April 22, 2002

MILRSO Fashion Show Highlights Diversity

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Fashion attire, from numerous top designers such as Carolina Herrera, Christian Dior, Hugo Boss and Versace, was highlighted at the 13th annual Minority Industrial and Labor Relations Student Organization (MILRSO) fashion show last Friday.

Student models displayed much of the attire in “Reflections 2002.” With music playing in the background, models walked down a lighted runway in outfits that fit into certain theme.

The show was divided into sections, with the clothes and music fitting different themes.

One of the first segments was called “Hip-Hop vs. Represent Your City.” With images of various U.S. cities flashing on the large screen in the background, models appeared in a skin-tight Lakers jerseys, jeans and a cowboy hat and sequined “I Love NY” pants.

Next, in “Designers @ Cornell,” students appeared in outfits designed by their own peers, ranging from the conservative to the eccentric, including a white dress made partly from coat


The “Work vs. Play” montage featured professional attire from Hugo Boss, Anne Klein and Guess, followed by clothing from various designers geared toward a teenage audience. Glitzy and elegant evening dresses were the focus of “Pret-a-Porter vs. Haute Couture”

The final presentation was “Black vs. White.”

Models appeared in black and white apparel while an old black-and-white movie showed on the background screen and a Frank Sinatra recording of “Chicago” played.

The Cornell Caribbean Student Association and Sabor Latino both performed energetic and fast-moving dances in between fashion presentations.

Two $500 scholarships were awarded at the show, the IBM Book Scholarship by MILRSO and the Norman Grumman Book Scholarship from the National Society of Black Engineers.

The poet Tammy and comedian Rob Stapleton were scheduled to perform but did not appear.

Also expected at the show was fashion celebrity, Donna Karan. However, Karan was injured in an accident and was unable to attend but, according to Janie Guevara ’02, president of MILRSO, “[Karan] sent her best wishes for the show.”

The show was the result of over five months of planning, according to Guevara.

“Personally, I wanted to change the feel of the show around and bring the audience something they had never seen before,” Guevara said. “I wanted the stage setup to be a little bit more elaborate and more professional looking.”

Several members of the audience noticed a difference.

“This is really good, really put together well. It’s a lot more professional,” said Natalie Channer ’02, who had attended the show in previous years.

Recreating the show to look more professional was not easy, however, according to Guevara. While observing other shows in the area, Guevara and other members of MILRSO found Gregory Moore of Select New York.

“He and I worked countless hours, even during my spring break, to plan the show. I met him in [New York City] looking at clothes, talking to different designers and going to different show rooms to check out clothes,” Guevara said.

She credits Moore with much of the success of the show.

“There was no way we could get these high end designers without [Moore]. He had so much dedication. He would even come on the bus every weekend to train the models to walk,” she added.

Try-outs for models were held in December, and 30 were chosen from over 100 Cornellians. MILRSO also welcomed a guest model, Joshua Hunt from Earnest Management Inc. in New York City.

“We had are own salonists and make-up artists,” said John Falzone ’05, one of the models in the show. “It was enjoyable and different.”

Falzone said that he had become more drawn to the fashion industry because of the show and was interested in exploring what it has to offer.

“It was wonderful. I think it’ll be a while before I will be able to afford these kinds of clothes but it was nice to get a feel for it,” he added.

Guevara also explained that one of the purposes of the show was to recruit more minority students to the University through the Diversity Hosting Weekend, which attracts minority pre freshman to the campus.

“The purpose of the show is to recruit more minority students to Cornell. The show is designed to fall during Diversity Hosting Weekend when minority prefrosh come up to see the school,” she said.

Charlene Riofrio and Karen Lieu are both high school seniors who attended the show.

“This is my first experience seeing a fashion show from real fashion designers,” Riofrio said.

Lieu added, “It’s surprising. It’s changed my perception about Cornell. I thought that Cornell was a conservative place where all people did was study but from this I have seen that it’s more that that.”

MILRSO also sponsors several pre-professional and academic programs throughout the year, including the Fireside Chat and Speakers Series.

Archived article by Mackenzie Damon