Couldn’t make it to NYC’s Lincoln Center this past February for fashion week, but love a good runway show? No worries. MICA student designers showcase boundary-pushing couture on catwalks near you this spring.
In April, two shows will feature MICA students’ garment and costume designs. The concept for Transcend, the 19th Annual Benefit Fashion Show at the Brown Center, is “a runway show that will explore the outward manifestation of the unconscious mind.” The students’ collections are a result of thinking about physical adornment as a reflection of the wearer’s emotional and spiritual mindset. Milquetoast, an Experimental Fashion Event at St. John’s Church, is the anything-but-timid culmination of the Experimental Fashion Concentration that combines runway fashion with live performances by costumed characters, projected video and music by DJ J-No and other musicians.
From the looks of the photos of the students’ collections, the designers didn’t limit themselves to upcoming trends. Sure, there are touches of this season’s popular floral and graphic prints and sheer, scarf-like fabrics, but experimentation and unconventional construction predominate the looks. Leanna Pascual alters traditional hemlines, creating angles that flatter women’s legs in less expected ways. Michela Reina modernizes what could have been an Edwardian-era dress with an embellished hip structure and seductive cutouts.
I’m going to indulge in a small name-drop to put the style talents of these students into a more expert context. Last fall I met Jay McCarroll, Project Runway winner and Baltimore-hosted Summit of Awesome 2011 keynote speaker, outside of Grand Central. We shared a cocktail over some fashion talk. Jay complimented the creativity and originality of fashion artists in Baltimore (and Philadelphia). I got the impression he sympathized with our local designers losing out on some well-deserved attention to the more notable cities in the industry.
With fashion-forward thinking happening right at our flatform-adorned feet, supporting local designers is a whole lot easier to pull off than the forthcoming “leather in spring/summer” trend. After all, we might lose these students to brighter lights and taller skyscrapers one day and wish we’d seen their shows when we had the chance.