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Gen Art presents “The New Garde”
The Waterfront (222 12th Avenue)
February 2nd, 2007

Written by Bob Bland
Photographed by Evens Lamour

(Opposite photo Geren Ford)

Since 2003, selection by Gen Art for their “Fresh Faces” runway show has been any aspiring fashion designer’s dream. Previous participants in the Fashion Week presentation, which is known as a career launcher, include Zac Posen, Cloak and Sari Gueron. Designers are chosen based on their established ability to maintain a successful independent fashion label, while retaining freshness and individuality. This season was an unfortunate departure away from the runway to an installation format, an innovation that is increasingly popular, but predictably difficult to pull off. Gen Art, an organization devoted to showcasing emerging artists, musicians, performers and fashion designers, presented a series of three “live-model vignettes” across the length of an entire block. Over the course of two hours, models for each line rotated into 20 different looks, while guests had the opportunity to meander between the three featured designers.

Want to get in on a little industry secret? There is a sure-fire way to succeed in NYC fashion, and Jerry Tam, founder of New York-based design collective Form, has read the book on it. Here’s the syllabus:

1) Go to Parsons (Extra Credit: Take specialty classes at FIT simultaneously)
2) Intern/work with one established luxury designer and one hot up-and-coming name (Example: Perry Ellis and Zac Posen)
3) Seek the advice of top merchandisers (Bergdorf’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Barney’s)or editors (Vogue, WWD, Elle)
4) Use your connections to create a highly conceptual, tightly edited line of women’s wear

As the name of the line suggests, architectural elements and seaming played a defining role in Form’s Fall/Winter 2007 collection. Key colors were essential New York favorites black, grey and white, along with a deep plum hue. Tam’s structural concept for fall included neoprene shielding and layered armor details that “…allow the wearer to withstand the battles of their environment”. While the outfits were successfully executed and undoubtedly chic, no amount of protection could save the models from Tam’s glaringly lit display and painfully high acetate heels.

For more information on Form, go to www.formnewyork.com.

Geren Ford
L.A.-based line Geren Ford may have made its NYC debut at “The New Garde,” but designer Geren Lockhart is no stranger to Gen Art or to New York. Lockhart is a California native who trained in ready-to-wear at Parsons, and whose line first showed at Gen Art’s 2005 “Fresh Faces” show in L.A. Her vignette was the first to greet viewers at the entrance of The Waterfront, and the most successful as a live-action installation. With the help of music video director Oliver Gondry, she incorporated interior design, video and music. Where the other two designers chose static presentation, her models acted out scenes, each being presented in a separate “room”. Whether the girls were dancing, pillow fighting or watching TV, Lockhart’s styles had pop attitude and a young sensibility that will prove to be very popular with the Urban Outfitter’s set.

For more information on Geren Ford, go to www.gerenford.com.

Philippines native Chris Habana first showed his accessory line at the 2004 Gen Art “Fresh Faces” show, but at “The New Garde”, he expanded his Brooklyn-based collection to include women’s wear, jewelry and textile prints. Though the self-described “crafthlete” shows promise with colorful hand-illustrated fabric designs and playful jewelry, his Fall 2007 collection was underdeveloped compared to those of his peers. In his self-written designer bio, Habana admits that “…going to college for fashion...wasn’t [his] thing at all…” and that he “…didn’t necessarily know the proper way to construct garments”. Chrishabana seems light-hearted and irreverent with attitude to spare, but I question the apparel collection’s inclusion in such a prestigious fashion presentation.

For more on Chrishabana, go to www.chrishabana.com.


Chrishabana Chrishabana
Chrishabana Chrishabana


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