Fabulous arrived in a big way at Columbia College on May 14 as the school’s eleventh annual student-produced fashion show, Fashion Columbia 2008, glittered and glammed down the runway. Featuring pieces from dozens of student fashion designers—and coordinated by Fashion Retail Management students—this year’s show fused fashion and technology, blending computer-generated fashions with the regular cloth and thread variety.
Both the matinee and the evening show resembled an event from New York Fashion Week: seats were filled to capacity with black-clad fashionistas, press and chic fans, all leaning forward with excitement. Showcasing more than 125 designs, the show was impressive and professionally executed by the students. The creations were grouped into eight “scenes” by color, fabric and mood—though the signature color for the event was a vibrant purple that popped up again and again in the pieces. There was also an emphasis on designs using raw muslin stock, creating an eco-friendly “green” look.
From casual wear to evening gowns every runway look was inventive and well-crafted. Several designers stood out, however. Paul Wesolowski, winner of the school’s Driehaus Award for Fashion Excellence, showed three elegant pieces in grey charmeuse and organza with bright, almost neon details that added well-designed grace. Sarah Matouchi stole her “scene” with two dresses in matte blue jersey that were not afraid to embrace the booty with elegant draping.
Many of the pieces had a costumey feel to them, with corsets and lace-up bodices featured heavily. This fantasy element was brought home by the last piece shown, a dress that was designed by computer and brought to life in stunning detail. It was a vibrant purple evening gown with tall arches that curved over the dress, like wings, to be attached again, in the front; a “Blade Runner”-meets-“The Princess Bride” kind of concoction.
What is obvious is that the Columbia fashion program is bursting at the seams with talented designers well on their way to making a splash in the Chicago fashion community and beyond. We have not seen the last of these young artists. (Beth Dugan)