An evening of fashion, fiction and fantasy, Saturday marked the 45th annual University of Minnesota apparel design’s senior class fashion show: Flux. Seventeen design students have been developing, constructing and executing their designs since spring 2012, having completed their collections before finals this past fall semester.
This student-produced fashion showcase fits in accordance with the rest of the industry, which is currently celebrating the wonder of design through each fashion capital’s visionaries. It’s only fitting that the University revel in some of this glory.
Entering the atrium of Rapson Hall on the night of the 16th felt like walking into a very well-lit edition of a “My Super Sweet 16” episode. There were beats bumpin’, lists curated, photos snappin’, a bleak table of refreshments and a makeshift runway in the center of it all. The excitement was palpable and the crowd generous, both in terms of bodies in seats and encouragement for their peers. The excitement and hope for peeping new talent was strong among the attendees.
Peplum, snake print, leather embellishment and petite prints walked the floor in designs from both the sophomore and junior design class prior to the seniors’ reveal, and the designs were a mixed bag of treats: some sweet, some delicious and some quite bitter, though none soured my palate. It was a promising beginning to the evening.
Just a few minutes past 8 p.m., the senior fashion show was in full orbit, opening with designs from senior Jen Voth, the models strutting an en pointe pace to the rhythm of a slow jam R&B beat lost in a cloud of synth. Voth’s designs can be considered ready to wear in a small sense of the concept, as they resembled yoga wear for the couture darling — fine for those seeking to humble their mind and body in quite exceptionally executed garments bathed in a soft color palette.
The show progressed with some fashion show shake-ups: barefoot models from designer Misty Karges; center stage serenity poses from the models dressed by Grace Lorig; sassy studded belts around spunky and costumed children in Issa Mello’s collection.
Sherry Sanden Will’s collection extended an authoritative hand in beautifully-constructed business-appropriate fashions for women. Geared toward those a decade or so a student’s senior, Will paired wool fabrics and silks saturated in tangerines, navys, nudes and deep reds on longer-hemmed dresses, skirts and blouses with superb lines of execution.
Though all 17 of the budding designers crafted designs worth unveiling, some more costume-based and some more event appropriate, three designers’ constructions harnessed my attention and whetted my palate of sartorial sweetness more than the others: Claire Ward, Ellie Hottinger and Mai Yang.
Ward has a talent in making the unconventional look conventional, playing with volume, embellishing vinyl, using rexlace as fabric and wowing the crowd with untraditional texture pairings.
Hottinger delighted eyes with her Carrie Bradshaw tutus and nude-colored dresses of chiffon and rayon. The collection mixed elegance with insouciance, pairing loosely fitted sleeveless top halves with cascading ruffles and voluminous lower halves.
As for Yang, her designs were the most ready to wear of the evening, insofar that they appeared boutique-worthy at first — and second — glance. A divine pair of embellished party shorts and a glam color palette sublime for holiday gatherings frosted this darling collection; local boutiques will be battling for this student’s talent.
The fashion show concluded with the display of the designers, their talent and the models lining the walls of the building. Though the sweat, blood and tears that poured through the thimbles were unseen, the hard work, passion and delight for the craft was evident in all 17 students.