April 11, 2005

Design League Holds Annual Fashion Show

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The Cornell Design League held its 21st annual fashion show at Barton Hall on Saturday night. The event included two shows, one at 4p.m. and another at 8p.m.

The theme of the fashion show was “21st and 9th,” a concept which paid tribute both to the 21st anniversary of the Cornell Design League, and to New York City, where, as the program stated, “fashion is created, emulated, and revered.”

Turnout at the afternoon show was light, but fashion enthusiasts turned out en masse in the evening — all 1500 seats were filled.

“The line for the 8pm show was wrapped around Barton, which I’d never seen before and was an amazing sight,” said Meredith Beitl ’05, president, Cornell Design League.

The show was divided into two segments — three themed lines followed by 26 full collections. The themed lines were entitled “Downtown: Casual,” “Midtown: Cocktail,” and “Uptown: Evening wear,” and featured pieces that ranged from bikinis to ball gowns. The full lines were each designed by a senior CDL member, and ran the gamut from painted silk scarves to militant khaki garb and a hobo-inspired line.

In addition to raising money to fund future CDL events, the fashion show contributed to a number of charitable causes, including the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the Ivy Fashion benefit, and the Thyroid Cancer Survivor’s Association.

The fashion show is usually the CDL’s only event, but this year the League is putting on a satellite show in New York City on May 1st. That event, which is being held at the W Hotel in conjunction with Harvard College’s Veritas Records label, will benefit thyroid cancer research. Planning the annual fashion show takes a full year, and both the executive board of the CDL and the designers themselves try to get an early start because there are so many factors to consider. The event is entirely student run, and Design League members take part in all stages of production, from finding a venue to preparing the models.

“I started thinking about my design at the first meeting of the CDL this year, but it kept changing up until the minute the show happened,” said Lauren Lohman ’07, a first year designer who had two pieces in the “Downtown: Casual” themed line.

Sloane Giddon ’05, who modeled in one of the full lines, was impressed by how hard the designers worked to ensure that their creations looked perfect on the runway.

“The entire event was executed very professionally, and it seemed like it went without a flaw. People were all so helpful to each other backstage,” Giddon said.

The majority of CDL members are Textiles and Apparel majors, although students from all areas of study are invited to join. This year, the club boasts about 80 members, from freshmen to graduate students.

“Because we are not designing for a class, we get total creativity and there are no requirements,” said Lohman. She also explained that the older designers are allowed to have more pieces on the runway. This keeps the show from getting too long, a common complaint from audiences in previous years.

In addition to shortening the show, new features at the annual event included a refreshment table, a red carpet, and the use of plasma TV screens in the set design.

For many of the models, the fashion show was an opportunity to support friends and classmates in the CDL. Giddon, a first-year model, noted that one of the most remarkable aspects was how quickly it came together between the Thursday night dress rehearsal and the first show on Saturday afternoon.

“On the runway, the hardest part was to remember to make a mean face,” she said.

Becky Hyman ’05, who presented a full line in the fashion show, was thrilled with the overall results of the event. “I really was looking forward to the opportunity to turn many of my ideas into a reality,” she said.

Beitl felt that all things considered, the “21st and 9th” production was the best CDL fashion show in recent years. “The turnout was incredible and I hope we can top it next year!”

Archived article by Julie Zeveloff
Sun Contributor