Monday, February 8, 2010

In review: U of M Senior Show

(Originally posted at Vita.mn)
Last Saturday, a sold-out crowd packed Rapson Hall to view one of the strongest student showing the Twin Cities has seen in sometime. For the 42nd year running, the 14 graduating seniors from the University of Minnesota's School of Design attempted to put their best foot forward, and they largely succeeded.

[A look by Emily Bryngelson; image by Stacy Schwartz]

[A look by Emily Bryngelson; image by Stacy Schwartz]

The strongest collection of the night was second to hit the runway. Emily Bryngelson, who had her runway debut only last week at Cliche's Avoid the Grey show, showed her five-piece senior collection, which she tells us was inspired by the interactions of light and British military silhouettes. A pale grey jumpsuit and color-blocked, multi-seamed one-shouldered minidress were the highlights, and the separates will likely fly off the shelves at Cliche, come summer. It was the full package - well-made, extremely wearable and strongly designed.

[A look by Judy Bender; image by Stacy Schwartz]

[A look by Judy Bender; image by Stacy Schwartz]

Judy Bender, who appeared to be in the 30-plus age range, brought a level of sophistication and fine tailoring rarely seen in a student show with her four-piece line. A plaid shirt-dress looked fresh thanks to strongly rounded sleeves and a mandarin-inspired collar, as did a bubble-sleeved frock in a gorgeous grey silk shantung.

[A look by Shirley Schlievert; image by Lauren Gantner]

Though the collection from another above-30 student, Shirley Schlievert, was a bit staid and mature-looking (though one floor-length silk gown would make sense if donned by Dame Judy Dench), a couple of strong, well-executed designs hint that perhaps with age comes a sophistication and wearability that the younger students haven't yet grasped. I especially loved the dark grey silk cocktail dress with whimsical shoulder detail.

[A look by Carmen Tseng; image by Nick Patton]

[A look by Carmen Tseng; image by Nick Patton]

Later in the show, youth had its moment in Carmen Tseng's acid-bright collection, apparently inspired by Lady Gaga (set to the pop stars "Bad Romance," fittingly). The mix of separates and dresses incorporated a unique cross-drape effect, particularly unique and edgy on an turquoise sleeveless hoodie. Local boutiques, buy into this one now - this stuff would fly off the racks.

[A look by Mae Rodgers; Nick Patton]

[A look by Mae Rodgers; image by Nick Patton]

The finale of the shop came courtesy of Mae Rodgers, who seems to prefer couture over ready-to-wear. Whimsical dresses and jackets with a cape-like drape were rendered in a black-and-white palette, fitting for a Tim Burton film. The amount of detail and craft in her work is definitely commendable. My only complaint is that some of the pieces seemed over-designed and over-worked - for instance, the attached train to the ivory chiffon blouse looked like a bridal gown that had lost its way.

But overall, these designers - still in their infancy - seem well on their way to finding their aesthetics. It's more than likely that this isn't the last you'll be hearing from this heady group.

4 comments:

  1. These pictures look better than the ones I took. Do you have a website where I can see all the pics?

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  2. Stacy Schwartz's gallery is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mnconcertphotos/sets/72157623252284545

    Nick Patton's photos are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/laurengantner/sets/72157623257871469/

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  3. More from Amy Gee: http://www.flickr.com/photos/amythemute/sets/72157623392172064/

    ReplyDelete