April 25, 2013

Student Fashion Spotlight: Rachel Kuhns ’13

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Rachel Kuhns ’13 has a much lighter look than Bauer. Her materials are airier, she uses a lot of chiffon, and soaked in cool white and turquoise tones.

Her collection this year is inspired by Audrey Hepburn movies; She has probably seen Funny Face, Charade and Sabrina about 30 times each. The credit role especially sticks in her mind — or at least, the lines that read, “Mrs. Hepburn’s clothing made by Mr. Givenchy.”  So, as a homage to the man who dressed the beautiful Hepburn, Kuhns’ collection will feature a blend of ’50s and ’60s silhouettes blended with Chinese designs and roping techniques.

Kuhns’ mother is from Cape Cod, so she spent a lot of time surrounded by knotting and nautical themes growing up. She wanted to incorporate them into her looks. After researching the Givenchy silhouettes and some of the history of knotting, she learned that both are asian-inspired, so she settled upon her third inspiration: chinese patterns.

Kuhns has been designing with the collective since she was a freshman. After completing designs for class, she mentions, it’s nice to be able to make something of her own.

“Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved Barbies and dressing up. When I was in middle school I started sewing lessons. During high school,  was really into art and sewing and I figured I’d just sort of go with it. My mom always said, you can do anything you want as long as you work hard. So thats kind of what I did.”

And she does it well. Standing in her corner for less than a minute, I wanted one of her shirts. It was white, with a Chinese-inspired pattern cut out of it with a new laser cutter. “So I have this piece, we have a new laser cutter downstairs, I’m doing this Chinese traditional design that I made design my own on Illustrator and then I made it into a pattern for the laser cutter. It’s a tank top that has laser cut design out and it has organza underneath then it has an organza see through strip in the back, full, its a little above the knee, chiffon, box peated with organza. It’s all white, simple and just beautiful.” I have to agree.

This is the kind of aesthetic that Kuhns loves, “As time has gone by I realize what I like more than other things, more fitted silhouettes. My favorite color is white which is kind of a weird color to be a favorite color, so I love pastels, I’m really into chiffon, organza, out of the designers probably the girliest along with Anu Lingala ’13. Very into ’50s and ’60s. Caroline Delson ’13 says whenever she sees something mod it reminds her of me.”

Although most of her work was unfinished when I spoke with her, if her her monkey-fist knot purses and white-draped silhouettes are any indicator of how classic the line will be, it is sure to wow at the show. To match her rope patterned vests and top, each of the women will have rope bows tied around sock buns or flowing locks, depending on the look.

Before I left I had to ask  Kuhns for some fashion advice. Specifically, what she  thinks is one clothing item very Cornellian should own. For girls, she said, “All Cornell women should own a nice sundress; she loves them herself. For men, “everyone should have a nice pair of Sperry’s.”

Original Author: Arielle Cruz

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