause from even the fashionistas in the front row.

Control Sector, the brand that followed, was a progressive portfolio and it caught everyone’s attention with obi belted, three-quarter sleeve asymmetrical hooded tops over layered lengths on bottom. Beaded squares repeated all over exaggerated length T-shirts creating an artistic "print" and leather T-shirts were layered over long duster coats. Control Sector displayed a clear vision and was my personal favorite collection of the whole evening.

Beyond discovering these great designers during your next shopping spree, be sure to check out AIDS Healthcare Foundation, where you can make a difference in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Mac Smith Mac Smith is a New York City based fashion writer who has never met a cat, coat or cake he didn't love. Follow him on Instagram at @macsmith1218 and Twitter at @itcantallbedior.


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