Mar 302005
Authors: Julie Abiecunas

This year's "Breakthrough-Concept on the Catwalk" couture, designed by senior apparel and merchandising majors, was bold, sassy, slinky and on the rare occasion, surprisingly sweet and innocent.

It wasn't a rarity at this year's show to see many of the models strutting across the stage scantly clad and with the occasional bottom peeking out from a particularly revealing garment. Designer Brittanie Villani's slinky, "professional go-go dancers" line featured a wide array of "barley-there" black pleather mini skirts and bikini tops, including one outfit in particular, which included matching dusty pink fur "pom-pom" like boots and jacket.

Villani said the inspiration for her go-go line came from looking at the outfits of her friends who were professional go-go dancers and from her research on current clubware trends.

Another line that capitalized on the "skin is in" concept was Kristi Nation's "Good Morning" line that featured silk and sheer lingerie including a sheer, royal purple, I-Dream-Of-Jeanie-esque bottom and top set.

Designers in this year's show seemed very in to gaudy silk and sheer fabrics to create their look. One designer in particular, Tava Carson, also capitalized on the use of feather, sequins and even gold coins in her garments.

Carson's line titled, "Plumes" was viva-Las-Vegas all the way and was chocked full of all sorts of glitzy-showgirl attire. One such stage-girl outfit seemed to command the audiences' attention as she (who, Carson? Model?- kd) paraded her garb across the runway. The model was adorned head to toe in yards of white feathers, shimmering silk and rhinestones. This outfit just screamed to be looked at.

Although the "Plumes" line may have commanded loads of attention, it certainly wasn't the one capturing all the audience's "oohs" and "ahhs," those went to Tanja Ristic's "B Baby" line, which featured reluctant toddlers stumbling on stage in rich moss green jumpers, ponchos and capris, accented with piping in darker moss green shades, giving Ristic's line a more earthy feel.

Another designer who went for a more toned-down look was Lindsey Bright's non-traditional, country-wedding-dress-themed line. One might not expect chunky brown suede cowboy boots and straw cowboy hats to necessarily lend themselves to wedding attire, yet Bright was able to pull off this combination. Her clean, flowing eyelet dresses, with simple silk ribbon accents and little pink silk rosebuds were just what any feminine cowgirl might want to wear on her big day. Bright also turned the simple straw hats into Bridal Couture, by adorning them with small clusters of white silk flowers and streams of ribbon.

Although Bright was the only one donning Bridalwear at this year's show, formal evening wear was definitely in. The use of different lines and straps to create aesthetically pleasing effects across the gowns was very in for this year's evening wear lines. One designer who seemed particularly fond of utilizing this effect was Lizzy Searle's eveningwear line, "one-of-a-kind wow!" which featured matching rich emerald, Indian print silk gowns. In order to differentiate between the almost identical gowns, Searle used black silk ribbon to create different straps and lines across the garment. Searle said her inspiration for the gowns originated from the fabric.

"(The fabric) was made up in Indian Sari's that I ordered off e-bay," Searle said. "I usually do street wear so I wanted to do some evening wear to diversify my portfolio."

"Breakthrough-Concept on the Catwalk," was held March 28 and 29 in the upper Lory Student Center Ballroom. Participation in the show is a portfolio requirement for senior apparel and merchandising majors as their capstone. In order to complete their portfolio, seniors had to create a line for the show, which many had been working on since of the start of last semester, and they even had to float the bill for all fabric and supplies on their own. Despite the time and cost however, many seniors felt participating in the show was well worth the benefits.

Designer Sarah Hale said the "Breakthrough-Concept on the Catwalk," show is definitely a boost for an apparel and merchandising student looking to put their designs out there and work on adding to their portfolio.

"It's definitely a big deal for your portfolio; you get a DVD from the show that you can show to your employer," Hale said. "It's important when you're getting a job to be able to show someone what you've done."

Being one of the few fashion schools in the Midwest, students often have a good chance at snagging some great internships, including Girl Extraordinaire, Erika Tanov and Betsy Johnson. According to the biographies listed in the program, many of the designers in last nights show also wish to one day own their own clothing line or boutique.

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