Thursday, October 24, 2013

MET Fashion Photo Show Presents; "Behind The Runway Featuring Fashion Designer Adrian Alicea"

Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the newest installment of the MET Fashion Photo Show called "Behind the Runway." Behind the runway is a new segment that will take you off of the runway and up close and personal to the ins and outs of the fashion industry. I will be talking to photographers, models, runway coaches, fashion designers, promoters and everyone and anyone who plays a vital role in getting the fashion shows onto the runways. Today's first edition features Fashion Designer, Model & Photographer Adrian Alicea. Adrian just completed Mercedes Benz Fashion Week featuring his latest collection, "White Lion." This show was named and inspired by two women that constantly inspired, and supported him, his beloved grandmother, Monserate, and the woman who has taught him a lot about the endangered White Lion species, Ms. Linda Tucker.
Adrian has often said that there are a lot of people that support, and have supported him, but there were three additional people who he mentioned often, his sister Eileen Alicea, his close friend who gets a lot of the administrative things done behind the scenes including material for this blog, Miguel Marrero, and the person who does the photography while Adrian is running the show, Ralph Depas of Ralph Depas Photography. Adrian’s sister “Linda” plays a major role in making sure that Adrian’s fashion career is what it is today.
In Adrian’s biography, he briefly explains how he got started and a little bit of the road he has traveled to get to where he currently is.
“Never one to shy away from opportunity. As a model ADRIAN walked the runways for the likes of THIERRY MUGLER, GIORGIO ARMANI, JEAN-PAUL GAULTIER, GIANFRANCO FERRE and PATRICIA FIELDS. In the late nineties ADRIAN met NICO URQUIZA. This meeting would eventually lead to the famed House of NICO & ADRIAN NY. For ten years, Adrian worked with Nico to create a collection that featured unique and outrageous designs. Together they presented runway shows that were so scandalous in their overt sexiness that many of the worlds top models and fashion photographers came calling for collaborations. Their designs would come to be photographed by Steven Meisel and David LaChappelle. Linda Evangelista graced the cover of ITALIAN VOGUE in their spiked wrestler helmet.” (
For the past two years, Adrian has been keenly focused on the evolution and continued growth of "Adrian Alicea Haute Couture". Celebrating his growth as an artist and paying tribute to his Latino and Taino Indian roots. Adrian quietly states: "I love color. I love music. I love dance. I want my designs to bring people joy. I make everything by hand. Each piece is unique. I put everything into my work--my heart, my soul, my love. I want everyone who wears my designs to feel special, to feel proud, to know that they are different and that they have the right to be. (
I had the pleasure of talking to Adrian a few days after his latest show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Before he became a fashion designer he started off as a fashion model. Adrian traveled to different parts of the world and picked up a lot of information about the fashion world. While modeling he also became a fashion photographer. Modeling and photography opened the door to what would become one of the biggest parts of his life, fashion designing.
Adrian was born in Puerto Rico and raised in the Bronx by his parents and is one of twelve children. He arrived in NYC when he was three or four years old. My mother taught us so much about our African, Indian and Spaniard cultures. (Adrian is the eleventh child and Eileen was the 12th child) ADRIAN: “We lived in the Bronx and moved from place to place. It wasn’t easy because there were so many of us. We didn’t have a lot of money but we did have a lot of other things that money couldn’t buy. My grandmother (Monserate) was a beautiful woman who played a major influence in my life. She was instrumental in me becoming who I am. My grandmother was born in the late 1800‘s. She died when she gave birth to my father’s brother. When I was growing up a lot of people said that I wasn’t going to be successful but my grandmother was different, she believed in me. The show that I just completed for Fashion Week in 2013 was named after her, and inspired by her.”
Without any formal training, Adrian learned how to create his own designs. He would go on to be recognized as one of New York’s premier designers. Adrian finished up Fashion Week by showcasing his clothing line at the Pennsylvania Hotel. His show received critical acclaim and he is now preparing for the next phase of his fashion career. While talking to him there were several things that I learned about Adrian that set him apart from other fashion designers. Adrian never had it easy as he came from a very large family.
ADRIAN: “As I was going through the industry as a fashion model, photographer and designer, I learned about the plight of the white lion. When I did my last show I donated some of the proceeds to the White Lions Foundation. White lions play an important part in our ecological system. There are only white 11 lions left in the world and they are on the endangered species list. There is an amazing woman by the name of Linda Tucker who has opened my eyes to the plight of these beautiful animals. Being directly involved with this cause has brought me a lot of joy and fulfillment. Being involved in this project means a lot to me.”
Adrian is also a former dancer who toured with Grace Jones and Michael Mc Claren in the 1990’s. His career in dance was also a huge influence in his fashion life today. He danced on the biggest stages in Japan, Munich Germany, Paris France and of course New York. Iman was also a major influence in his life who spent a long time with him. “I spent two weeks with her”. She had great stories about learning the ropes. She told me about the days where she rode around in a pink Cadillac that belonged to the late, great, Sammy Davis Jr. “Iman told me to listen to my heart and to never give up on my dreams.”
One more story that comes to mind is hanging out with Giann Franco Ferre. After doing his show in Vienna in 2004, I’m sitting in his penthouse suite and he was asking me about my life and what I like to do when I’m not modeling and dancing. I told him that I like to design clothing. At the time I was wearing a black, satin, button down shirt that he asked me about. I told him that I made it. He complimented me on it and then he went into his personal wardrobe and gave me one of his own white, button down french cuff shirts. It meant the world to me because it came from his own personal closet. He told me that dreams come true if you pursue them. He kept talking about my eyes. He was looking into my eyes and it was a spiritual thing. He knew exactly what I was thinking. Unfortunately, about a year later, he passed on. Not only did I have the privilege to close his show, I was also able to dance in one of his shows. He gave me advice and a gift. This is something that I will never forget.
The photographs that you are viewing right now were taken by Photographer Ralph Depas of Ralph Depas Photography

