Saturday April 16 marked the 38th annual fashion show at Cazenovia College. The event, titled “Runway Rhapsody” was sponsored by Syracuse-based clothing company Dreissig Apparel and held at the Cazenovia College’s Schneewiess Athletic Complex. A matinee production took place at 2:30 p.m. while the evening show was put on at 7:30 p.m.; each to a packed crowd of college students, staff and community members.
The shows, which were simultaneously webcast, included artfully crafted garments from students spanning all levels of the school’s Fashion Design program. The event’s Producer, Assistant Professor of Fashion Design Laurabeth Allyn, acted as the event emcee and offered insight to the school’s growing fashion department.
“One of the things about the show I’m most proud of is how much of it is student run. Other than the lighting, the music and production aspects, everything else is students; the promotional materials, the models, the designers and directors.” Allyn said. “I’m really proud of that, I think it makes it successful. But it is also one of the aspects that make it hard. One of the things we have to look at for next year is how big it’s become. It’s not necessarily as feasible as it has been in the past for 25 students and one professor to put on.”
The show itself is the examination for a class at Cazenovia College. Students enrolled in the course “Fashion Production Management” are assigned to coordinate different aspects of the large-scale production. While it was the work of the Fashion Design program students on display, students of the college’s Business Management-Fashion Merchandising program handled all logistical aspects of the event. Allyn said the show is an entirely self-sufficient endeavor, with production costs totaling $20,000. Ticket sales, and sponsorship from area businesses fund each year’s show.
Graduating senior and BM-FM major Erica Marchese was the Student Director of this year’s show. Having participated in two previous productions, Marchese said this event was greatly improved from her freshman year experience. “I think the show was really great this year. The fashion department is definitely getting more recognition around campus,” she said. “We were very organized, and the designer’s collections were fantastic. I think people noticed how much work it takes.”
The event was of a high production value and well orchestrated by the faculty and student organizers. The school gymnasium was transformed into an industry showroom with lights and large screens projecting live video of the runway. Members of Syracuse’s Visual Technologies handled the filming, lighting, staging and music during the show.
The modeling began with the underclass garments. 46 designers displayed their semester’s worth of works with the help of student models. The clothes were categorized into six different musical genres including Hip Hop, Techno, Jazz, Pop, Classical and Rock.
Senior designers displayed their collections, the culmination of the skills they had acquired during their four years as students of the Cazenovia College fashion program. Each of the 10 seniors has chosen a theme for their collections and created five to seven outfits to showcase. The collections and designers included “Element Chic” by Essence Latifah Todman; “Dreaming Out Loud…” by Julie Christine-Anne Forbes; “Resurrection of Our Staggered Realities” by Isaac H. Schweitzer; “If Looks Could Kill” by Allison Warejko, “In the Eye of the Beholder” by Nicole Modaferi; “Gilded Menagerie” by Susan Kimberly Watson, “The Flawed Edge of Beauty’s Consciousness” by Katherine Mahoney; “One Heel in the Foxhole” by Kate Walsh; “Pumps on Wet Pavement” by Heidi Neuhauser as well as “Life in Plastic” by Laura Dean Croucher.
The show has grown a considerable amount in recent years, Allyn said. Just six years ago the fashion show venue was the school’s cafeteria, with only 400 in attendance. Four years ago, Allyn first arrived at Cazenovia College, she observed only one student receiving a degree from the fashion department. This year, an estimated 1,400 people attended the two fashion shows, 10 seniors will graduate from the Fashion Design program and 17 seniors will receive degrees from the Fashion Merchandising program.
For more information on Cazenovia College’s fashion programs and department instructors, visit the school’s website at cazenovia.edu. The last day of classes at the college will be May 2 this year, followed by a week of final examinations. The 186th commencement ceremony will be held Saturday May 14.