The Stars of Tomorrow

Parsons students dazzle in final-year show

Catwalk shows are often the glittering finale to years of hard work put into a degree in fashion design. As such, they can prove to be an important launch pad for a student’s career. Nowhere is this more evident than at the Parsons BFA (Bachelor of Fine Art) end-of-year show, where only la crème de la crème get the chance to show their work.

Swarovski has form when it comes to identifying that particular sparkle that makes a design student stand out from the crowd. As part of their ongoing sponsorship of the Parsons BFA program, final-year students were encouraged to download the Swarovski Crystal Collection App and familiarize themselves with the crystal maison’s vast and glittering assortment, with a view to possibly including them in their collections. Ultimately, twelve presented their final-year projects for presentation, from which five were selected for sponsorship. They were invited to order any crystals they liked to use as embellishment for their collections. 

The Class of 2015 made sure that Swarovski crystals were used in a host of diverse and exciting ways, gaining them attention from the world beyond Parsons. Michael K’ Yan Yip produced a daring menswear collection featuring layers of chiffon and wool sprinkled with crystals, which gave texture and luminosity to his garments, creating a modern samurai silhouette. His bold ideas saw him win the prestigious ‘Parsons Portfolio of the Year’ and secure a feature on top fashion site, Style.com. 

Michael’s structured minimalism was a contrast to fellow student Eric Turro’s ‘Solete’ collection (meaning ‘little sun’ in his native Spanish). Its richly textured fabrics and embroideries, accented with twinkling crystals, recalled nautical symbols inspired by boyhood memories of sailing. The result was a modern maritime look that gave a sense of the ocean to his fabulous mix of sculptural and fluid shapes, perfectly suited to the adventurous woman. 

Jessica Shim’s collection, ‘Delicate Refuge’, deployed gauzy fabrics to create beautiful shapes in muted monochromes that cocooned the body. Layers of chiffon over crystals and beads, each carefully placed with consummate attention to detail, hinted at shimmering secrets, conveying an air of mystery. Her sterling efforts gave her collection pride of place on the Parsons Instagram account. 

The black-and-white drama of Robert Giordano’s ‘The story of Juana’ collection was strikingly different. Playing with volume, he juxtaposed floating layers with structured sleekness to create powerful silhouettes. Crystals nestled between pleats in sculptural garments and peeped out from the hems of diaphanous clothes, suggesting hidden depths.

Katrya Kyla Centeno showed clothes in a variety of contrasting textures: sleek satins, delicate pin tucks and pleats, and feather effects in a predominantly soft palette of pastel gray, pink and cream overlapped each other. Embellishment was applied with a light touch, looking as though butterflies had fluttered down, settling ont the collection. 

The range of vision shown by the talented five was an amazing demonstration of the magic Swarovski crystals can bring to a collection. With three of the students—Michael K’ Yan Yip, Robert Giordano and Katrya Kyla Centeno—selected by Saks Fifth Avenue in New York to each have one look featured in the iconic store’s window, it’s a sparkling tribute to the creativity that the Swarovski-Parsons partnership inspires in the stars of tomorrow.