NEW YORK (Reuters) - With tailored suits, intricate knits and meticulously hand-dyed fabrics, Argentine designers displaying their Spring 2014 collections at New York Fashion Week on Friday showed the South American nation's fashion industry is flourishing.
The seven Buenos Aires-based designers chosen to represent Argentine fashion ranged from Romina Reinoso, 25, showing the first collection of her label Tenaz, to Fabian Zitta, who has created costumes for TV and films, and industry veteran Viviana Uchitel.
"I'm starting here is New York, which is amazing," said Reinoso, whose simple, elegant collection featured a hand-printed beaded jumpsuit and jacket in muted colors, pleated trousers and a silk, backless copper-colored gown.
"I like to accentuate the woman's body but I don't want her to be uncomfortable," she added in an interview before the show.
Zitta, who will be opening a showroom in New York in six months, used laser cut, layered patterns in vinyl on a shoulder overlay and belt to give a three-dimensional effect to a white organza gown and on a cropped jacket in his collection inspired by the buildings of Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid.
He paired his designs, mainly in white apart from two yellow gowns, with handmade shoes and accessories.
For designer Mariana Dappiano, the textiles, all of which she designs herself, come first and the styles follow.
"The first thing I need to think about is patterns, without that I can't do anything," said Dappiano, who featured silks and chiffons in patterned prints in blues, greens and whites in flowing dresses and gowns.
Fabric and color are also starting points for Uchitel. All the designs in her collection, which included a gray and beige silk mini-dress, long gray silk dress and a cream silk gown with black lines on the bodice and along the hem, are hand dyed.
Natural, raw silk, she said, is her favorite fabric because it has a special way of absorbing and reflecting the dyes she uses.
"It is a lot of work but I am passionate about it," she said.
Whether they are well established or just staring out, all the designers selected for the government-sponsored program see New York Fashion Week as a window to a wider audience and market.
"The main issue to bring the designers here is to promote the talent and the creativity of the designers and to put them together under the umbrella of Argentina as a way to promote our country," Argentine Ambassador Jose Luis Perez Gabilondo said before the show.
It was the first show in New York for knitwear designer Agostina Bianchi who worked with Toba, an indigenous group in northern Argentina, incorporating their weaving techniques in the collection inspired by the idea of transformation.
She showed a knitted swimsuit, hand-knitted pants with a sleeveless blouse with fringed pockets and a long multicolored dress in brown, orange and beige in light cottons, viscose and rayon in the designs that focused on softness and comfort.
Marcelo Giacobbe, 30, found the impetus for his feminine collection in the century-old Nereids Fountain in Buenos Aires, where Argentine artist Lola Mora depicts the birth of Venus. He showed a ruffled white gown with rounded glass pieces sewn on the fabric, a brown laser-cut Italian leather dress and a silver mini-dress.
"My work is a blend between the feminine and masculine and how to make a material that is rough and tough as soft as lace," he said.
Daniela Sartori also mixed male and female elements in her collection of stylish black and cream pants with a pleated cropped top or vest and a long cream gown over a white T-shirt that she described as "classic, deconstructed tailoring."
Editing by Lisa Shumaker