[Silk dress by Amanda Chaffin]
I attended the St. Kate's annual student show Katwalk last weekend, and true to my predictions, there were some promising moments and perhaps even some future local fashion stars. None of the collections were flawless, of course. Even some of the better designers sent down some looks down the runway that had fit and construction issues, or didn't try hard enough to push the envelope. But I'm going to focus on the good rather than the bad, because that's what student fashion shows are about.
Amanda Chaffin definitely showed the most cohesive line with the most commercially-viable appeal. The draped silk dress pictured above was gorgeous and interesting enough to inspire me to ask the designer to create a version for me in a different color, which I plan to wear at the upcoming Cliche summer fashion show where Chaffin will have her Cliche debut as Rose White. (The shop's owners Josh and Delayna Sundberg told me at the St. Kate's show that they just picked up the designer.) Another marker of future success: St. Kate's grad and one of my favorite local designers Amanda Christine told me Chaffin had interned for her.
[Silk racerback tank and pants by Amanda Chaffin]
I also loved this silk draped racerback top. It's hard to really tell in the photo, but it moved wonderfully on the runway. The subtle draping makes the top just innovative enough to be a step above basic. Not sure what's going on with those pants, though.
Chaffin also picked up on one of my favorite spring trends, the crop top. I'm not sure I like the colors or the cowl neck, but I like the idea of wearing a cropped top with a high-waisted full skirt.
[Wood corset with sheet metal skirt by Renalie Bailey]
The most interesting designer of the night was probably Renalie Bailey. Her work with unusual materials like wood, sheet metal, and steel rods is not exactly wearable, but her mixture of unusual and classic shapes is laudable, and definitely felt like something new to the eyes.
[UPDATE: Just came across this lovely image of the same dress]
[Image: Provided by Renalie Bailey]
[Silk organza dress by Renalie Bailey]
On the other hand, Bailey seems able to translate her feminine, structured silhouettes into something wearable and commercially viable, as in the silk organza dress above. I only wish she would push it more aesthetically with looks like the silk organza dress; it's cute but nothing we haven't seen before.
Another one to watch is Ashley Busch. Her '70s sportswear-inspired line was perhaps the most cohesive with the most specific look and feel of the collections. She best succeeded when she modernized a '70s style, like the mustard jumpsuit and the silk racer-striped tank (both pictured above). My only critique was that some of the silhouettes could use a bit more refinement and attention to fit.
All images (except those of Ashley Busch) by Brian Garrity