While it's always fun to catch New York Fashion Week's top names, the real thrill comes from scouting out a little-known designer who might make it big one day. I'll never turn down an invitation to Michael Kors or Oscar de la Renta, but I most enjoy discovering that up-and-coming talent who's getting some under-the-radar buzz.
So to close out the month-long CultureMap coverage of the spring/summer 2018 collections at New York Fashion Week, here are four designers — including one from Houston — whom you may not know much about now but could be the next big thing.
In only his second season, Christian Cowan has been embraced by the fashion crowd who filled the sleek restaurant Indochine to glimpse the 23-year-old London-based designer's spring/summer 2018 collection. In the clubby, intimate surroundings, the event had the feel of a long-ago time when designers showed curated looks in their salon to a select audience who could practically reach out and touch the clothes.
But this collection was decidedly modern, with an over-the-top club kid/drag queen attitude that has already attracted celebrity clients like Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and Halsey, and couldn't help but make observers a little giddy. Among those watching: Gary Wassner, one of the fashion world's most astute investors, known for his ability to find and bankroll designers with the potential to make it big.
Among the eye-catching looks from Christian Cowan is this petite powder pink bow dress.
Christian Cowan red pillete sipped grey plaid suit with matching bow tie.
Christian Cowan green metallic calf leather trench coat.
Christian Cowan silver glitter tuxedo.
When you get model Karlie Kloss to close your show and such celebs as Marla Maples and Paula Abdul are in the front row, it's a sign you're arrived as a designer. Such is the case with Numan Ataker, who debuted his John Paul Ataker spring/summer 2018 collection before an enthusiastic audience.
Two other signs that Ataker is raising his profile: Investor Gary Wassner was in the audience and Ataker plans to open the brand's first U.S. flagship store on Madison Avenue and 67th Street in New York this month.
Pictured here: Karlie Kloss closes the John Paul Ataker runway show in an organza ruffled dress and hand-woven metallic band vest with laser-cut train.
Ataker based his collection on the rich cultural heritage and folklore of the Black Sea area of his home country, Turkey. He incorporates gold braiding that resembles sailing ropes and knots, and utilizes unbleached fabrics in white, ivory and black in a pleated seashell-like pattern.
He also debuted a line of gold-braided sandals and a new interpretation of the traditional fisherman's boot.
Pictured here: John Paul Ataker gold hand-woven top with white pants with gold hand-woven stripes on each side.
John Paul Ataker strapless tea-length dress with full skirt and silver, gold, and white 3D embellishment.
John Paul Ataker black gown with pleated detail.
John Paul Ataker white gown with flared skirt and sheer top.
Designers Steven Hoffman and Ramin Paksima debuted their Paxyma collection at New York Fashion Week declaring, "It's time for a fashion revolution."
The duo's minimalist collection with Indian draping details stands out because it's unisex, it's all-vegan, and it's incredibly hip. No wonder the brand has been described as "Indian Rick Owens."
The all-vegan Paxyma collection uses Italian imported fabrics. "We tend to toward natural fabrics but also high-tech ones," Ramin says.
Pictured here: Two-tone shift dress and high-tech silver coat.
Paxyma's version of a track suit with yellow tank.
Paxyma silver jacket with patch pockets and cutouts at elbow level.
Paxyma metallic-looking vest worn as a layered look.
Florals are big for spring, a trend that Houston designer Danny Nguyen captured in his spring/summer 2018 Danny Nguyen Couture collection, which he debuted at New York Fashion Week.
Pictured here: Nguyen's impressionistic interpretation of florals in a dress and tunic top.
Danny Nguyen called his spring/summer 2018 collection “La Grande Frontiere” and says he based it on the Wyoming wilderness in the spring.
Danny Nguyen Couture fitted floral-print evening gown.
Danny Nguyen Couture floral print evening gowns.
The Danny Nguyen Couture spring/summer 2018 collection includes shades of lilac in long and short dresses.
Houston designer Danny Nguyen takes his runway bow at New York Fashion Week. And that's a wrap!