Founded by Onslo Carrington ’88 and Laura Russel ’88 in 1984, the Cornell Fashion Collective started as a small organization based out of Willard Straight Hall. Today, it has grown to be one of the largest organizations on campus, and its show in Barton Hall on Saturday proved that CFC truly puts on one of the biggest events of the year.
The show began with Eliza Lesser ’20’s Construct collection, which “is inspired by modern industrial architecture, highlighting construction as it focuses on visual appeal and durability” per the CFC program booklet. Lesser’s execution was flawless and one could surely see pieces from Construct being worn on the streets of New York or Los Angeles.
Construct was a fantastic opener to the event and the show immediately built off it with Hansika Ayer ’19’s Scrap collection centered around the idea of waste as a design flaw. Having the models dance on the runway was brilliant, as any way of showing your collection that isn’t just a typical runway walk will always be eye catching.
Ensemble followed Scrap, and to say the least, it was stunning. At a base level, the collection was beautiful, feminine and empowering. It was as if Katherine Williams ’20 was designing for award shows and Met Galas alike. However, it was the ornaments that really differentiated Ensemble as a true work of art. The collection combined music and fashion in a way never seen before, as Williams used parts of a flute for the buttons on a piece and engulfed her models in classical instrument strings. She even styled one piece to represent a treble clef. Finally, her use of gold tuning pegs in the collection was breathtaking.
Julia Deney’s My Forever Sunshine was the definitive crowd pleaser of the night. It’s hard not to steal the show when you have a bunch of little kids modeling your collection. All of the kids had their own special spunk that really showed through in their brightly colored clothes and the most adorable hand holds you have ever seen. In her booklet, Deney wrote that My Forever Sunshine is dedicated to her late best friend Katherine Schlegel, who passed away earlier in the year. Deney described how Schlegel never failed to fill her life with laughter and love — it is safe to say that Deney’s collection carried on that legacy to the audience, as the resulting warmth was one of the most truly human moments of the show.
The level three collection To the Moon — designed by Caley Droof, Shoshana Swell and Amrit Kwatra — is dedicated to “anyone who is trying to blast off and reach their dreams.” This collection made use of unconventional materials such as vinyl and insulation and was the only collection of the night to feature electronics. Model Brendan Elliott ’19 commented on the collection’s uniqueness: “Amrit works a lot with electronics, so he wired the piece [I modeled] up so that the lights pulsed. I don’t think any of the other pieces used electronics so it was really cool to be a part of that.”
Other standouts included Georgia Manning’s ’21 two piece collection, which featured a pearl studded shirt which created a sheer effect without the use of fabric on the torso. Stephanie Laginestra’s ’20 Elements was also stunning and the skirts featured in her collection were beautifully structured. In an interview with The Sun backstage, Laginestra spoke about how proud she is to be a part of CFC and that “she loves this day and this club.”
CFC president Narhee Kim ’20 echoed these sentiments by saying to her designers, “Thank you so much for being patient with me, thank you so much for just allowing me to be president of this club . . . I’m so proud of everyone, of all the designers and all that hard work that everyone did, and I just love this club so much and just had such a fun time over the year.”
Our consensus favorite show was Regina Mun’s ’19 Full Circle, which incorporated discarded fabrics to create a collection of unisex garments. Inspired by her family’s move and mass purge of old clothing, Full Circle’s Western imagery truly stood out. Originally intended to be a streetwear collection inspired by movies and “dad fashion,” Mun found that much of streetwear is superficial and wasteful and decided to take a more sustainable route. We found her repurposing of old fabrics unique; Mun described her work by saying “A lot of people upcycle things but they look very patchwork-y … I wanted to get away from that and make it look new and make people want it… and redefine what is new and what is used.”
Additionally, Full Circle had the best visual effects, beginning with a distorted video of a landfill dump and looping it in the background to foreshadow the collection’s theme before the models started to walk.
As for her goal behind the collection, Mun explained, “I want people to really consider and take value in the materials that they wear and know where they’re coming from, take care of them … even if you throw it out it still comes around, either to haunt us or to make our lives better.”
Peter Buonanno is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. Daniel Moran is a sophomore in the College of Human Ecology. They can be reached at [email protected]