Peter Copping carries Oscar de la Renta’s legacy at NYFW

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It is hard to believe that Oscar de la Renta passed away nearly a year ago. While there was variety in each collection he made, his feminine and elegant aesthetic never wavered. His gowns were easily distinguishable against the others on red carpets and probably the prettiest at the venue. When photographed, his dresses turned moments into iconic memories.

The Savanna College of Arts and Design honored his legacy with an Oscar de la Renta exhibit curated by André Leon Talley in its museum. From this, Talley created a book named after the presentation, “Oscar de la Renta: His Legendary World of Style,” with pictures of pieces from the display, accompanied by the photos of moments when the dresses  were worn. The forward, written by Anna Wintour, expressed how profound a mark he left on the fashion industry and the women whom he dressed.

The images from the exhibit were breathtaking, but to me, De la Renta’s spring 2015 ready-to-wear collection was not only one of his last but one of his best. The impression it left on me cemented my dreams to work in fashion even more. From the charming pastels to the meticulously placed botanical appliques, it  resembled  something straight out of a fairy tale. After he passed away last October, I was not only sad but almost certain that no one else would be able to match the ornate works of art that he had created for decades.

However, seeing Peter Copping’s spring 2016 collection for the Oscar de la Renta brand at New York Fashion Week in September, I felt reassured on the preservation of De la Renta’s vision. In an interview with VogueRunway.com, Copping said that he was inspired by Spain for the collection. This gave life to undulating hemlines, delicate textiles and ornate prints that seduced your attention. He incorporated a high black lace neckline with tea dresses and crafted grand ballgowns galore.

While no one will ever be able to replace De la Renta, Copping has shown that he will continue to grow the brand with keen attention to details and a proclivity toward femininity at its best. Even if you are more of an Alexander Wang guru, it would be impossible to deny how flattering the pieces were and how much care was given to each stitch and selection of fabrics.

If you haven’t seen the show, you need to watch the live stream ; and it may feel like you are falling in love with the brand all over again.

Gunnar Deatherage’s dreams come to life on the runway

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“I feel like if you want to make a basic, simple black dress, why do it? Why not make something that people are going to be really excited to wear- something that you’re going to be noticed for wearing,” said designer, Gunnar Deatherage before the University of Florida Pride Awareness Month Fashion Show.

In a sectioned-off corridor adjacent the Reitz Union grand ballroom, his collection’s vintage aesthetic stood out. Deep shades of purple and subtle hues of green hung closely together amidst a delicate mix of off-white blouses and black lace on a sliver clothing rack.

“I was very inspired by Lemony Snicket for this line, and I think it shows in everything that I made,” Deatherage said.

Precise tailoring rang through in the upturned ends of leather collars and the ruffled cuffs of soft blouses.

At the young age of 25, the self-taught designer has already had a collection walk the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.  The season nine Project Runway stage gave him a venue to showcase his creations. After returning for season 11 and “Project Runway Allstars,” Deatherage’s momentum has only continued to grow.

While Project Runway gave Deatherage’s work publicity, his persistence and commitment to details are what have driven him most to become successful in the fashion industry.

“You know, it wasn’t like money was rolling in, just to be me- no,” Deatherage said.

After leaving “PR Allstars,” Deatherage remained steadfast in his work ethic as he pushed himself to create new pieces that kept his followers interested in his brand.

From dealing with the complexities of maneuvering the sewing machine, to committing to a dream many are afraid to pursue, Deatherage has stuck to the mantra that any goal can be accomplished if you want it badly enough.

“That has always been my thought process,” Deatherage said. “And I wanted it, and I found a way to get it.”

After graduating high school, Deatherage attended community college for a few years, after which he became a hairstylist and devoted the rest of his time to fashion design.

“It was horrifying to not go to college,” Deatherage said. “But, I just knew that this is what I wanted to do, and I have managed to, very thankfully, find a way to make a living doing it in the realm I want.”

In the meantime, Deatherage is also working on his Fall 2015 collection, which literally began as a dream.

“I had this dream about a bird woman,” Deatherage said. “She was feeding birds in the park, eating a baguette and just picking off pieces and feeding them to the birds.”

The collection has a quirky, whimsical look, he said.

