On Monday, April 27th, The Fashion Institute of Technology presented not one, but two showings of the designs of their top graduating students. FIT on the Catwalk, their annual runway event, took place at the school’s John E. Reeves Great Hall. Those attending the evening presentation were invited to sample various chocolate treats at a reception prior to the show. While waiters passed trays of brownies and chocolate hearts, the names of the winning student designers in the competition for awards from Cotton Inc. were announced. Five students received $1,000 each in prize money for the best use of cotton in a garment.
Just before 8 o’clock the guests began streaming into the adjoining venue for the runway presentation. They included such fashion luminaries as Zang Toi and Patricia Field, who were also serving as two of the judges determining other awards given to students for their designs. It was a standing room only crowd, which was impressive given the fact that this was the second showing of the student collections.
One never knows exactly what to expect of a student designer fashion show, but this one proved to be surprisingly delightful. No less than 113 garments were presented on the catwalk. They included creative representations in the categories of sportswear, special occasion, knitwear, intimate apparel, children’s wear, and fashion-forward menswear designed for Fall 2009. Students were mentored and critiqued in their final semester by industry professionals Dennis Basso, Nicole Miller, Alexander Wang, Rickie Freeman, Wenlan Chia, Jerry Dellova, Deborah Marquit, Carolina Zapf, Tim Hamilton, and Italo Zucchelli. The influence of these designers was apparent in a number of garments presented.
While some of the pieces were predictably over the top, many were fresh takes on classic looks, like the perfect little black cocktail dress by Kristen Kells. The lingerie offerings were elegant, finely detailed, and long on sex appeal. Josue Diaz III managed to craft powder blue cotton knit into a wedding gown that was at once unusual and utterly charming (it garnered him the Cotton Inc. award). What did not work quite so well was the menswear, which was presented for the first time in this year’s shows. All too often these looks appeared boxy and somewhat ill fitting. This was also the first year that the models were accessorized with creations by FIT Accessories Design students.
Ultimately the night belonged to a charismatic group of children who modeled the children’s wear with considerable aplomb. They stole the show, walking the catwalk in styles that ranged from hoodies and jeans to a multi-tone chiffon party dress with matching gloves.
– Rhonda Erb