Near the end of the first act of the School of Fashion Design–run Collection 2008 show, I tensed in my seat, waiting for an emaciated little man in an unbelievably angular haircut to materialize from one of the wings of the stage and shriek, “Oh, no you didn’t!”
SFD SHOWOFF: a design by Kevin Edson modeled by Alicia LaClair
Kevin Edson's “Supernova” gown had just hit the catwalk. It was a fabulous piece with a sculpture-like orange collar that bloomed out from the model’s neck, and it looked as if it was directly inspired by the couture dress Christian Siriano and Chris March designed for a Project Runway challenge this past season. Thankfully, Mr. Siriano, he of the “Hot fierce tranny mess I’m kind of a big deal!” catch-phrase explosions, was nowhere to be found. The model was free to strut down the length of the runway, which stretched across the Park Plaza Hotel’s grand Imperial Ballroom. Above, a twinkling crystal chandelier. All around, tables filled with the designers’ families and friends munching on fruit tarts as they gawked at the clothing. I watched, relieved, as the “Out Space” debut went off without a hitch and the gown disappeared behind a curtain.
Everything from the avant garde (Jene Demarco’s tube-dress made out of laminated pictures of Marilyn Monroe) to the completely wearable (Alexa Davis’s coordinated “21st-Century Vintage” pieces) was represented during the Saturday-afternoon performance. Sweatsuits transitioned into bathing suits and cover-ups, and a 3-D-design series pre-empted a long evening-wear segment. There were more than a few pieces I would have liked to tear off the models and take home with me: Eddi Phillips’s unbelievably lush line of evening wear (the theme was bubbles, the pieces themselves were black-and-gold, expertly tailored, and styled to perfection), Emily Gray’s “Gold & Tweed” mini-daywear collection, and Shannon Glasheen’s “ ‘Reconstruction Sight’ Designer’s Line Collection.”
Glasheen, 21, is a Boston resident who received a senior certificate from SFD this past year and took the school’s nine-credit advanced course this semester. After generating 125 sketches, she narrowed down her line to 25 conceptions and then sewed the five garments presented in the show. “I decided to make reconstructed recycled fabrics and reinvent the look of grunge from the ’90s,” she says. “I wanted to make it more feminine and modernize it, but still use the same shirts that were worn in the ’90s by finding them in thrift stores.” Glasheen found everything she needed at Boomerangs in Jamaica Plain and Urban Renewals in Allston — the plaid shirts she turned into short dresses came from the men’s department, and the Swiss-dot fabric that became half of a green-plaid tunic was converted from an old curtain. Glasheen is already planning another reconstructed collection, this time for winter, and is looking for freelance work.
I looked down at my navy, factory-manufactured Forever 21 shirt, which now seemed utterly boring compared with the contrasting outfits being paraded down the runway. “I saw things up there that I’d actually wear,” I heard one woman announce, half-shocked, as the models took their final turn and strutted off the stage.