Student designers own the runway

VPA's seniors show their inspiring collections at the spring fashion show

I had expected to see a huge amount of long gowns at Thursday night's VPA Fashion Show, maybe some pants, a pair of shorts. But I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of garments presented. There were a few knockout coats, fabulously textured dresses, and some patterned leggings (plain black tights, and there were a few, are complete throwaway piece for runway fashion).

The 35 senior students were expectedly on par with current trends: sheer skirts aplenty, wedges and thick heels replaced stilettos, and there was a fair share of colorblocking. A few brave souls tried to liven up the show with some bright colors, but neutrals dominated the runway.

It's one thing to watch a 50 piece collection from one designer, but watching so many different collections can be mentally exhausting. It's kind of like going to Forever21 on Black Friday an hour before closing. Clothes are everywhere and you try to make sense of them. Don't get me wrong, the collections were great, but 35 different inspirations and stories to tell in a row can be a little taxing. There were a few collections that stood out from the pack.


The Unique Top 5:

1. Joshua Eder-Hart showed some amazing coats with ruffles and pleats. He flaunted his versatility with gorgeously tailored coats and varying lengths of dresses. His collection showed off his technical skills; it's no surprise he was given the award for Superior Craftsmanship at the end of the night.

2. Many of the collections, through beautiful and crafted well, lacked the edginess that some designers encompass. Amanda Rhoads's collection, flipped pretty dresses upside down with her unconventional materials and use of weaving. Her pieces were modern and unique, though parents might want to cover the eyes of their young offspring. Body coverage was minimal and whips were involved.

3. Erin Marie Hedderman's collection was a tad more costume inspired than the others and featured beautiful laced up corsets. The constricting nature of the top was neutralized by a variety of flouncy skirts. Given the mini-hat accessories used, she might have been inspired by a darker Alice in Wonderland. Fittingly, the runway music chosen was Yeah Yeah Yeahs' “Heads Will Roll.”

4. Most of the all black collections were interesting and a pleasure to look at. Working with black can be tricky. With only one hue, it means you have to create interest through fabric choice and creating texture. Maxi Britt Roberts's all black collection was top of the dark clothes list. The garments evoked the feeling of Ashish's Spring 2012 RTW line, in which the model's boots were decorated with fresh flowers. Roberts creatively used what looked like bouquets of dried lavender peeking out of the models' pockets. Her impeccable styling taste showed through black hats pulled down almost over the models' eyes.

5. Peter Joshua Boskey's collection was another for the hit list. He showed his knowledge of all kinds of craftsmanship, from shorts to pants to varying lengths of skirts. Notably, he was one of only two student designers to not chose any heeled footwear (The other, Annie Petersen, brilliantly sent her models down the catwalk barefoot). Instead, Boskey opted for brown oxfords. The set looked well put together and entirely wearable.

Honorable mention garment: A jaw-dropping piece of the night for me was crafted by Emily Barnes. Her long sleeved tan colored crop top with a few color blocked stripes was paired with a long, high waisted skirt of the same color. When the model reached the end of the runway, she pushed down the bunched up sleeves, revealing them to be floor length. They trailed behind her and she strutted down the runway. The outfit was simple, in comparison to many other feats of design, but the performance element of dropping the sleeves made it stand out.  

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