Written by PHILLIP D. JOHNSON
Collection Images photographed by PHILLIP D. JOHNSON
I am always up for new discoveries during NEW YORK FASHION WEEK and this past September, I was extremely happy to discover MATHIEU MIRANO, a young designer with a great, great future in the industry. A breakthrough designer if there was any that week, Mirano showed a glamorous yet structurally modern Spring/Summer 2013 collection. The 21-year-old designer expertly demonstrated an eye for utilizing elegant fabrics, designing refined and appropriate daywear, an affinity for cutting fabric that’s rarely seen in someone his age and an aptitude for designing a killer evening gown.
Born in New York, MATHIEU MIRANO attended the HUNTINGTON SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS before studying at PARSONS SCHOOL OF DESIGN in New York City. His highly praised capsule collection, as well as private commissions for special occasion gowns, prompted him to launch his eponymous spring collection in 2011. With a background in fine arts and classical piano, Mathieu is inspired by composers such as CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS and PHILIP GLASS, as well as his extensive travels to Paris, Marseille, Geneva, Milan, London, Cairo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Calcutta.
Held in the smallest show space at the Tents at LINCOLN CENTER, I was immediately transported to a place most reminiscent of an ice queen’s forest where the models stood atop an all-white circular tiered stage complete with giant icicles emerging from the surface. Think Superman’s lair in the Arctic Circle in the original Superman movie (starring the late Christopher Reeves) and you get the picture. Because New York fashion week designers (and their team) aren’t especially known for innovative or extraordinary production values—you have to go to Paris, London or Milan Fashion Weeks for that—this was one of the most visually exciting show spaces I saw all week. Furthermore, it served to enhance Mr. Mirano’s designs in the best possible ways.
The 22-piece women’s collection, inspired by fossils and dinosaurs, was an even mix of day and evening wear with tons of crisp whites and pops of bright spring ((yellow, gold, orange, cherry red and a hybrid of forest/neon green) colors. For day, he showed sharply-cut shorts (pleated and otherwise) and skinny trousers paired with t-shirts (with zippers in the back), cashmere knit turtlenecks, printed t-shirts and cashmere knit tank tops—completed with (equally) sharply-tailored jackets that are most covetable all on their own. Standout out pieces in this section of the collection includes the first look—a white silk collarless “Mikado” zip front Jacket over a white printed leather t-shirt (with back zipper), white silk “Mikado” skinny trouser accessorized with a silver “vertebrae” belt. It was clean. It was modern. His use of leather throughout the collection was exceptional. Standout pieces included a grey printed leather dress (with yellow leather slot seam detail), a super chic while leather puff jacket, and his orange pleated jacket.
For evening, he made a strong case for the next generation of eveningwear designers. Every piece here was just beyond gorgeous and eminently wearable. His red beaded organza cocktail dress with gold halter straps is suited for a red carpet princess. The fact of the matter is that all the evening looks (#14 through 22) was just phenomenal and showed a sure hand for someone so young. What’s not to love about his rainbow sequined sheer organza or his green chiffon “beetle” gowns? As for his modern yet vintage-y about his white sequined mesh tube gown, it’s sophisticated, comfort dressing for the charity circuit set. He closed out the collection with a white sequined cape with a multi-rainbow yoke that will make its wearer a goddess among women.
Without question, what makes MATHIEU MIRANO such a standout from the crowd (with over 450 shows, presentations, installations in eight days of New York Fashion Week) is the incredible fabrics he used and the equally incredible detailing he put into the stitching and overlay work, especially with his evening gowns. As The New York Times fashion critic, CATHY HORYN, once pointed out, sometimes even the most sophisticated, high-end designers occasionally show designs that appears decidedly cheap looking. But this was not the case with Mirano. He and his designs are class, modernity and elegance personified. After such a groundbreaking debut (of sorts), I have high hopes for Mr. Mirano and wish for him a very long, successful career in the industry. Based on what we have seen so far—in two seasons—he deserves it.