“Having friends in high places” is often considered to be a ticket to business and personal success. For model turned entrepreneur Jessica Minh Ahn, it’s all about fashion in high places. She’s staged catwalk events worldwide in spots like the Grand Canyon Skywalk, London’s Tower Bridge and sky-high settings in the Middle East and Asia.
On Wednesday evening Minh Ahn assembled a global cast of designers for a first-ever catwalk event at One World Trade Center (WTC) in New York. She was undaunted by the ongoing construction at the tallest building in the western hemisphere and hosted the show on the 63rd floor. The runway was a mix of 8 brands, comprising haute couture, premium ready-to-wear and active wear. Each designer debuted a signature collection based on the landmark locale.
“Fashion is the international language and there are no more boundaries now”, said participating designer Diego Cortizas of Chula. Indeed, the show reflected a veritable World Cup of fashion. Here’s a selection of brands and images in the WTC spotlight.
Ziad Nakad from Lebanon: For Nakad, dresses are like tattoos or second skins, and he uses fabrics like tuile, dentelle and handmade embroidery. His designs focus on details and highlight women’s femininity. International clientele, including models and celebrities, wear his styles. (left)
Libas from India: Reshma and Riyaz Gangji have seen formal gown construction evolve from sharper cuts to fluid lines and flamboyant looks. Libas combines traditional Indian and modern western styles and feature colors that convey meaning, like white for peace, black for mourning and red for auspicious beginnings.
Puey Quinones from the Philippines: Quinones uses organic materials like pineapple fiber for his elegant styles. (right) He’s involved in charity projects that enlist local craftspeople and inmates to weave and hand-paint his work. He also hosts student fashion shows and contests.
HAY United from Indonesia: Raisa Corina and Sarah Callista teamed up to establish HAY United, which signifies “hot, active and young”. HAY capitalizes on the growing trend of showcasing sporty fashions and healthy lifestyles. The current collection focuses on tennis, archery and fencing, with items that can also be worn around town.
Chula from Vietnam: Spanish designers Laura Fontan and Diego Cortizas (left) formed Chula, which shows bold colors and graphic patterns that draw upon photography and architecture. They incorporate patchwork embroidery for fun clothes that turn into conversation pieces. They call it the “Chula connection.”
CAT Footwear from the U.S.: CAT has progressed from work boots to fashion footwear, and is the global licensee of the Caterpillar brand. CAT plays on the trends of each season, showcasing shoes from brightly colored work boots to studded metallic sandals. A global catwalk at the work-in-progress One World Trade Center was an especially good fit for this American brand.