While fashion editors perched front row at the Paris shows and Oscar red carpet looks were being dissected all over the world, two of America's best fashion schools, Parsons The New School of Design and The Fashion Institute of Technology staged Fusion, a style showdown at Parson's in the Garment District (on the same catwalk used to film Project Runway). Unlike most fashion spectacles, Fusion, now in it's 11th year, is more rowdy competition than staid couture show. Edgy designers, decked-out students and fans from both fashion schools hoot and holler for their favorite designers. Of the 15 designers (each showing 5 looks) from each school, F.I.T. came away with the Best School award and 31-year-old Nathan Green's menswear took designer of the year ("this just isn't fair," griped one attendee. "Nathan is 31. The rest of these students are all 18-20). The judges included GQ's Damien Nunes and Teen Vogue's Mary Kate Steinmiller. My favorite looks? From Parsons: the sophisticated chic black tie party looks of 20-year-old Logan Samuelson and Nathan Green's multi-buckle futuristic leather trench coat and hooded cowl-neck sweaters. From F.I.T., Danae J. McCarthy stood out with a short skirt of multi-color leather bands and a dress with shoulders armored with leather triangles. F.I.T's Mackenzie Sam showed bohemian menswear that was like the Olsen twins hobo-chic meets Alexander Wang -- all layers and slouchy leather and frayed edges. Past Fusion designers have included Chris Benz, Prabal Gurung, Vena Cava and Alexander Wang so remember these four names as Fusion is famous for forecasting fashion's next big things.
Photos by William Wang