From Sequins to Feathers, UT’s Fashion Seniors Show Off

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The audience members who filled more than 5,000 seats at the Frank Erwin Center last night may have been dressed to the nines—picture sky-high heels, trendy floral dresses, and bright-colored pants.

But they had nothing on the night’s real fashionistas: the designers of the high-fashion hodgepodge Contour, UT’s spring fashion show and senior showcase sponsored by the University Co-op. The annual show highlighted the collections of 23 Textiles and Apparel design seniors in the School of Human Ecology.

Among the attendees: guest of honor Carla McDonald, host of The Arts Minute on YNN; Ross Bennett, former Longhorn and now contestant on NBC’s Fashion Star; and surprise guest Brad Goreski, star of It’s a Brad Brad World on Bravo.

“Some of the members of the University Fashion Group met him while in New York and have kept in touch with some of his people, so they extended an invitation,” says Eve Nicols, Textiles and Apparel senior lecturer and the show’s director. “We weren’t sure if he would show up. He’s a national celebrity, and to have amazing celebrities at our show like that was unbelievable.”

But the real star power was on the catwalk. More than 120 looks barreled down the runway on models sporting slicked-back ponytails, allowing the garments to truly steal the spotlight. Each designer created a cohesive, three-part collection—which they gave titles ranging from Blooming Business to Striking Severity—as well as a bridal or evening gown and a knit garment. Aesthetically, the designers’ work varied from sexy to sporty to shocking.

Case in point: Jonathan Shakarisaz’s menswear collection—which was described as a “disco blood bath of fashion” in the program—featured a blood-stained T-shirt, a motorcycle helmet, and models carrying scissors up and down the runway.

Janie Kang's winning collection.

On the tamer side, Janie Kang’s “simple but elegant” blue, white, and yellow digital-print ensembles wowed the judges and earned her the award of best collection. (Her designs included a pair of printed pants, a hot current trend.)

Other trends spotted on the college runway: bandeau tops, rompers, and peplum skirts.

Known for launching grads to dizzying heights in the fashion world, UT’s Textiles and Apparel program used this year’s show to expand its reach. The entire show was filmed by the Longhorn Network, live webcast by Fashionably Austin, and live-blogged by Marie Claire Front Row Challenge winner and UT alum Diya Liu, BS ’11.

“The quality of the seniors’ work and of the production are beginning to become well-known,” Nicols says. “We are excited to have been able to extend that visibility using digital media.”

As the night wrapped up, Carla McDonald took the stage to say: “Keeping with the theme of Contour, I feel like fabulous careers are shaping up right here at The University of Texas.”

Read more on the rising-star status of the Textiles and Apparel program here.

Photos by Iris Camille Claudio.


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