This past weekend SCAD students, journalists, fashion industry professionals and one very famous 2016 SCAD Étoile honoree all flocked to Savannah for the fashion department’s biggest event of the year: the annual SCAD fashion show. This prestigious event, which holds two runway shows, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., always manages to sell out weeks in advance. The annual show, held this year at the Trustees Theater, represents the best final fashion collections SCAD has to offer.
The process for selection is grueling. One year of concept and research development, designing endless looks, 3D prototyping of their selected garments and completing the final collection all comes down to the weekend of jury selection, where students present their collections in front of a panel. By the following Monday, less than a week before the fashion show, the designers find out whether their endless nights working in the fashion labs earned them a place in the esteemed event. Of the hundreds of seniors including B.F.A, M.A. and M.F.A. students across three campuses, a mere 40 were chosen. This was also the first year fashion students from the Hong Kong campus were eligible to participate in the show.
As attendees took to their seats, they were handed a beautifully designed pamphlet designed in shades of white, gold and screaming pink. Guests anxiously fidgeted in their seats waiting for the lights to dim and the show to start. However, something, or rather someone, was missing. Then, over the speaker system, an enthusiastic voice announced the entrance of Carolina Herrera, legendary fashion designer and this year’s SCAD Étoile honoree– an award given to the biggest, most trendsetting designers in fashion. Herrera, accompanied by the Dean of the school of fashion Michael Fink, walked down the aisle to her seat amidst the loud claps and shrieks of joy that vibrated throughout the theater. After the burst of excitement over seeing a glimpse of the prolific Herrera settled down, the lights dimmed, catwalk illuminated and music commenced. The moment everyone had been waiting for was finally here. The show was starting.
A loud strumming started as the first models advanced down the runway, then quickly overlaid with a lighter xylophone-esque tone. Overall, the electronic music set an energetic tone equivalent to the show itself. The garments were eclectic and diverse, representing the different design aesthetics of the creators. From beautifully draped, flowing gowns to armoured-inspired attire, futuristic shapes and fabrics to downtown punk streetwear, garments for every aesthetic preference were featured. The only cohesive aspects working to unify the looks were the models’ pulled back, twisted buns that extended down to the neck and their glittering gunmetal eyelids.
A pleasant surprise was the number of menswear looks featured in the show, making for a diverse collection of garments. A few notable standouts were Bayan Sardari’s undulating layers of white foam from her senior M.A. collection, “Poetics of Movement.” The softness of the fabric is transformed into an exoskeletal appearance through extreme fabric manipulations. B.F.A. senior Alessandra Jourdan took to using sustainable cork for her collection, proving that fashion can be beautiful without contributing to the industry’s devastating toll on the environment.
Although the clothing was inspired, the show wouldn’t have been complete without the jewelry, purses and shoes that complimented the models so beautifully. These works were also created by SCAD students completing their accessory design degrees. SCAD, noticing the current “shop the runway” trend, capitalized on that idea by creating a pop-up shop in the theater where attendees could purchase alumni jewelry in person or, if watching virtually, via the SCAD app.
Typically, in the fashion industry, most models are nameless. They are walking coat hangers, there to only further cater to the creative aesthetic of the designer’s collection. However, one would be remiss not to mention and validate the hard work of the SCAD student models. Their enviable struts were the result of hours of training with Miss J Alexander, former model and judge on “America’s Next Top Model.” Their garments, perfectly tailored to their bodies as a result of hours of fittings, as well as their required attendance at critiques and the jury selection.
Here are the looks from the 2016 SCAD fashion show!