“It is not the same woman, [as this line], but it could be her friend that she gets into the same club with.” Deatherage said. “She had this great white bob. She reminded me of Linda Fargo, who runs Bergdorf Goodman.”

Aside from the avant-garde nuances and glamour that comes with fashion, it is an industry that can unify people for an important cause. While Deatherage graciously brought his art to Gainesville, (where a fashion drought has been plaguing its citizens since its existence), he said he appreciated the ability that the show gave him and other designers to bring light to pride awareness.

“I think that fashion is such a fun platform to bring together a lot of people that want to bring awareness to it and also stand together,” Deatherage said. “Whether it is their cup of tea or not, they are still standing to know that equality is fair.”

Deatherage has also helped members of his community in Kentucky,  as fashion editor of a Louisville-based magazine, NFocus. The magazine hosts fundraising events for nonprofits such as Horses and Hope.

In addition to helping helping local philanthropies, Deatherage said he appreciates the artistic responsibilities that come with working at the magazine. His creativity flourishes beyond the sewing machine to the production of photo shoots, fashion spreads and features.

Whether Deatherage works in fashion design, print media, or the film industry one day “to design for the movies that inspire people,” his history has shown that no dream is impossible.

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Prepping it with Ralph

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If you were to step into my closet, you would probably think that I had an addiction to navy blue and white, which is certainly no understatement. Whenever I set foot in my favorite boutique or retail scene, I can almost guarantee that I will go straight to the first navy blue or navy blue/white combo that I see. To me, these colors are timeless and almost always look polished.

When I think of these colors, the first thing that comes to my mind is the American dream. In fact, one of my favorite designers, Ralph Lauren, has become a symbol of the American dream. With this being said, I do not think it is a coincidence that most Ralph Lauren Polo advertisements have navy blue and white in them, whether it is in the lettering or the clothing itself. Take this classic ad as an example. In fact, the Ralph Lauren website is, not surprisingly, white with navy blue lettering.

While many of our high-end designers come from European roots, our American-born Ralph Lauren has a crisp, almost nostalgic aesthetic that America just cannot get enough of. While Lauren did not come from a wealthy background, he had a vision for a brand that he was determined to make successful. Although he only attended business school for a few years, the goal that he had in mind and preppy aesthetic of his brand, which started as a line of ties under the brand name, Polo, would cause him to succeed against other odds.

With this taken into account, I think that we should all embrace a bit of the Ralph Lauren brand and the American dream that it represents daily.

Project Runway, Season 13 Finalist, Sandhya Garg, Brings Fashion to Campus

In Gainesville, it is not too common that we get innovative designers coming to participate in a University of Florida fashion show. This is precisely why I was thrilled to interview “Project Runway” season 13 finalist, Sandhya Garg.

At only 29 years old, Sandhya has made her fashion dreams come true. While many young girls would simply play with their Barbie dolls, at 10 years old, Garg’s dolls set the stage for her life calling.

“I had a lot of creative energy, and I would watch movies and stuff, and then just make stuff for my dolls; I made these clothes for my dolls, and then I had boxes full of clothes for my Barbie doll, so I think it just developed from there,” Garg said.

In 2009, Garg started her fashion career at the London College of Fashion, (LCF), as a direct second-year entry to the three-year program that they have. Not long after finishing school, Garg went on to become a contestant-turned finalist on Project Runway, season 13, where she was happy to share her talent with the large “Project Runway” audience.

“You know, it is such a huge platform when you get on the show, and it reaches so many people. Everyone watches it all over the world,” Garg said.

Her unique ability to draw inspiration from other works of art has contributed to her original and enchanting aesthetic. For this particular fashion show, put on by the UF Pride Awareness Month, the theme was, “warriors”. Garg’s show consisted of 10 pieces, which were pulled from various collections.

“There are pieces that are really close to my heart. Some of them are from my LCF collection, the first collection that I ever did there,” The collection was inspired by a Russian ballet company, Garg said.

No matter where Garg’s future endeavors take her, there is no doubt that she will continue to work as a gifted designer.

“You want to do the whole process: You want to get your fabrics, or design your fabrics- be inspired by a story and then make clothes. The pure design process is what a designer does and enjoys, so I have always wanted to do that.”

Learn more about Sandhya Garg and her innovative designs at this link: http://www.sandhyagarg.com/

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