At Fashion Focus: Dress Code

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Student fashion shows tend to be a lot more edgy than the rest of Fashion Focus fare, as students try their hand at different techniques, push boundaries, and generally ignore realities of the marketplace. What they come up with doesn't always work, but it tends to be a lot of fun to look at.

At Dress Code, which brought together students from Columbia College, the Illinois Institute of Art, the School of the Art Institute, and the International Academy of Design and Technology, themes of texture, unusual structure, and three-dimensionality were prominent.

From Columbia College: Bas Talaga included protruding, curved fabric panels on his futuristic pieces—in one case rising from a model's back like a dorsal fin. Alexis Aprati made skirts with the texture of pages in a book and pieces embroidered or appliqueed in the curling shapes of microscopic life.

Alexis Aprati
  • Alexis Aprati

From the Illinois Institute of Art: Amber Johnson's skirt made of overlapping squares and rectangles in a tweedy-looking fabric was a lighthearted take on the conservative office skirt.

Amber Johnson
  • Amber Johnson

Angie Ortega also played with the idea of the skirt, creating a high-waisted version with tiers like a wedding cake.

Angie Ortega
  • Angie Ortega

From the Art Institute: Olivia Kim took on menswear. She covered leggings with small pyramid-shaped structures, resulting in something like medieval armor inspired by a dragon's hide. Kelly Kroener sent men down the runway completely covered in burqa-like garments washed in watery pastels, giving us only a glimpse of their pale, hairy feet. It was cheeky, but I'm not sure the concept held water: you can't transfer the idea of the male gaze to women as if it had the fixed qualities of a math equation.

Kelly Kroener
  • Kelly Kroener

From the International Academy of Design and Technology: Jemelyn Smith sent out green and yellow dresses with bustiers that curled over, like peeled bananas and cucumbers. It was whimsical, but I'm not sure how many women want to resemble fruit. Maybe for Bjork?

Jemelyn Smith
  • Jemelyn Smith

All photos by me.

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