Monday, May 16, 2011

In review: St. Kate's Student Fashion Show

[Originally posted at]

Student fashion shows are always a grab bag - usually about three-fourths of the designers will never been seen or heard of again, while the other fourth typically show some potential. On Saturday night, I made a trip to the College of St. Catherine's annual student fashion show in the hopes that I would spot some of the Twin Cities' best and brightest up-and-comers to the fashion scene.

Early in the show, the college presented a handful of looks crafted from Sun Chips, Doritos and Frito Lays bags - the top three winning the opportunity to be shown on the Frito Lays website. I always love a good Project Runway-esque, unusual materials challenge.

Among the many, many lowerclasswomen showing, junior designer Yevette Willaert stood out with her English countryside-inspired mini collection, both flowing and structured, with well-done construction. It was slightly period-looking, but there was just a spark of something more there than pure costume.

Among the six senior designers, two in particular stood out for their construction, eye for detail and styling. Abby Hansen's line of wearable dresses and separates, said to be inspired by fine arts, got a boost from intricate detail and lush fabrics - two things typically lacking in student fashion shows. This was a very sophisticated line to come from a student. The strongest pieces were a pair of sheer silk pants, a navy top with woven back detail, and a navy dress sharing the same woven detail. A weak spot in the designs were the strings hanging from the neckline and waist of two designs, a little too artsy-crafty for my taste.

I had heard about Hitomi Wong previous to the show from Blasphemina's Closet designer Samantha Rei, for whom Wong has worked as an intern. The all-black collection from the upstart was ultra-gothy, niche-exclusive and unwearable for most of us, but her collection stood out from the rest for its attention to detail, including stunning feather shoulder pieces, exquisitely-executed ruffle work, and excellent vinyl and corset work. She really brought the drama, and of all the designers, most fully realized her vision. To top it off, she was the designer who finished her collection first out of her peers, and she presented the most looks - nine pieces, compared to most designers' six or seven. Like her aesthetic or not, this tiny Asian designer is definitely one to watch.

Hitomi Wong herself:

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