SAIC Fashion Show 2009
April 23 and 24th marked the 75th anniversary of one of SAIC’s most renowned events, the Fashion Show, but for the first time, rather than have the fashion show exhibited on a catwalk, the models walked along a maze of work by MFA graduates in the recently opened Sullivan Galleries. The showcase of over 200 garments (one guest commented “more wearable-art than clothing”), was broken up into three parts with performances from the SAIC Performance department. The combination of MFA graduate artwork, performance art, and fashion went along way towards demonstrating why SAIC claims to be an interdisciplinary institution.
From my seat in the show I could see 30 feet of the catwalk and three exhibition pieces. Even with the narrow view, the clothing was breathtaking, and even thought-provoking.
The sophomore collection, with it’s imposed limitations in cloth and color, managed to produce very original and captivating pieces. I loved Alexis Mondragon’s white cotton sculptural top and skirt with exposed boning and pink lining that she writes was “inspired by the recession… symbolizing the loss of jobs, homes and empty store fronts.” Other unforgettable pieces included Bonnie Alayne Fraser’s gorgeous white and pink cotton top and skirt with vines and petals, and Erin Pianetto’s charming hooded white cotton jumper complete with hundreds of cascading ovals and circles that she says was “inspired by clown costumes.” But if I were to wear one home I would have had to go with the lavish, extraordinarily feminine white cotton shirt and skirt by Maggie Burke.
The junior collection made good use of the wider variety of fabrics, particularly Andrea Ball’s multi-fabric patterned dresses that were inspired by “the Egunun festival of the Yoruba Tribe of West Africa,” Luis Antonio Rodrigeuz’s white silk organza geometric pieces and Katie King’s silk crepe and recycled wool pieces. Among the most wearable pieces were Libby Lane’s elegant, sophisticated and playfully preppy clothing for men and women.
The senior collection, too varied to describe in this brief article, was stunning. You needn’t have read Monika Hadioetomo’s artist statement to know her beautiful white silk pieces were inspired by her conception of heaven, or that Kelly Kroner’s odd multi-tonal shrouds were cultural commentaries. Jessica Mikesell had a particularly fun take on Hip Hop with her “street wear” inspired pieces and Jessica Rodriquez drew much applause for her amazing multicolored paneled cloaks and headdresses.
Combining the fashion show, performance pieces, and the MFA exhibition proved to be a triumph of the imagination. I’ve heard complaints about this years non-traditional showcase but I’d contend that if the goal of the show was to demonstrate the maximum amount of student creativity being produced this year at SAIC and to reference the myriad of artistic explorations that influence fashion students at the school, the show was a dazzling success.