I also model with my baby sister Eileen Alicea. She has traveled the world with me including Europe, Asia and Canada. (Montreal, Quebec and Toronto) I want to thank her for coming back onto the scene because she stopped modeling for about ten years. Eileen and I played Adam and Eve in our last photo shoot over ten years ago. George Holz is the photographer that did the photo shoot. (You know him from Faceoff with Nicholas Cage and John Travolta) When we did the gallery, John Travolta purchased five prints. Eileen would eventually settle down and get married. She is now a supervisor at Saks Fifth Avenue in Las Vegas, Nevada.
ME: Adrian, you have done so much in your career. Between photography, modeling, dancing and designing, do you have any regrets?
ADRIAN: The one thing that really bothers me is the fact that some of my closest family and friends have never seen my shows, or have supported me with my fashions. I have some family members that don't even know what I do for a living.
Fashion Week will be here in February. Adrian still has to decide on a name for his new project. "I am thinking about calling it "WinterSol. (Sol in Spanish means sun) The reason why I want to name it WinterSol is because of the crisp, cold days where the sun comes out. I am inspired by elks and antlers. I am doing a lot of regal, structured suits that are going to be transformed into comfortable knit suits. I want to do a video on the project. I want to bring antique furniture into the snow. I am going to be frozen. There will be antique bird cages with my sketches. The models will come to life as they appear from behind the cages with antlers. The men will have pinstriped suits and will appear from behind the cages with their antlers. The ideas are there, the designs are there, now it’s time to bring them to life."

ME: Going forward, what does the future hold for Adrian.
ADRIAN: “I want to open a boutique. I want my own brownstone in Harlem. I want my brownstone to create my fashion designs. I want my own private showcase room within my brownstone to host trunk shows and fittings.”
Stay tuned as Adrian prepares to bring his next work of art to the runway. He only has about four months left before he has to"wow" the world once again with his imagination for Fashion Week 2014. The day can't come soon enough! Well ladies and gentlemen, this concludes this edition of the MET Fashion Photo Show blog and the new segment; "Behind the Runway." In future editions of "Behind the Runway", we will meet Fashion Designer Erin Birmingham who is a Fashion Designer who creates beautiful wedding gowns. We will sit down with Fashion Photographers Andrew Wright, Hank Pelegron and Paul Walker and learn about different techniques to photograph models, and the do's and don'ts on the runway during a fashion show while being photographed. Dereon vs Daquan and Trish Ramado will provide runway tips and advice for aspiring models wishing to learn about walking the runway. (Behind the Runway will appear between regular editions of the MET Fashion Photo Show blog.)

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