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Sophia Webster might have focused on a summery surfer theme for her recently unveiled J. Crew collaboration, but she's aiming higher with her own label’s spring '14 collection. It's all about the butterflies, with several styles paying homage to the airborne creatures. Silver sandals, pastel pumps and other ladylike silhouettes are adorned with cutout leather wings at the heels, while additional styles take flight with butterfly wing-inspired prints hand-painted by Webster. "I have always been fascinated by butterflies — the hidden designs in their wings and the vibrant color combinations and patterns that these creatures just naturally wear," the designer told Spy. "Finding ways to translate the ideas was a challenge, but together with my shoemakers, I developed some great ways to convey the lightness and playfulness [of a butterfly]. I wanted the [looks] to be pretty, feminine and colorful but at the same time elegant, and at times just a touch edgy. My favorite pair is the butterfly flat sandal with a [single] laser-cut wing on each shoe. When the wearer puts her feet together a butterfly appears.”
Edmundo Castillo is paying it forward. The designer has partnered with Ketel One Vodka to serve as a judge for the next installation of its The Modern Craft Project, aimed at elevating up-and-coming talent. The annual competition, which is currently taking submissions, honors "contemporary craftsmen" from footwear designers to cabinet-makers. Shortlisted contestants get exhibition and web exposure, while the winner also receives career-boosting cash from the Ketel One Legacy fund. For 2014, the project focuses on Puerto Rico, culminating in a party there in January. "Puerto Rico has many talented artists and creative people," said Castillo, who is from there. "Being able to help discover, recognize and award unique talent is what interests me the most. I am looking forward to meeting the finalists and seeing what they are working on. Besides great ideas, I will also be looking for beautiful craftsmanship.” Back in New York, Castillo also showed support for fellow designers at the Vanidades Icons of Style Gala on Thursday. The designer, who took the award for accessories in 2012, presented this year's award for jewelry design to The Movado Group.
Emerging independent fashion trade show Coast came to New York for the first time last week, and it added an extra artsy twist with an installation from Angela Bacskocky, designer and Project Runway Season 12 contestant. The hybrid installation, performance art piece and fashion presentation featured models in narrow, cage-like sculptures. They wore apparel and accessories — including leather, glass and metal cutout collars and headpieces — from Bacskocky's third ready-to-wear collection. Coast founder Karen Bennett said she was inspired by Bacskocky's approach. "I am trying to give a platform to young designers, [and] Angela is amazing," she added. "She has very different, new pieces that are very cool and super interesting. There is such a great karma about her."