'Distortion' Fashion Show features student designers stretching boundaries

'Distortion' Fashion Show features student designers stretching boundaries
Carol Lee, photo by Stacy Schwartz

Rapson Hall on the campus of the University of Minnesota became the Twin Cities fashion capitol this past Saturday, as fashionistas, local designers, students, and casual observers flocked to the the 43rd annual Senior Fashion Show. 

The theme of this year's event, "Distortion," challenged the designers to stretch the conventional boundaries of fashion both in terms of the looks presented as well as the fabrics and materials utilized. As a result, the crowd was treated to everything from the elegant to the extreme, with the 18 senior designers presenting their unique take on menswear, lingerie, twisted couture, and more.

The evening kicked off with a look at the next class of creative minds, as the junior designers presented their own take on the evening's theme. Fully embracing the challenge of stepping outside of the norm, the young designers pushed the limits and incorporated non-traditional materials that included melted, recycled crayons and wood.

'Distortion' Fashion Show features student designers stretching boundaries
Heather King, photo by Stacy Schwartz

Next, it was time for the main event as the evening's master of ceremonies, former local news anchor Robyne Robinson, took the stage to commend designers on the long hours and hard work that went into preparing for the event, as well as the culmination of four years of their education and development.

A handful of designers demonstrated a heavy African influence, with rich colors and unique accessories utilizing fur, feathers, and leather. Others chose to take a more traditional route, featuring ready-to-wear looks with a twist, incorporating bright colors and creative prints. The biggest reactions of the evening, however, were reserved for those that chose to really flex their creative muscles.

Designer Carol Lee shook things up with some of the most striking looks of the show, showcasing a number of extremely intricate and elaborate designs that demonstrated a fearless passion and vision for each and every piece.

Color palettes ranged from the loud to the subdued, but the most noteworthy of the evening had to be the designer who chose no color at all. Designer Heather King's line featured a "nude" theme, with a monochromatic color scheme of tan and beige and designs that emphasized the female form of each of her models. It was a daring and stark contrast to some of her fellow designers that paid off with an extremely memorable turn on the runway.

'Distortion' Fashion Show features student designers stretching boundaries
Autumn Kirchman, photo by Stacy Schwartz

The biggest crowd reaction of the evening, however, may have been for the show's final designer, Autumn Kirchman. Her designs featured a rebellious sense of character, with strong silhouettes and small details that exuded an attitude that grabbed the audience the second they laid eyes on them.

Regardless of your taste or knowledge of the fashion world, the Distortion fashion show provided something for everyone and proved that the U of M's College of Design continues to be a rich talent pool that will be leading the way for up-and-coming design talent for years to come.

Looking for more fashion? Photographer Stacy Schwartz snapped pics of all the hot looks the event had to offer. You can check it out at our slideshow: U of M 'Distortion' Fashion Show: Next crop of local designers? 

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