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Flight of Fancy: Irina Shabayeva's Fall 2010 Collection Mixes Amelia Earhart and Tupperware

Posted: 02/15/2010 12:46 pm

Pictured: Irina Shabayeva's aviatrix wear reminds me of Amelia Earhart's flight wear (Photo: M. Hall)
She said, "I want to fly so I can be everywhere, like a particle of earth carried by the wind ... I want to fly into the sky so I can touch a cloud." Was the speaker Amelia Earhart? No, but it might have been. This is the voice of designer Irina Shabayeva, winner of Project Runway season six. Irina's sentiments about freedom and the fluidity of design are similar to Amelia Earhart's thoughts in creating her own fashion line in 1934. Amelia said, "I tried to put the freedom that is in flying into the clothes." There is freedom, creativity and innovation in Irina's Fall 2010 collection just as there was in Amelia's collection from over 70 years ago. Irina Shaybayeva's show channeled the spirit of Amelia Earhart and the freedom of flight she so loved. Many of the coats and knits in the collection bore hand painted wings on their backs.
Pictured: Irina Shabaya's hand painted cashmere coat with feathers (Photo: M. Hall)

Off the beaten track, the show was at SIR Stage 37 (Hell's Kitchen) far from the pristine tents at Bryant Park. I waited about 20 minutes in an unruly line outside in the cold to get into the show and see the unique creations. To be honest, I had my doubts as to what kind of show it would be. I did a double take when I exited my taxi and stepped out onto the curb where unhappy fashionistas were waiting and complaining loudly to IMG representatives about the venue. One woman beside me in line snorted "This is what happens when amateurs come to fashion week." To be fair, Irina could have improved upon the ambiance of the venue, but not the creativity of her designs. And its expensive to be a young designer putting on your own show at New York Fashion Week. Once inside, the show was a class act and I was glad I braved the Siberian chill.

As if to relieve that winter chill, Irina presented a series of fur hats and coats with fur collars. While her stunning pieces won't be for everyone they are beautiful. In her collection of 30 pieces, there are furs and hats worthy of a Tsarina.

Pictured: One of Irina Shabaya's coats with a fur collar and hand painted wing/feather embellishments (Photo: M. Hall)

The collection will have no fans at Peta. Beyond the aviator type caps and jackets, there are hand beaded wool cocktail dresses with fur collars, and even a stunning strapless dress with a full skirt of feathers.

Pictured: Model Kalyn Hemphill took to the Runway in Irina's feather dress with full skirt. (Photo: M. Hall)

But the most surprising accent came not from the materials of furs and feathers but from ... wait for it ... Tupperware! Yes, the stuff you use to store your food in. There are Tupperware earrings that look like bird feathers. Tupperware bird necklaces too. The swag bags on the guest chairs even had Tupperware in them! What an idea. I don't know how she came to choose this plastic material, but it was sculpted to great effect on many of the designs. On one garment, it was used almost like a hoop skirt used to be to lift up a full skirt on a dress. Check out this beautiful winter wonderland of a dress below.

Pictured: White strapless cocktail dress with duck feathers, silk and Tupperware wings in the skirt construction. The topper is a white fox fur wrap. (Photo: M. Hall)
Pictured: My close up shot of the winged Tupperware skirt. Nothing moves like Tupperware, who knew? :) Its not just for leftovers anymore! (Photo: M. Hall)

Pictured: This jacket is accented with Tupperware wings. Its a winged victory of Tupperware! (Photo: M. Hall)

Tupperware adorned some of the caplets in the shape of wings as though the models were about to take flight.


Pictured: A strapless white feathered dress with a white jacket with fur trim and cigarette pants in the background. (Photo: M. Hall)

If you watched Irina last season on Project Runway then you may recall that she made knitwear. Knitwear was a part of her Fall 2010 collection with cashmere wraps and ribbed caplets.

Pictured: Hand painted coat, knit sweater, black leather gloves and slim leather pants. (Photo: M. Hall)
What a mix! Furs fit for a Tsarina, camel coats, caps and jackets worthy of Amelia Earhart and Tupperware storage containers woven together in an elegant and chic mix. Its a rare talent that thinks to combine everyday kitchen container materials with high end luxury furs and cashmere. It will be interesting to see what buyers pick up Irina's collection. Will it be sold by luxury retailers like Bergdorf's and Saks or from home via Tupperware parties? Maybe in the era of the great recession the two will converge! Nah, it won't happen, but it is fun to think about. That is what is so great about Fashion Week. You never know what you'll find. Especially if you venture off the beaten track, outside the tents and into the unexpected as designer Irina Shabayeva does.
 

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