The Graduates: See the Top Looks from Pratt’s Big Graduation Show

Some of the show's stand-out ensembles included glow-in-the-dark dresses and impressive tailoring.

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A look from Pratt's annual graduates fashion show.
Pratt's annual fashion show honored industry icon Fern Mallis with a lifetime achievement award, in addition to showcasing some of the best looks from the graduating class. Theresa Deckner's collection was composed of a mix of organic (hemp, hemp-blend) and up-cycled fabrics, which were then hand-painted by the designer.
"Being conscious about fewer waste and using durable-better-for-the-environment materials is very important to me," says Deckner. "I know that there are things about the way I made these clothes that could be improved but I tried my best to stay true to my beliefs."
Juan Pozo's collection was an updated take on classic prep, with bold colors and boyish tailoring.
While some of Pozo's looks were easier to classify, a fleece-lined yellow cape was a bold item to see as part of a more classic-leaning menswear collection.
Kelsy Carleen Parkhouse won one of the evening's top prizes for her work, which was inspired by American quilts and the Grand Canyon. The designer used new fabrics, as well as "vintage feed sack textiles."
"Nostalgia, color, and print are some other important elements," Parkhouse says of her collection. "The biggest challenge was creating a collection with these inspirations that also felt fresh and new."
Huner Aldemir's polished collection examined the differences between New York and Istanbul, where she grew up.
Aldemir's design process wasn't without hiccups: "The biggest challenge for me was to redesign my whole collection during winter break after I decided to scrap everything I had done in the first semester."
Emily Kauffelt's original inspiration was X-rays, which resulted in a series of contrasting sheer elements throughout the looks.
"In addition to using subtle references to the skeleton," says Kauffelt, "I wanted to explore the idea of layering and contrasting sheer and opaque.
Beatrice Weiland's collection had an edgier, tough-girl appeal, mixing fabrics as varied as camouflage and textured knits.
In a cheeky nod to fashion branding, Weiland put her name on the vast majority of the pieces that walked in the collection.
Elizabeth Ammerman's collection was a futuristic mix of shimmering fabrics, fringe, and sheer textures -- all paired with platform sneakers.
Some of Ammerman's looks showed a playful approach to fashion, like this high-fashion cheerleader ensemble, complete with pom-poms.
Meredith Lyon also toyed with a more high-concept approach to her collection, which was meant inspired by anti-smoking propaganda.
"It's basically a mock of the smoking industry and the tactics they use to successfully recruit new customers," says Lyon. "I did this by playing with print and sheer fabrics within my garments."
Ping Hatta's boudoir-influenced collection took lingerie as its jumping-off point.
"I was drawn to lingerie and corsets since my childhood," says Hatta. "I have always thought of lingerie as wearable art -- how it creates an illusion like a sculpture on curves of female form."
Emilie Cardin's looks may have appeared simple, but they were actually influenced by the London riots in the summer of 2011. "I looked to images of nuclear fallout and riot gear and developed the concept of post-apocalyptic uniforms," says Cardin. "My goal was to create a group that translated into utilitarian, wearable pieces that would be represent my vision of the future."
Kate A. Gross's collection was one of the night's more grown-up offerings, combining sophisticated tailoring with luxurious furry embellishments.
Gross's looks had a palpable commercial appeal -- from the rich, mustard-y hues to the flattering silhouettes and attention to detail.
Aharon Kolatch's final collection also had a retail-friendly vibe, packed with wear-it-now separates and tailored classics.
An eye-catching jacket -- building on a trenchcoat silhouette with bold fabric panels -- was one of the stand-out pieces of Kolatch's collection.
For Stephanie Parks, whose looks featured intricate strips of fabric that were braided to create structures, the collection required pushing herself "harder than I ever have" to make a reality.
"I approached the collection like a sculptor to clay," says Parks. "I played with the forms until I had created the final designs."
For Ruby Gertz, science-fiction pop literature and futuristic design were major influences on her final collection, which had a heady dose of showmanship. The lights dimmed, and LED strip lights glowed through each of the garments.
"I enjoyed the challenges of creating prints using different media (like glitter), and teaching myself the basics of wiring the LED strip lights that are sewn into the dresses," says Gertz. "My designs offer the wearer the unique opportunity of customizing the color of the lights that glow within the dresses using a simple remote controller, which is hidden discreetly in the pocket of each dress."
In contrast, the dresses designed by Lily (Xi) Li had a decidedly softer, goddess-y appeal. The colors and silhouettes of the collection reflected the designer's initial inspiration: the sea just before a storm.
"I thought of these dresses as being old and worn, faded, and having been packed in grandma's trunk in the attic then rediscovered," says Li. "That was when I started to fray the raw edges along all of my gowns, and experimented with tea-dying the fabrics to achieve that dulled-down effect."
Kate Wilkoff embraced a different kind of woman: a "warrior goddess," outfitted in a spring collection she dubbed, "W."
"I used all hand-dyed chiffons to create a gradient of lavender and nude shades with a pop of citron for contrast," says Wilkoff. "The trapunto satin overlays represent the warrior side of the collection mirroring armor."
Dana Hurwitz's collection was a high-fashion mix of textures -- from sheer, flowing skirts to furry cropped jackets with an ombre effect.
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