Fashion Week: Body power at Chromat, Givenchy takes NYC

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — The Associated Press is all over New York Fashion Week, from the runways to celebrities as eight days of spring previews entered their third day Saturday.

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CELEBRATING STRENGTH AT CHROMAT

Call it a futuristic fantasy.

Architecture, flesh-baring designs and technology ruled the runway at Chromat's show on Friday evening.

"The collection was inspired by how we can use sportswear to power the body and how we can make the body stronger through clothes," said designer Becca McCharen, who is also an architect.

The show certainly had an intense feel as models of all sizes strutted the catwalk in the line's signature pieces which include bikinis, dresses, sportswear and structured cages.

"We want to design clothes that a woman can run 10 blocks in. That's always the goal: To make people feel strong and that they can do anything," McCharen said backstage after the show. "It's always been strong, powerful women in every field and every body size, every gender spectrum."

Chromat certainly has a powerful field has an A-list of celebs who support the label. Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Madonna are all fans.

Black, red, blue and white dominated the collection which also featured pieces that used Intel technology to change the shape of the garment depending on various elements such as the body temperature.

—Alicia Quarles

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GIVENCHY TAKES MANHATTAN

On a dystopian set with One World Trade Center beaming its blue light into the night sky this Sept. 11, Givenchy took Manhattan on a pier Friday before a star-studded crowd, remembering tragedy and celebrating fashion at the same time.

Riccardo Tisci, the French fashion house's creative director, worked with performance artist Marina Abramovic on the Waterworld-esque set of walls made of recycled metal and wooden shards, seating his huge crowd on stacked wooden pallets and benches as models walked in looks of mostly black and white.

There was lace, there were sheers and there were tuxedo jackets for both men and women.

Givenchy chose New York Fashion Week: The Shows rather than Paris this season to mark the opening of its new store in the city, along Madison Avenue where it last lived in the city in 2006.

Fan Kim Kardashian, who showed off her baby bump in sheer black, was in the audience with husband Kanye West. They were joined, among others, by Julia Roberts in a T-shirt adorned with Tisci's face, Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci, Margot Robbie and Nicki Minaj, who was in a body-hugging animal print dress. Also there were athletes Amar'e Stoudemire, Victor Cruz and Russell Westbrook (showing his own fashion line this season), and father-daughter Steven and Liv Tyler.

Among the models were Kim's little sis Kendall Jenner.

Models navigated the winding, open-air runway in treacherous heeled mules, including several steps up and down stacked wood pallets. Two toppled as they navigated this world, described in show notes by Abramovic as an event "about forgiveness, inclusivity, new life, hope, and above all, love."

—Leanne Italie

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UWI TWINS FOCUS ON INSPIRATION

Fashion designers Levi and Reuben Uwi, survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, said they looked to Africa for inspiration for their latest collection, which debuted Friday at New York Fashion Week.

The brothers, 27 and known as The Uwi Twins, unveiled "I Left My Heart In Africa!" at Gotham Hall and said they returned to the continent after 17 years to design their clean and simplistic ready-to-wear 2016 spring-summer collection.

"It was a huge contrast from the last time we were there. We were very fortunate enough to be in a position where we had a lot of opportunities ahead of us and so, when we were designing the collection, we definitely felt very blessed and very humbled," Levi said backstage after the presentation.

The brothers relocated to Vancouver, Canada, after escaping Rwanda.

They kicked off the fashion show Friday with traditional African dancers working the runway and two drummers playing lively and loudly. Models confidently wore trendy designs that ranged from fitted black and white T-shirts to bright pink shorts to semi-loose blazers. The highlights: a soft pink blazer paired with pink shorts with large black lines on each side, and a black and white shirt with a splash on pink over the shoulders.

Some models wore shirts with the twins' faces as kids blended with the year 1987, when Levi and Reuben were born.

Their overall goal is to give young artists opportunities to live out their dreams — like they have done.

"This brand is about inspiring the underdog and with this collection, yeah it is inspired by Africa, but it's also for anyone who feels like they're down," Reuben said. "Look at us — we've been down multiple times. You can get back up."

—Mesfin Fekadu