On Saturday, day three of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, Rafael Cennamo presented his Fall 2012 collection of elegant evening wear, catering to a strong woman who is "not just glamorous but also aggressive," according to the designer, with sharp metallics, midnight blues and hues of black and gray.
For inspiration, Cennamo channeled Nordic countries, for a storm-like moment in Scandinavia meets metropolitan edge.
"It's very Nordic in this occasion," Cennamo explained to me during the show. "I tried to picture these two places into the woods in a very storm-like snow storm and a combination of the city so that's kind of the fusion in between."
Using a cutting edge contemporary design technique while at the same time incorporating classic elegance, Cennamo envisions a mix of elegance through opulent fabrics for a woman who is, at times, hard-hitting.
"The inspiration is very funny because all of time I kind of picture this image of this woman so powerful but at the same time very, very glamorous," he said. "It's a little bit raw but at the time it's a little bit aggressive but it's so soft at the same time."
Fall 2012 marks the second show for Cennamo, who launched his eponymous line in 2006. When I asked Cennamo how he felt now that he, no longer a New York Fashion Week rookie, has hit his stride, he was simply at a loss for words driven by pure bliss.
"I'm excited and I'm very very, what would be the word to say," he told me during the presentation of his Fall collection. "I'm very excited. I think right now that is the word I want to use. Excited is the right word to say."
The presentation in the box at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in the tents at Lincoln Center was the perfect canvas for Cennamo who enjoys the freedom.
"I'm very excited because this is the second opportunity that I have to show," Cennamo told the International Business Times. "And this space as a designer I have my own voice. I love the box because you have the opportunity to see a lot of the details and the craftsmanship that I have."
Details were the focus of the 24-dress collection with beads, gunmetal brocade, asymmetrical cuts, midnight blue jacquard, lace and body-hugging chiffon. Using black, metallic gray and gold as midnight blue -- aside from one knock out red number -- in his palette, Cennamo explained that he used some neutral colors to balance the eye-catching details.
"I have some metallic colors but at the same time I'm using a little bit of nude to tone it down," he said, mentioning the singular red dress. "I'm using an accent color, the teal color."
While all dresses were not tailored to hug a woman's curves, like the stand-out white gold draped bugle bead gown front and center, each piece in the collection showcased one part of a woman's body.
"I'm a very body conscious designer all the time that I'm trying to do something I try to embrace it, embrace the body of the moment," Cennamo said.
For Cennamo, the body of the moment is a strong female for the Fall collection. For last season, his spring 2012 collection was influenced by dolls in a mainly black, white and lilac palette fogging the lines of a fairytale and reality, which seem to be the theme throughout his life.
Cennamo got his start at an early age, tailing his brother in a modeling agency and dressing prominent Venezuelan beauties, like Miss Venezuela. He attended IFAC in Miami, now known as Miami International University of Art & Design, focusing on couture and has since expanded his first atelier based in Venezuela to an office in New York City on White Street. Today, Cennamo's designs are now sold in upscale retailers like Neiman Marcus, Harrods, the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, and Daslu in San Paolo.
Already a household name within the fashion community, Cennamo has hit his stride and is a celebrity favorite, catching the likes of Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Vanessa Williams who have donned his designs on the red carpet. When I asked if any celebrities would be wearing one of his creations for the Oscars later this month, all he could respond was, "I hope. I hope."
An Oscar connection is not all Cennamo is wishing for right now after months of hard work leading up to an hour-long presentation at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. When asked what he plans to do after the show, Cennamo said he just hopes for a moment to chow down.
"I'm going to go and eat. I haven't eaten in like days so I will eat this time," he said. "You get excited about fashion and you just forget about everything else."