The SAIC fashion show? Was super awesome. That’s not a particularly scholarly dissection of the event, but it is the most apt description I could think of as I tottered out of the building in supremely uncomfortable shoes.
Every rung of the fashion hierarchy met their challenge admirably. For those of you who have never gone to one, the annual SAIC fashion show showcases the entire fashion department—from sophomores at entry-level to seniors already selling their collections to retailers. The various collections are therefore very different from class to class.
The sophomores have a pre-determined color-scheme and a limited range of fabrics, which forces them to perform designing gymnastics in order to construct a collection that matches their vision. The colors this year were bright white, baby pink and fuchsia—which was a pleasant contrast to the “real” fashion world’s gloomy palette for Fall 2009.
The upperclassmen are left with relatively free-reign over their materials, so the garments sent down the runway ran the gamut from felt-clad yetis to futuristic mod dresses. And, surprisingly, large portions of the clothes were actually wearable! Several beautifully crafted pleated skirts caught my eye, as well as a bunch of admirably tailored jackets as they made their way down the runway in bright colors or lovely muted pastels, gauzy fabrics or more substantial jerseys. The more intense body-sculpture was also supremely pleasing, with a few nods to folk-art and a lot of impressive architecture.
SAIC’s fashion department has long been a birthing ground for new and innovative fashion designers, with many alumni of the program going on to work for important design houses. This year’s showing, with its cheerful and highly intellectual deconstruction of the historical context of clothing and its re-imagining of the future of fashion, falls right into step.