Maryland designers ready to shine at New York Fashion Week

From an award-winning Ebola protective suit to the hottest fall trends for men and women, Maryland designers are set to make a big impact at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.

The event featuring shows, pop-up shops and parties and more from Feb. 12 to Feb. 19.


"Project Runway" winner turned celebrity designer, Christian Siriano, said he received inspiration from the "deep, dark and mysterious creatures from the Congo Jungle in the Central African Republic" for his latest runway offerings.

"I was drawn to the home of the silverback gorilla along with other exotic and exquisite creatures," said Siriano, who will unveil his collection Feb. 14. "These animals echoed through sleek burnout wool textured dresses, bold animal printed jacquard coats and liquid panther-like velvet evening looks."


Expect a luxe feel that's sophisticated yet playful through the silhouettes of the garments. Siriano also promises pieces inspired by the jungle and its plant life, including oversized palm-printed taffetas, bright citrus embroideries and petal appliques from the African tulip tree.

"I wanted this collection to feel elegant, powerful, bold but still romantic for the Christian Siriano woman this season," he said.

As the new creative director of Hickey Freeman, a luxury menswear brand, Severna Park-native David Hart has the task of designing two distinct collections, including one for his namesake line.

For Hickey Freeman, Hart received inspiration from the early days of aviation. Hart promised modernized military details throughout the collection that "have been updated in a modern luxurious way."

He added that the collection was also inspired by German modernist photographer Willi Ruge's parachuting photographs from the early 1930s.

For his own brand, Hart went west for inspiration.

"The Fall 2015 collection is inspired by the American Southwest and Spaghetti Western films of the late 1960s," he said. "I was inspired by Hollywood's glorification of the American West during the 19th century and how it was adapted for the screen during that era. This collection is a polished, buttoned-up vision of that with some nods to real western workwear, authentic 19th-century prints, and stylized Western prints from the 1960s."

Stevie Boi, a Maryland-based designer known for creating flashy sunglasses worn by top celebrities such as Rihanna and Lady Gaga, continues to show that he can also design clothes.


The designer promised a white-inspired collection entitled "cr3am," which he will unveil Saturday at Eden Art Gallery on Madison Avenue.

When reached by phone Wednesday, Boi said his collection will include about 10 outfits that encompass editorial, ready-to-wear and formal.

"I wanted to creat something was more refreshing and different," he said. "I'm mixing so many different aspects to touch on all of the markets."

As for his sunglasses, Boi promised pieces as "bizarre" as past offerings.

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"They'll be oversized cat eyes and crystals," he said.

Jill Andrews, a wedding gown designer based in Keswick, will be participating in a "pop up" lounge Friday showcasing an award-winning suit she helped design to protect medical staff from the Ebola virus.


"This is such an honor. This is beyond what I expected," she said.

Andrews worked with a team from Johns Hopkins to create the suit, which features details such as a large clear visor built into a protective hood; a rear zipper to reduce exposure; a new doffing process that requires fewer steps than existing garments; and a battery-powered dry air source to cool the user.

The lounge, which will be set up in the Empire Hotel, is being sponsored by the GE Foundation and the global health non-profit JHPIEGO and International Rescue Committee (IRC).

"It's great to be able to use your skills for something outside your day to day routine for something that can help the world," Andrews said.

The suit won't be the only effort related to Ebola at Fashion Week. Supermodel Naomi Campbell plans to host a Fashion for Relief charity runway show on Feb. 14 to raise money for those affected by the virus in Liberia and Sierra Leone.