April 23, 2001


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“Welcome,” said an ominous voice from the background. The audience hushed as the bright lights flipped on and flooded the runway, revealing sheer white curtains ruffling in the background; it was the 17th annual fashion show hosted by the Cornell Design League (CDL).

Last Saturday, the show packed the Ramin Room of the Bartles Hall twice, once for the 4 p.m. matinee showing and again for the 8 p.m. evening showing.

“This is our biggest show yet,” said Jonathan Moore ’01, vice president of the event.

According to Abigail Altshul ’00, Cornell design league vice president of publicity, 400 models graced this years stage wearing the inventions of 76 different designers.

Although many of the graduate and undergraduate designers are majors from the Textiles and Apparel section of the College of Human Ecology the show includes designers from all areas, including architecture,philosophy, biology majors and others.

According to designer Lindsay M. Lyman-Clark ’01, the show is “completely run by students and not done for credit.”

The theme of this years show was “Fabrication.”

“The set is based on themes of translucency and light,” said Altshul. The set design was chosen as far back as December, after a set design competition. However, auditions for fashion models were held even earlier because designers started work on their lines as early as last year.

Expenses for the show such as the configuration of the set, require approximately $10,000. The money was raised from last year’s ticket sales, a grant from the Student Assembly Finance Commission (SAFC) and corporate sponsors such as Lord and Taylor.

Most of the designers purchased fabric and supplies with their own money, however some received grants from the Cornell Council for the Arts.

Inspiration for the designs stemmed from a wide array of sources: Chinese murals, ballet, technology, current fashion trends and even the various phases of water.

“My line is a collection focusing on skin and texture,” said Lyman-Clark.

“I used a combination of informal heavy fabrics such as denim and suede to create a look that ranges from sexy clubwear to elegant formalwear.”

Lyman-Clark added, “The garments all contain mesh paneling, showing off the skin as another texture. The title of the line, “tattoo,” stems from the black graphics applied to some of the more sheer areas giving the look of a huge tattoo against the skin.”

Designer Julia Durgee ’02 made a statement in her line with the use of “reversals,” or reversible clothing.

Although many designers dazzled the audience with their reversible clothing, Durgee took it one step further by transforming the skin into the article of clothing. She painted psychedelic plaid and flower designs directly on her models.

“It was about the patterns jumping off the fabric onto the skin,” she said. “I am already thinking about next year, and I have a lot of body paint left over.

The show contained three parts. Part one was an exhibition of the full lines of 12 designers. The first line by Leo Alejandro ’01 was a daring statement containing many bare-breasted women’s pieces which he stated were inspired by women in rock and roll.

Part two contained works from a total of 55 of designers and had five sections, each characterized by a theme. The themes were: sensual, ingenue, drama, reincarnation and deconstruction.

Lastly, part three contained the full lines of 11 designers.

“This is a great final finale,” said

Designer Jenny Liu, ’01. “I’m overwhelmed. It was awesome to see how much you can do [and to see] so many different designs.”

“Despite all the stress [the show] is well worth it,” said Lyman-Clark. “It isn’t often that people get a chance to display their work as we do.”

Archived article by Rachel Einschlag