Chances are the next really big designer won’t come from Project Runway (how many winners can you actually name, let alone buy their clothes?) or Next Fashion Star.  He or she will probably come from Academy of Art University, or a similar school of design from somewhere around the country, or the world.  So, it’s no wonder Academy of Art chooses several of its best seniors to show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Ian Mackintosh, the Grand Master of A of A, has a true eye for talent, and has sent some sensational and very creative designers to the big show.

For Spring/Summer 2013, the show started with a sponsored group, The French Textile Collection.  Think lace and lots of it: lace with florals, lace with abstracts, lace with jersey, all of it feminine and intricate.

Next up, this season’s crop of top seniors, starting with Iglika Vasileva Matthews, whose structured looks were inspired by the architect, Zaha Hadid.

South Korean-born Jisun Lee re-interpreted menswear and gave it a feminine twist. Yanfei Fan brought the beauty and elegance of stained-glass windows into her designs, but used lots of blacks and whites.

World-famous artist and sculptor Anish Kapoor was the inspiration for Jie Jessie Liu’s collection.  She took his streamlined, geometric sculptures and turned them into designs with very defined lines and angles.

Rounding out the potential stars of tomorrow, were the beautiful colors of Ginie C. Y. Huang, the Asian-inspired Stephina Touch and Jarida Karnjanasirirat who showed multi-dimensional pieces with exaggerated collars, lapels and pleats.

While it’s true that some of the styles that come down this runway are a little out there, remember these are students and this may be their last chance to show off their avant-garde side, before they have to get down to the business of serious, commercial clothes. But it also gives insight into why this show is, season after season, one of the hottest invites at Fashion Week.

Photography: Anton Brookes

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