Top-flight American talent may have deserted New York Fashion Week this season, but it's still the dream for at least one up-and-coming Italian designer who made his Big Apple debut Friday.

GCDS -- aka "God Can't Destroy Streetwear" -- unveiled a fun, flirty fantasy inspired by Truman Capote's novel "The Swans of Fifth Avenue" on the second day of the style fest kicking off the spring 2018 season.

Giuliano Calza, 28, founded the luxury, made-in-Italy brand only two years ago in his garage but has already found a devoted niche and famous fans such as Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Hailey Baldwin. His clothes are sold in more than 230 stores worldwide, the label opened its first shop in Milan last December and the Shanghai-educated Calza is busy making expansion plans in Asia.


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"Milan is fun, it's my town, it's where I live, it's where I do my stuff, but still New York is the dream," Calza told AFP backstage before a show that featured low-slung sweat pants, plenty of under boob, high-waisted knickers and sophisticated cropped knit skirts. "Being here in this city that I love the most, it's incredible." A young person's label, the GCDS customer ranges from teenage girls shopping for socks and underwear, to women in their early 30s snapping up their shoes.

But if New York was primarily about maxing his exposure and business opportunities, showing in the US financial capital may not be a permanent move for Calza. It will depend on reviews, he jokes. If designers such as Rodarte, Proenza Schouler and Altuzarra escaping to Europe has raised questions about fashion health Stateside, Calza says he has no patience for those who say the runway show is dead.

The real problem, he says, is millennial, social-media saturation that demands clothes now rather than the traditional six-month time lag. "It's not the fashion show that doesn't work, it's the entire system, that people want the things to see and buy, see and buy but it's not sustainable," he said. (AFP)