April 22, 2008

Run Away Style: Free the Runway, Feed the Model, Save the Seamstress

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It is a rare occurrence when high fashion reaches us up on the Hill. It is an even rarer occurrence when an event at Cornell is featured on FashionWeekDaily.com. Seriously, go to the site and click on the calendar.
Once a year for the past 24 years, the Cornell Design League presents a tremendous fashion show. This year’s show, Free the Runway, will be held this Saturday night at 7 p.m. in Barton Hall. You know that you have heard about the show and you know that you want to go.
Cornell Design League started with two designers in 1984; this year there are 85 designers. Every year the designs get better and better as the expectations grow exponentially. About 20 of the designers have full lines consisting of six to 11 pieces. The rest of the designers are creating pieces for the casual, cocktail and evening theme lines. As the club continued to grow, the venue was changed from Bartels to Barton. Now the fashion show is one of the largest events on campus. Just think about it: It is one of the biggest events at one of the world’s most prestigious universities. You should seriously buy some tickets.
Cornell is the only Ivy League university to have a fashion league. It allows students from all majors, including graduate students, to help produce the show, plan fashion week, design the clothes and model. CDL is a great way for students to express their creativity and get recognition for their work. This year’s leather accessories are designed and made by Aaron Arlinghaus, an undergrad gone leather-ista, again showcasing the fashionable talents of Cornell students.
This is the second year that CDL is hosting Cornell Fashion Week. The week kicked off on Friday with a fundraiser at Dino’s to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Proceeds from the show will also go to this organization in memory of Page Turner ’04, a former CDL member and designer. Alex’s Lemonade Stand is a charity that raises money for childhood cancer research, specifically the type of cancer that Page had. There will be events throughout the week on Ho Plaza, including a model walk-off as well as tickets and t-shirts for sale. Be sure to keep your quarter-card for discounts at Daria’s boutique.
This year’s show will exhibit everything from high fashion to street clothes to “art for art’s sake.” As a history and archaeology double-major who is incapable of sewing, I chose the “art for art’s sake” approach. As my column last week discussed, one’s occupation affects one’s wardrobe. To highlight this point, my design illustrates the direct influence of being a student on a man’s attire.
I combined the summering-in-Newport look of my model, Cyrus Woolard, with an assortment of school supplies from Staples. A graph-paper button down coordinates with pastel, plaid post-it shorts. Even when opting for casual wear, it is hard to escape one’s work or school uniform. You’re just going to have to come to the show to see my wearable work of art.
During this second annual Cornell Fashion Week, be sure to go to Ho Plaza for tickets, t-shirts, shopping discounts and a model walk-off. This week will be a rewarding culmination for the members of Cornell Design League after a full year of work finally pays off. In the words of CDL President Meg Cross, “we’re kind of a big deal.” See you at the show!