74th annual School of Art Fashion Show May 4

Art in Motion, the 74th annual School of Art Fashion Show, will take to the catwalk May 4 at Saint Louis Galleria.

The fully choreographed, Paris-style extravaganza features dozens of professional and volunteer models wearing more than 100 outfits created by the School of Art’s 11 senior and nine junior fashion design majors.

This dress can be seen at this year's School of Art Fashion Show
A soft, pastel-blue organza skirt, paired with a corset of sand-washed silk twill, hand-beaded with freshwater pearls, from senior Laura Spillman’s sportswear collection. The ensemble will be part of the 74th annual Fashion Show May 4 at Saint Louis Galleria. Modeled by Cara Ellis of the Raspberry Co. in front of Bixby Hall, home of the School of Art. – Photo by Joe Angeles

Festivities begin with a 7:30 p.m. reception at the Galleria’s Garden Court, near the entrance to Lord & Taylor. The hour-long show starts at 8 p.m., followed by a dessert reception for the designers and audience, during which many of the featured couture creations will be available for purchase.

Jeigh Singleton, head of the fashion design program, co-hosts the show with Debbie Alexander of WSSM 106.5 FM radio. He compared the event to a Broadway-style revue, filled with lights, music, drama and, of course, glittering, glamorous costumes.

“This is theater,” he quipped. “We have dress groups inspired by architecture, sportswear inspired by jewels, ball gowns based on narratives. Everything is haute and spicy.”

Singleton noted that a series of flamboyant opera coats, designed by the junior class, were inspired by “crazy color strategies — combinations that you don’t usually see, things that really pop and sparkle. They unfold like gift wrappings: one color on the outside, another color on the inside, the present itself something different altogether.”

The evening also highlights the seniors’ signature collections, each a fully coordinated clothing line designed for a particular audience and based on a particular theme. (Inspirations this year range from carousels and Greek goddesses to the paintings of Mark Rothko). And, in what has become a School of Art tradition, the Fashion Show finale will feature a single, student-designed wedding dress, selected by competition.

Fashion showWho: School of Art’s Fashion Design ProgramWhat: ‘Art in Motion,’ the 74th annual Fashion ShowWhere: The Garden Court, Saint Louis GalleriaWhen: May 4; reception at 7:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m.Admission: $50 for genearal seating, $25 for students. Thickets are available through the Edison Theatre box Office, 935-6543; at the Galleria Concierge Service Center, and at the door.The Fashion Show is chaired by 1976 alumna Susan Block and organized by a committee of volunteers. Clothing is chosen by a jury of professional designers, University faculty and leaders in the clothing industry.

Outstanding student designers receive a variety of scholarships, cash prizes and awards. Last year, more than 500 people attended the event.

The 74th Fashion Show marks the ninth year of collaboration between the University and Saint Louis Galleria. Singleton called the popular retail venue the “ideal site” for the annual showcase.

“The Galleria — along with show coordinator Jane Kairuz, Michael O’Keefe of Technical Productions and Gretchen Hafferkamp of Premiere Rentals — has mastered the transformation of the Garden Court,” Singleton said. “They are able to create a spectacular arena for showcasing fashion in a way that is unsurpassed in St. Louis.”

For the 11th year, the models’ hair will by done by Dominic Bertani of the Dominic Michael Salon, which also sponsors the Dominic Michael Silver Scissors Designer of the Year Award. The award, designed by nationally known goldsmith Roger Rimel, is presented to one outstanding senior at the end of the evening.

The models’ makeup will be done by M•A•C.

“This really is a unique opportunity for young designers,” Singleton said. “Having professional models show the work, having it coordinated and accessorized by people who know the ropes — those are things students don’t get at many other schools.”

Equally important are the post-show “boutique sessions,” at which students discuss their work with members of the audience.

“Teachers and classmates are very nice, but they don’t shop,” Singleton said. “When someone tries something on, examines the workmanship and says ‘I have to have this,’ that’s not a grade, it’s not a compliment, but for a designer, it’s the ultimate valid-ation.”

General admission is $50, $25 for students. Tickets are available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, 935-6543, and at the Galleria Concierge Service Center. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door.

For more information, call the 24-hour fashion show hotline, 935-9090.