NYU’s Gallatin Galleries is featuring the work of up-and-coming designer Anna Kathleen. The Gallatin School of Individualized Study graduate is displaying her debut fashion collection alongside original digital prints and illustrations. The exhibition, titled “Earth + Beyond,” also includes a fashion film that the young designer envisioned and created with Kaliya Warren, the filmmaker and NYU Tisch School of the Arts alumna.
Kathleen moved to New York City in 2007 and studied Fashion Theory at Gallatin for two years.
After graduating, she studied fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She then returned to Gallatin and graduated in May 2012. As a result of her academic path, Kathleen’s aesthetic has a stimulating intellectual dimension, bridging the gap between art and education.
“I want to reveal the academic answers that come with the clothes we wear and what we can say by the way we dress,” Kathleen said.
Her inspiration is rooted in the active human body and its interaction with society. She believes clothing can have a profound influence on both the wearer and the viewer, and can express our political and social mindset. She also strives to break through the constraints of gender roles: the idea that clothing must be either masculine or feminine, but not both. The most important theme of the collection, however, is empowerment.
“Power,” Kathleen said. “I want to empower the wearer, but not necessarily in the traditional sense.”
The beautifully crafted collection truly empowers the wearer in an unconventional, groundbreaking way — journeying far beyond earth and the conventions of society.
Most of the garments feature Kathleen’s bold digital prints, which can be described as kaleidoscopic or extraterrestrial. Kathleen plays with color, cut and proportion in each design, and she features a variety of unique silhouettes while still maintaining a sense of cohesion throughout the nine looks. Among the pieces on display is a voyage-print silk dress, a nylon powermesh body suit, an indigo racer cut-out blouse, an atmosphere-print silk backless blouse, and a melton wool convertible cuff and collared coat.
Complementing her original designs are around 50 fashion illustrations and her collaborative fashion film “Earth + Beyond.” The film emphasizes the freedom and movement in each garment with upbeat music and modern dance. Models wearing Kathleen’s designs move freely to original music by Emily Maggiotto. Marissa Quimby, the star of the film, was also the choreographer. The film is the perfect accent to the collection and adds life and movement to an otherwise static exhibition.
“I thought the collection was extremely unique and expressive, and each piece had a message behind it,” Steinhardt freshman Xaria Kirtikar said. “I also thought the film was a new and creative way to show how the clothes would move and flow on a living body.”
The exhibition, including the fashion film, will be on display on the ground floor of the Gallatin Galleries at 1 Washington Place until Oct. 11. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Sept. 19 print edition. Deeksha Mehta is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected].