March 30, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 32°F


Club fashions designer show

Freshman Mimi Niggel rehearses her runway walk in her street clothes Sunday in Dillingham Center for the HiFashion Studios fashion show. The show features student fashions. Rachel Orlow/The Ithacan

Ithaca College students will soon trade in their street clothes for spectacularly tailored attire to assume the roles of runway models, wearing outfits that run the gamut from prêt-a-porter labels like Guess, Calvin Klein and Brooks Brothers on loan from local vendors to student-designed couture clothes collections.

More than 30 models will strut their stuff on the runway Monday night for HiFashion
Studios’ first ever fashion show, “Strangers Into the Night.” This show is the first show hosted by HiFashion Studios since it became a student organization in Fall 2010.

In addition to the fashion show, members have worked on promoting their online magazine, fashion editorials and website. However, the bulk of the group’s work this semester has been focused on producing and executing the fashion show.

Sophomore Pedro Maldonado, creative director of the fashion show and interim president, said he is confident this fashion show will set the bar for all shows to follow, hopefully making it an annual event. While Maldonado was also involved with last year’s fashion show by Maestro Productions — another fashion club which disbanded last year — this is his first year planning a fashion show as a member of the executive board.

The theme for the show, “Strangers Into the Night,” was conceived by Maldonado from Frank Sinatra’s song “Strangers in the Night”, which is about a chance romantic encounter.

“We wanted to do something romantic and cool — relaxed,” he said. “[It’s] the age of Sinatra in a suit and a fedora, where the girl was always really well-dressed and everybody looked really fabulous.”

The theme of the show focuses mainly on the juxtaposition of male and female roles in society, through contrasts and comparisons as explored by the different collections. From a ’50s style collection to a set celebrating androgyny, the clothing and models will be exploring the effect of gender constructs and how society views and interprets them.

The show will also feature a tribal, East-meets-West collection and a haute couture collection, along with three student-designed collections reflecting the individual tastes of each designer.

Junior Bianca Lupi is one of the student designers featured this year. She designs as a hobby. It is her third year involved with a fashion show for the college and her second year as a designer. Her collection consists of three complete outfits she has sewn and fitted to each of her models that reference classic Hollywood with an all-American style.

Lupi is also the fashion design executive at HiFashion Studios and is strong proponent of extending the creative process to anyone at the college. She said even though this is her second year designing, she wants students to know the group is open to everyone.

“We’re open to people who may not know how to sew yet or how to design yet,” she said. “Our group is expanding its design element, and we’re definitely open to teaching anyone who wants to join.”

The runway itself will also be intricate, featuring a winding path that will span all of Emerson Suites. Instead of walking the traditional straight runway, the models will cross paths. Maldonado said the design was influenced by the Metro-inspired style of the Prada Fall 2010 show for New York Fashion Week.

The fashion show will mark the culmination of the hard work of the entire crew, from the technical crew to the models who will be sashaying down the runway during the show.

Freshman Mimi Niggel said she auditioned for the show on a whim. She will be featured prominently as one of the runway models in the theatrical opening scene to the show, as well as walking in the androgynous collection and opening for the haute couture collection.

“We practiced every Sunday, and we’ve put a lot of work into the show — it’s going to be awesome when it all comes together that night,” she said.

Senior Bernard Koranteng, the group’s head of finance, said the fashion show provides a venue which combines art, business and communications skills.

“All majors on campus can come together through a common interest,” he said.

Attendees will be able to purchase front-row “VIP” seating along the runway for $5, while regular seating is available for $2 pre-sale and $3 at the door. There will be 117 VIP seats available for purchase at the event.

A portion of the money raised will be donated to the Garden of Dreams Foundation, a non-profit organization that works with Madison Square Garden to donate tickets to children will illnesses or poverty.

Sophomore Bernadette Carter, who was involved with Maestro Productions’ fashion show last year as a runway model and who is returning to walk in two of the collections this semester, said fashion is a daily self-expression.

“To embrace every level, every quality of beauty — that’s what fashion is all about,” she said. “Going out there and being bold and taking chances, being comfortable with who you are in your skin — that’s what we’re doing.”

If you Go

Strangers Into the Night

When: 7 p.m. Monday

Where: Emerson Suites

How much: $2-$5