As I sat front row alongside a starkly black runway contrasting against the ethereal background of pink and purple clouds, I had to pinch myself and remember where I was. If not for the gymnasium floor peeking out from under the beige floor covering, I never would have known I was on a college campus. From the VIP party prior to the show, to the lighting and scenic design of the set, through every moment of the well-choreographed show, I felt like I was at a trendy, well-known designer’s show at NYC fashion week! In reality, I was waiting for Marymount University's annual Portfolio in Motion fashion show, which is a cumulative project for the students showcasing their designs, to begin.
In this year's Portfolio in Motion fashion show, themed "Reverie," the young fashion designers (ranging from sophomores to seniors, and even one alumna of the program) brought a fresh perspective on popular trends that were both funky and beautiful. Big tassel statement earrings are one of those trendy fads. Scene nine “Night Think” featured the designer’s line of enormous statement earrings that dropped from the models' jaw line to their shoulders. They were exaggerated, colorful pieces that popped against the simple black t-shirts and leggings that served as a neutral backdrop. The accessories weren’t just earrings -- they were pieces of art that you wouldn't blink to see hanging on the walls at the MoMa. I couldn’t keep my eyes off them.
Several other lines stood out, including the line by senior designer Shatha Abulohom. The five outfits which featured bright red, yellow, navy and grey belong in the window displays at Zara. The color combination and asymmetrical shapes were trendsetting. Both my colleague and I commented that we would purchase the designs straight off the runway and wear them in everyday life.
Monique Casimiro, another senior designer, presented her line of wedding dresses to close out the show. It was an amalgamation of traditional bridal white and delicately pale colored gowns; think lavender, blush and "something blue." The subtle hues of the pale blush and blue dresses had a unique wedding look, yet remained very feminine and traditional thanks to the tulle and lace fabrics used. The 22-year-old from Purcellville, Virginia plans to work in the area when she graduates while she prepares to go to grad school. She hopes to one day “teach people this craft.” With an imagination taking her out of this world, Monique shared with me that one of her most notable inspirations is Star Wars. And that passion shone through in one of her pieces that was presented in Scene 4, “Lucid.” There were three that dresses lit up when the stage lights went down. Monique’s piece was a mermaid wedding dress with LED panels; it was Princess Leia elegant, yet R2D2 futuristic.
Monique’s dress was presented next to a peach gown with an LED skirt by her fellow graduating senior, 21-year-old Amani Farguhar of Stafford, Virginia. Amani knew she wanted to be in fashion since she was young and first started sewing. One of her most famous inspirations is Ellie Saab. Amani’s final line in the show featured three black-tie dresses in blush with red trims, each accenting a different section of the gown: one had a lace train, the next with puff sleeves and the third with a draping on the hips. It was certainly clear from where she drew her artistic inspiration for this line. After graduating, Amani will head to New York City for an internship with designer Maggie Norris.
But it wasn’t just the fashion and scenic design that was so professional; it was the organization and planning that went into the production by the students in their respective concentrations. The entire show was student-run, from the designs to the models, the choreographers and the publicity of the event. It was presented with elegance and tact well beyond their years. And of course, it isn't a fashion show without models, and I was pleasantly surprised at how several of the models already moved their bodies with the grace of a professional who had spent years on a runway. We expect we will see big things from these Marymount grads in the coming years!