Last week was full of amazing events. There were so many shows, ceremonies, and not-to-be-missed moments all over Chicago that SCS editor Carol Calacci and I joked we were amidst a mini fashion week! One of the most interesting and engaging of these events was the International Academy of Design and Technology's annual student fashion show, Imagine. Held in the elaborate venue of Union Station's Great Hall, the setup for the evening pulsed with activity. Music from a DJ bounced off the high ceilings as guests roamed around the open space and took in the pre-show event, a mini fashion design competition called The Muse. Here, IADT students had created an ensemble around a muse, or theme of their choice. Five finalists were picked and asked to put their ensemble on display at the event, for guests to vote for their favorite. We were pleasantly surprised to find that a former member of the SCS team, LaTonya Williams, was one of the chosen finalists!
Inspired by her grandmother and African-American women in the early 20th
century, La Tonya Williams wanted to channel the masculinity of the
classic pinstriped suit with a more feminine approach to create an
empowering ensemble in navy wool with bright red accents
Janine Garcia's muse was the exotic element of animal prints. She
created an whispy confection of a dress that embodied a little wild side
with both subtle, zebra prints and the creamy yellow color of a
Ariana Magana's dramatic structured pieces were inspired by the Shinobi,
Japanese mercenary agents, who she felt embodied the tough and
militaristic but still classically beautiful stylings of the culture
April Vargas entitled her ensemble, 'Nostalgia', channeling her muse in
the delicate looks of women in both the turn of the century, as well as
the screen sirens of the 1940s. Her palette of onyx, cream and blush
embodied the pinnacle of subtle sexiness
Belle Kim was inspired by the silvery mesh fabric that she chose for her ensemble and immediately thought of a Winter Fairy. Using that as the title of her decadent gown, Kim went on to create the cascading tiers of fabric, which looked upon closer inspection, like perfect crystal webs
When it was time for the show to get underway, the hall was packed with students and guests eager to see the stylings of IADT's fashion design talent. A very cool touch to the show was that the entire event was being operated by the students, from the graphic design program creating the logo of the show to the production program running the sound and lights to the interior design program actually creating the runway. The emcee for the evening, meteorologist Ginger Zee, came out looking adorable in a student-designed cocktail dress and introduced the evening's special guest, Miss Illinois Ashley Bradarich (who later snuck off to walk down the runway!) After acknowledging the school's newest partnership, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Ginger Zee kicked off the festivities with an opening number by the funky rock band, Shiny Toy Guns. Finally, it was time for the runway to begin.
The show was constructed into thirteen categorical themes to showcase the talent of thirty-two student designers. With cute and catchy titles like 'Boardwalk', 'Park Place', 'Checks and Balances', 'Champagne Toast' and 'Faux Fur', the categories set the stage for the vibe the pieces embodied. We were taken back to the past with outfits channeling the Victorian Era, the Roaring 20s, and even the bohemian chic of the 60s. Some of the pieces reflected very current trends such as sculptural shapes with high shoulders and edgy, distressed looks. And others predicted what could be with pieces bordering on modernistic and avant-garde. These look seemed especially crucial since these students are, after all, the faces of fashion's future.
Because of the diversity of each designer's vision, it was very helpful to the audience to separate the looks into these thematic panels. Instead it was a completely enjoyable
experience as we allowed ourselves to be transported back and forth
through time and even around the globe as foreign influence shone through again and again. And as the last category, 'Faux Fur' unfolded and models stalked the runway to ethereal, Tim Burton-esque melodies swathed in gorgeous examples of fake fur (looking both real and chic), a soft wind picked up and we found ourselves covered in another faux material, a mini blizzard of paper snow to enhance the mood of the finale. The entire show from start to finish was a thorough study of the students' innovation. And it was apparent, from the meticulously designed
mannequins that reigned over the crowd to the fake snow that swirled
down on us, just how much work went into the evening and how promising all their futures would be.
Photo Source: Second City Style, Tim Arroyo (runway)