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On Wednesday evening, a host of up-and-coming designers got a significant nod of approval from the fashion establishment when they were named finalists for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. The competition, which awards $400,000 to the winner and $150,000 to two runners-up, can give a huge boost to those who come out on top — just look at where past winners like Public School and Proenza Schouler have gone.
The winners will be announced on November 7th. In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about each of the finalists for the 2016 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, names you will definitely be hearing from again.
Perhaps you remember the crystalline, totally transparent dress Rihanna wore to the CFDA Awards in 2014? That was the work of Adam Selman, a favorite of the singer. Selman’s ready-to-wear collection, launched in 2013, is somewhat more wearable than that, if no less saucy — think skintight long-sleeved shirts reading “Spoiled” across the chest, cherry red cat-eye sunglasses, and girlish little dresses with zippers running all the way up the front.
Founded in 2013 by co-designers Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk, Area is all about the details, particularly when it comes to fabric. While their current predilection for bell sleeves, kicky ruffles, and advanced shirting is consistent with the rest of the fashion pack, it’s Fogg and Panszczyk’s obsessive use of texture, from shiny embossed lamè to Swarovski crystal striping, that really stands out.
The main weakness we can see here is how Google-unfriendly the term “Area” is.
You aren’t apt to find much above the knee in Laura Vassar and Kristopher Brock’s Brock Collection. A cool-headed romanticism pervades the line: Take a high-necked deep red sweater paired with a shin-grazing gray floral skirt and a sidelong fur stole for fall 2016, or a pale lavender and gold brocade dress with a simple spaghetti strap neckline and an expanse of metallic beadwork at the hem.
If Brock Collection is ladylike, it’s for a wholly modern lady, one who wears an embroidered silk jacket with slim denim.
Based in Las Vegas, footwear designer Chloe Gosselin is not doubt a winner with her hometown crowd. Gosselin’s eponymous line, launched in 2014, largely steers clear of overt bling, but glamour comes through loud and clear.
Originally from South Korea, the New York-based designer Ji Oh founded her namesake line in 2014. For cool girls who love a loose, architectural cut, it’s a dream.
For fall 2016, one sweater with comically long sleeves fell off the shoulder and extended, lopsided, to the floor. In spring 2016, she layered extra-wide blue striped pants under a narrow sheath dress in a black striped fabric.
Krewe du Optic
Stirling Barrett was born and raised in New Orleans, and when he founded Krewe du Optic in 2013, that’s exactly where it stayed. The eyewear brand captures the city’s vibrancy in the coolest way possible.
There are mirrored lenses in bright blue, deep blue, gold, khaki green; multicolored frames, white frames; classic cat-eyes, circular styles bordering on steampunk. Did we mention that Beyoncé’s worn them? Because Beyoncé has worn them.
Adding to the diversity of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund this year is the lingerie line Morgan Lane. Launched in 2014 by Morgan Curtis — the daughter of designer Jill Stuart — the brand is an approachable mix of sweet and sexy at a not-so-approachable price point (we’re talking at least $120 for a bra).
Another footwear line, Newbark is more about low-key, ’70s-inspired loafers and super-slim slides than going-out heels — though if you are heading out for a night on the town, a pair of hefty platform wedges in a restrained floral print might do the trick. It’s one of the older brands on this year’s slate, founded in 2009 by sisters Maryam and Marjan Malakpour.
Newbark isn’t quite as hold, however, as Rochambeau, the menswear line started by college friends Laurence Chandler and Joshua Cooper in 2011. The two have said in interviews that Rochambeau was initially a reaction against the “faux-heritage” trend happening at the time; as it turned out, their forward-leaning take on streetwear is perfectly primed to win in 2016.
Speaking of streetwear, the final brand here is Stampd. Launched in 2011 by Chris Stamp, the label got its start selling limited-edition snapback hats and gradually expanded into t-shirts — then further into men’s clothing and eventually into women’s, with a Puma collaboration along the way.
Across the board, monochrome is the word. You might find an occasional olive green chino or nude sneaker, but otherwise it’s black, white, and wearably cool.