Entering the Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom at the Ohio Union and taking a seat at the end of a large x-shaped runway, the crowd around me buzzed with anticipation, eager to see the designs of Ohio State students come to life.
Settling down and preparing my camera and notebook, I looked around the room and almost did a double take.
On Saturday evening, the ballroom had been transformed by the Ohio State Fashion Production Association from a spacious room hosting university orientation sessions into a scene indicative of the glamour and opulence of New York Fashion Week.
Even the crowd was dressed to impress. Across the room, members of FPA, a flurry of intricate dresses and sparkling accessories, filed into their seating section, and I watched as a man sporting a bejeweled captain’s hat took a seat a few rows behind me.
The runway stretched out in front of me, lit by an ever-changing kaleidoscope of dazzling shades.
A few minutes past 8 p.m., the lights dimmed and the show began.
FPA’s 2014 show, titled “Incrementa: Seasons of the Self,” began with a short preview video, projected on four large screens set up around the room. The fashion film was a compilation of “behind the scenes” footage of models and images associated with nature and the four seasons.
The video ended to applause from the audience, and the two emcees entered the runway to introduce the first collection.
“Incrementa: Seasons of the Self” is a theme representative of the passage of time through the changing of the seasons. Members of FPA were challenged to incorporate their view of the four seasons into their designs to create a commentary on body image and confidence.
The show was divided into five collections. “Auró” (autumn), “Lumi” (winter), “Primavera” (spring), “Ardente” (summer) and “Nova.”
Each collection featured approximately 10 models wearing an original student-produced garment, although some collections such as “Primavera” and “Nova” featured more designs.
I was in awe of the finesse and clean execution of concepts showcased in each collection. While the garments grouped together all shared aspects such as general color scheme and similar materials to link them to the assigned season, each garment invoked a different persona.
My favorite collections were “Lumi” and “Nova.”
“Lumi,” the Finnish word for “snow” incorporated lush furs and fuzzy knits into a small, albeit cozy, collection.
The diversity of the designs in “Lumi” was the most impressive to me, as almost every garment appeared on the runway obscured by an overcoat or vest, only to be unveiled at the end of the model’s walk.
This choreography added an element of surprise to each design and kept the audience looking for little pops of detail hidden beneath the heavier winter fabrics.
The last collection, “Nova,” represented a more abstract concept compared to the rest of the show.
Described in terms of its cosmic origin, the word “Nova” was chosen to represent the future of fashion. The designs presented in this segment of the show drew upon the experiences of the past to create something truly innovative and futuristic.
The garments in the “Nova” collection were awe-inspiring. Featuring luxurious fabrics, rich colors and daring silhouettes, this portion of the show featured an experimental approach to classic designs.
From a translucent white dress featuring a show-stopping hoop skirt to a black evening gown with an open back draped in crystals and chains, the “Nova” designs challenged the everyday ideas of fashion in a myriad of ways.
The music, lighting and staging incorporated into each segment of the show was seamless and professional. For each season, a video compilation accompanied the models’ runway walks.
The videos accurately showcased the natural phenomena of the seasons, an aspect I think would have been absent in a stoic backdrop or photo slideshow.
While watching each model emerge from the curtain onto the light of the stage was fascinating, I found myself most entranced by the members of FPA seated across the runway.
Each time a new design was presented onstage, the look of pure joy that crossed each designer’s face was amazing.
I can only imagine the pride and accomplishment one must feel when a garment created from absolutely nothing is finished and shown onstage for the first time.
The hard work of the members of FPA was represented and acknowledged at the 2014 “Incrementa: Seasons of the Self” fashion show.
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