Designers Celebrate 25 Years on the CatwalkNovember 11, 2009 —
Each year, the members of the student run Cornell Design League (CDL) create fashion magic in their spring fashion show, transforming our own Barton Hall into something a little bit more like Bryant Park. This year’s “Once upon a Runway” marked the 25th anniversary for CDL. Senior designer Mayra Alatorre said, “This year’s organization has been extremely strict with many deadlines to make sure we have a great 25th anniversary show. Now we have deadlines for everything from sketches to muslin prototypes to the final thing.” In the weeks leading up the show, CDL newbies and veterans alike stepped up to the new, rigorous guidelines with grace (and all nighters in the studio) to pull off another impressive show.
The beauty of CDL, is that it gives all students the opportunity to design and create their own unique design aesthetic in a professional and high-energy environment. Many designers are, of course, students in the Fiber Science & Apparel Design program (FSAD), looking to get a realistic taste of the fashion industry. Others are still new to sewing itself, as Christine Erie ’11, a premed student and newcomer to CDL, explains: “I’ve come a long way from reading my machine instruction manual and youtube-ing how to thread a sewing machine.”
Design and Environmental Analysis (DEA) freshman and winner of the annual runway competition, Kelton Minor, designed the runway itself. This contest, which opened to the student public back in first semester, required a basic sketch and an explanation on the concepts behind it. Several weeks before the show, Minor explained that his design was driven by the intrigue of dynamic lighting conditions combined with a transparency to “allow clear visual access to both the models and the modeling process.”
The runway was constructed just two short days, a process that included the help of professional climbers to suspend the lighting system from ceiling joists. in the minutes leading up to the show, Minor said the translation of the design was “virtually perfect.” For those of you who missed out, there was a large panel on each side of the runway that showed the silhouettes of the approaching and exiting models, creating a flowing backdrop for each model that came down the runway.
As usual, the show was comprised of four sections, beginning with the First Level, in which new designers show one look each. The 33 designers of CDL’s First Level opened up the show with providing enough diversity to suit anyone’s taste. From feathers, to a neon motorcycle outfit, intermixed with wearable every-day looks, the First Level brought a bombardment of different perspectives and inspirations. The second year designers brought in a more tame and mellow Level Two. With two looks each, we were able to see consistencies of color, form, or texture within each designer’s pieces, illustrating their creative intent and interest. With a line of up to six looks, Level Three designers each transmitted a unique, culturally-inspired theme apparent in every design. Finally, the Fourth Level of show brought in eight full lines by senior and graduate design students. From Heber Sanchez’s strong and ominous menswear collection to the playful three-designer team up in “Circus,” each impressive line told a vivid story that became more clear with every successive look that came down the runway.
For the intense work and planning that went into to this year’s anniversary show, CDL designers have more to take away than just bragging rights to a week-long buzz on campus. The members of CDL have the unique experience of putting together a successful, profession fashion production.
In discussion of his future in fashion, Haber Sanchez gushed that he is both excited and nervous for the cutthroat industry, but CDL has been a good transition for what lies ahead.
Author: Molly Cronin and Danielle Czrimer