During a typical NYFW, we get upwards of 200 invitations to shows from all level of designers. Yes, the big names are certainly fun to go to. In fact, we feel humbly honored to even be invited to cover the legendary names in our industry, as we know how precious those seats are. However, we always find timeeach Fashion Week to cover a few of the off the beaten path, up & coming, struggling to be recognized talents that pique our interest for one reason or another. This season, we found two to share, one more established than the other. Berenik was one of those shows that was truly transformational for us… it changed the way we will see fashion for seasons to come. The other was Mark Walters.
We’ve been watching Mark since he first showed during NYFW as part of his school show, The Art Institute of New York City, that used to show every season under the tents. His raw, exuberance caught our attention, not to mention his booming laugh & infectious personality. It was his fearless approach to silhouette & willingness to buck convention to rethink what a garment is that we admired.
When we were contacted by Mark himself & sent the invite for “The Iconical Show by Designers Associated”, we had no choice but to respond. When asked what the show was all about, Mark told us, “it’s a group of designers who are seeking to have our voices heard on our own terms.” We responded “Mark us as a YES!”
The show was true to it’s selling line – a true group of designers each seeking to move their own visions forward. There was little similarity amongst the lot other than the fact that they were all showing clothes.
We have no frame of reference to speak about the other designers as we had never seen their work before & it is nearly impossible to ascertain any sort of definitive direction without previous knowledge when only a capsule is being shown, but each was clearly unique & committed to their craft. What impressed us most about Mr. Walters’ work is that Spring 2017 seemed like nothing more than a continuation of the previous design conversations that he had on the runway. His fearless take on silhouette was still evident (the dress that finished on the right leg as a short & on the left leg as an asymmetrical take on a skirt were case & point), yet he had clearly progressed. He was having the fashion conversation with a new body of knowledge. A body that included proper finishing, more refined fabrications & a more measured color palette, all of which we have criticized him for lacking in the past. We were impressed. Now if he were to work on the finer points of proper fit, he’d be solidly on the path to something that could be substantial.
As Mark made his finale walk, he did so in his signature manner – arm in arm with a model, sporting a look from his collection he tailored for himself, with a nonchalance that made it seem as if the runway is all in a day’s work. Charming.
We hope this is not the last time we get to experience this scene…
-R. Scott French