Yet I kept thinking they would have fit in more comfortably at one of the many off-park sites in the city where fresh designers premiered their spring lines in shows that were less harsh-glare and more San Francisco vibe-y, like the vintage-inspired line that walked to an indie cover band on a Chelsea rooftop, or the party-like presentations in empty Meatpacking District warehouses.
San Francisco is just a temporary home for most of these students, many of whom are eager to move London or New York to pursue their careers. This city has become a surefire training and testing ground for the fashion-minded, exposing them to new flavors and freeing combinations. But even though this was a huge moment in the spotlight for the Academy of Art and suffused with Californian ideals, was it really a showcase of San Francisco style? A major show at Bryant Park featuring bona fide Bay Area designers might be a fashion-world revelation.
Of course, it could be that our native fashion sense, in all its subversive wiliness, may just not take well to the big catwalk. Last season's raved-about breakout NYC show was by born-and-bred Bay label Nice Collective, showing exquisitely tailored leather waistcoats over skintight britches and heavy denim draped down the sides of worn construction-worker boots, whose open tongues flapped at the front row. The sculptural backdrop was constructed from charred wood and featured a 19th-century carriage. Nice Collective was supposed to show again this season, but in true San Francisco fashion the duo decided instead to focus their energies on a forthcoming "sustainable community project" here at home.