April 7, 2003

CDL Showcases Fashion Design

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Last Saturday, the Cornell Design League (CDL) held its nineteenth Annual Fashion Show in Bartels Hall. Two showings were staged, the first at 4:00 p.m. and another later in the night, at 8:00 p.m.

The CDL is an entirely student-run, nonacademic organization and the Annual Fashion Show has become not only a display of student talents, but also an outlet for those interested in other related professional areas, such as marketing and communications.

The participants hailed from a variety of majors across campus, but many came from the Department of Textiles and Apparel.

The show opened with three theme lines: casual, cocktail, and evening/bridal wear. A designer’s line is typically defined as a showcase of his or her recent collection. Exposing mini skirts and high heels, along with luxurious silks and flowing chiffon, were prevalent throughout the program. From pastels to earth tones to monochromatic solids, a spectrum of contrasting colors was seen.

Additional highlights included ethnic influences, such as Asian printed silks and Native American feather headdresses. As models dawned ripped and tarred American flag attire and shirts printed with the words “shock” and “awe,” it was apparent that sentiments regarding the current U.S. war with Iraq were not absent from the evening.

Thirty-one full lines followed the theme lines. Here, the designers based their creations on an array of influences, ranging from personal experiences to travels abroad to philosophical theories. Among these included a line deemed “Naturalize,” which strove to depict the tenuous and parasitic relationships of the natural world. Insect and nature inspired, peacock feathers and green and brown fabrics dominated the runway.

“I might not agree with all of their tastes, but I really respected everyone’s creativity,” said Chris Kan ’05, one of the audience members. “I thought it was really cool that they allowed students to express their own ideas and emotions through clothes.”

A wide range was covered in the show, from the avant-guarde to the traditional.

“I design mostly what I want to wear. I like my clothes to be unique but not eccentric, things that people can wear on a daily basis,” said Kim Truong ’03, a designer in the show. Her specific line was an example of the clean-cut urban chic designs. Aiming to present the woman with air of sophistication and understated confidence, her styles featured pin-striped and white suits along with free-flowing, long-trained evening gowns.

Other highlights included rare full menswear and maternity lines. The Sitara dance troupe even helped model some of the clothes by performing a dance. Asian influences were also more common this year than at the previous year’s show. These student designers experimented with traditional Eastern styles and juxtaposed them with more modern Westernized designs. An example of Cornell couture keeping pace with current trends, these Asian inspired fashions were very much in line with the many Oriental-influenced pieces showcased by top designers such as Tom Ford for Gucci and Robert Cavalli, Truong said.

Students, parents and faculty in attendance applauded the conclusion of the show with a standing ovation.

In addition to the praise of parents and family members, fellow students were also impressed by the work of their fellow peers.

“It was really impressive to see your friends as designers in a very professional setting,” said Lee Ann Richter ’03, one of the show’s models.

The overall response was largely positive. “I saw some extremely creative designs,” said Jinghong Gao ’03. “Overall, the students worked very hard to finish their line and it was nice to see everything turn out so well.”

Archived article by Jennifer Chen