by MIKE CHAIKEN
You saw something different as soon as the first model stepped onto the catwalk for Funari New York at Runway7 on Sept. 9 during New York Fashion Week.
For the spring-summer 2023 collection, Janelle Funari, the brand’s designer and namesake, has stopped seeing solely in subdued blocks of fabric, dominated by blacks and occasional reds and whites.
She is now seeing patterns.
“This season we decided to make a big change and expand,” said Funari in an email interview to discuss the women’s and men’s line. “Since we all have been in the dark for the past few years (due to COVID-19), we decided we needed to see a positive change.”
“For me color generates happy feeling and since it’s a spring line – I said why not show the expansion of the brand? Let’s live life in full color now,” said the designer.
And not only is Funari seeing patterns, but she is seeing patterns in colors that pop across the eyeballs.
“For me, colors that ‘POP’ emanate from a desire to live life to the fullest,” said Funari. “After this global pandemic, a lot in my mind has changed and I am sure did others as well. I feel the time is now to enjoy life and do all the things you dreamed to do.
“We must live it up as we don’t know when it’s time to go.”
Previous collections found Funari designing items that contoured the body like and were geared for working out. This year, the cuts are fuller and are designed to look attractive on a variety of body shapes.
“For me,” Funari said, “times have changed, and women of larger shapes are embracing fashion and everyone body has gone up few sizes since the pandemic. This has been the challenge- to create a silhouette that can fit all shapes and sizes.”
The designer explained, “I wanted to create a brand that is comfortable, modern and fashionable but can fit all shapes and sizes. Funari has always been that. We don’t think marketing says it loud enough.”
“We put curvier models in the show to show the world that people should embrace their body and should feel comfortable in their own skin,” said Funari.
Additionally, the designer said, “This line needed to have full silhouette since it’s a resort line to travel- so it’s easy to throw on to do to dinner, beach, and out for drinks.”
She added, “Fabric are all elegant and breathable and wrinkle resistant” for those world travelers.
Funari said the silhouettes also are inspired by a wistful look back at the past.
She said she was inspired by the “Elizabethan and Regency time period where dresses were well made, and women were sexy and voluptuous.”
“I watched ‘Bridgerton’ and loved it so much and felt like it had a big influence on me. I wanted to have a line that felt like a love story and encompass that luxurious yet effortless feel in my brand; to allow woman to feel royal, beautiful and glamorous.”
“The goal of the brand is to empower women so they can feel good about themselves no matter what shape you are.”
In what has become a Funari tradition, the designer had the models during the Sept. 10 show accompanied by pups in complementary outfits.
The outfits for the canines are not a mere stage prop. They are an active part of the Funari brand, dubbed Maxine Avenue NYC, and one the designer is slowly building.
“The challenge (with creating the garments) is that every dog is a different size. There is not a one size fits most pattern,” said Funari. “So, when dealing with couture, as I did this season, we had to create unique style and pattern for each animal breed.:
“We don’t see big dogs wearing as much as small dogs, thus the reason why we have focused on the small breeds,” said Funari. “However, we do have some things in 1XL and 2XL like hoody and puffy jacket for fall.”
For information about Funari New York, visit FunariNY.com
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY FUNARI NEW YORK BY RAYMOND CHANKASINGH