In the beginning was the fig leaf. The first garment. Eden couture.
“Our students always start with a leaf-inspired project because that is the beginning of fashion,” quips Jeigh Singleton, director of the Fashion Design program in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.
Sophomore Allison Horan in a matador-inspired denim outfit by senior Alex Jacobs. Photo by Jennifer Silverberg. Download hi-res image.
“It is the original inspiration for color, line, shape, structure, texture — all the things that we think of when we think of clothing.”
On May 1, those qualities and more will be on full display as part of the Sam Fox School’s 82nd Annual Fashion Design Show.
The fully choreographed, Paris-style extravaganza will begin at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 1, in the university’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. Tickets are $65 for general seating, or $50 for students. Tickets are available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, (314) 935-6543, though a limited number also will be available at the door.
(In addition, special reserved seating is available, for $150, with proceeds going to support the fashion design program.)
The Kemper Art Museum is located near the intersection of Skinker and Lindell boulevards. A reception will follow the show, at 7 p.m., in Steinberg Hall Gallery, located immediately adjacent to the museum.
For more information, call (314) 935-6500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fashion Design Show
For Singleton, fashion can be beautiful, or clever, or inspiring, or occasionally awful. But it is always — always — more than what meets the eye.
“What you see on the runway is really just the beginning,” he says. “Every garment represents a wealth of information: historical information, artistic information, information about materials and techniques. Learning how to make a skirt or a blouse, or how to set a zipper or sew a hem — these are just expressions of a complete educational process.”
For example, the leaf project (skirts, this year) is designed to provoke a conversation about textiles.
“We talk about how weaving evolved, and how knitting evolved, and how printing evolved,” Singleton explains. “Then we talk about the various ways apparel has developed, from the Egyptians and pleating, to the Greeks and draping, to 20th-century masters like Christian Dior, Charles James and Christian Lacroix.”
Indeed, this year’s fashion show — the capstone event for both junior and senior designers — is inspired by the early couture displays of 19th-century Paris.
“The theatrical catwalk, with its flashing lights and thumping music, is really a modern invention,” Singleton says. “Traditionally, couture was shown in small, intimate gatherings. There was no stage. Everything was up-close and personal.”
For example, rather than emerge from behind some black curtain, models will complete makeup and styling in full view of the audience. Lighting will be largely natural. The runway will be at ground level, given shape only by the chairs surrounding it. (Picture the Project Runway finale, rather than its weekly challenges.)
“No one will be more than three seats away,” Singleton says. “There won’t be a bad view in the house.”
In all, the show will feature dozens of models wearing scores of outfits created by the program’s six seniors and nine juniors. This year’s line-up will range from traditional suits and sportswear to ballgowns inspired by lines from Macbeth and formal skirts inspired by 20th-century design masters.
Also featured will be the seniors’ signature collections, each a fully coordinated clothing line tailored to a specific audience and based on a specific theme.
“Hopefully the audience will get an inside view of what goes on behind the scenes,” Singleton concludes. “The idea is to unmask fashion, to puncture the façade that fashion has created.”
“There are no façades here.”
Junior Channy Ronchetti (left) and sophomore Allison Horan (right) model a pair of simple, architectural dresses by seniors Charlotte Kerr and Victoria Xu. Photo by Jennifer Silverberg. Download hi-res image.
Organizers and co-sponsors
The Fashion Design Show is chaired by alumna Susan Block (BFA’76) and is designed and coordinated by alumni Victoria Wreen (BFA ’05) and Sarah Speck (BFA ’07).
Stylists are led by Dominic Bertani of the Dominic Michael Salon, who has done the models’ hair for the past 19 years. The models’ makeup will be done by Kolors Salon, led by Kevyn Idoux, and Fashionista, led by Elisabeth Cutshall. Shoes are provided by Bakers Shoe Group. Sounds are provided by graduate student Christopher Ottinger.
In creating their signature collections, each graduating senior worked with a professional mentor from outside the university community. Amanda Ackerman, whose collection focuses on children’s apparel, worked with Chrissie Lam, senior concept designer for 77Kids, the children’s division of American Eagle Outfitters. Alex Jacobs, a dual major in fashion design and marketing — who created women’s “evening sportswear” — was paired with Tamar Magnes, design director at Oscar de la Renta.
Charlotte Kerr, also a dual major in fashion design and marketing, worked with Puja Dutt, merchandising manager for Prada. Jennifer Sharkey created denim menswear with guidance from Pamella Coppola, the senior designer for men’s denim and wovens at Calvin Klein.
Victoria Xu worked with Sam Fox School alumna Elizabeth Giardina, senior designer with Derek Lam. Nicole Chin, who is pursuing a second degree in environmental studies in Arts & Sciences, worked with Michael Kobori, vice president of social and environmental sustainability at Levi Straus & Co.
Outstanding student designers receive a variety of scholarships, cash prizes and awards. The Dominic Michael Silver Scissors Designer of the Year Award is presented to one outstanding senior at the end of the evening. Block sponsors the Silver Ripper Award, presented to one outstanding junior.
WHO: Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis
WHAT: 82nd Annual Fashion Design Show
WHEN: 6 p.m. Sunday, May 1; reception at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
TICKETS: $65 general seating, $50 students. Available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, (314) 935-6543.
INFORMATION: (314) 935-6500 or email email@example.com