April 28, 2013

Sins and Springtime: The Cornell Fashion Collective’s 29th Fashion Show

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More than 2,500 attendees filled Barton Hall Saturday for the 29th Cornell Fashion Collective show, hungry for the visual delights that the student community had cooked up for them. Textures of all types were utilized to make the beautiful and sculpturesque garments: chicken wire, aluminum and crochet sweater-fabric were just a few of the notable mediums. The audience witnessed an artful display of ballet-inspired catwalks, a spiced-up rendition of a certain pair of royal wedding guests with a penchant for distinctive hats and even a knee-length pleated skirt made entirely of interlocking aluminum sheets.

Following a flourish of skirts and feminine silhouettes were a deliciously shocking pair of space-apples: giant white, round figures covered in white vinyl scales encasing the abdomens of each male model. Multi-colored neon wigs adorned the bottoms. The worm hole-like front opening, allowing a tantalizing view of almost-goodies, was a tad risqué, but it wasn’t until the models made their catwalk roundabouts that the audience erupted into a whoop of shocked delight — the uncovered back allowed for a gratuitous view of derriere. The experimental piece, meant to envision “perversion and Asian pop-art,” was designed by Brandon Wen ’16. Laughing, Wen recounted how the camera crew shamelessly “zoomed in” on the the goods, but he was delighted at the attention to his design nonetheless. Unique works like Wen’s exemplify the annual fashion show’s nature as an arena of creative freedom and dedication to wearable art, and of course, the age-old adage: Expect the unexpected.

First-level designers really shined this year with their “seven deadly sins” designs. Pride herself was an uncompromisingly regal figure in a metallic, gunmetal skater dress embellished with intimidating gold shoulder-spikes. Designer Tiffany Zhang ’16 implemented a beading embroidery technique to secure gold-chain designs all over the bodice. She even made matching gold-chain hand pieces and a chain headpiece to crown her Pride as the leading sin. Greta Ohaus’ ’16 red dress was just as commanding. Meant to evoke both gluttony and greed, the angular red dress could have doubled as an architectural project. The hips flared out into a trapezoid-like silhouette, which Ohaus says is meant to invoke the avaricious shape of a person toting multiple shopping bags; and the smooth collar was emblazoned with molten gold syrup-like drippings, bringing to mind the sin of gluttony.

The show’s traditional Pendleton menswear collection updated juvenile fashion with a modern, adult twist. The designs, created by a team of designers awarded a Pendleton scholarship, are available for Pendleton to use in their commercial collections. The team merged classic Pendleton wools, known for their colorful Native American-inspired prints, with knit fabrics and monochromatic mediums. Knee-length shorts and fitted silhouettes brought to mind conventional boy-scout garb, but the colorful patterns and eclectic accessories —  such as a headdress made of tree branches, a printed backpack in the shape of a bear’s head and a fluffy-tailed fur hat the like of Peter Pan’s lost boys — gave this collection a playful, modern and nostalgic air.

As always, the long-awaited senior collections were saved for last. Meant to showcase the skill development of the fourth-year designer, these are collections of eight to twelve signature pieces. Rachel Kuhns’ ’13 collection, Coalescence, was a swish of delicate fabrics: layers of airy chiffon skirts and feminine, demure figures. Clad in blush pinks, creams and lilywhites, her models floated down the runway, each with thin, white bows securing their top buns and ball-shaped white purses in hand. On the opposite spectrum, Matilda Ceesay’s ’13 Semblance was a bold display of saturated colors, patterns and textures, creating an energetic finish to the show. Fusing traditional African prints with clothing constructions to envision a modern-day manner of dress, Ceesay’s collection was exemplary of high fashion. Stand-out pieces included a bright red blouse with over-sized puff sleeves, an expertly-draped pair of printed, harem-style capri pants and a mixed-medium flame-orange mini-dress.

All in all, the 29th Cornell Fashion Collective show culminated into the perfect way to usher in the colorful nature and sense of freedom that signals springtime at Cornell.

Original Author: Katherine Carreno