Fashion School hosts annual show, ‘Visionaire’

McKenzie Jean-Philippe

Walking into Rockwell Hall on Friday night, the second floor of the campus’ acclaimed Fashion School was transformed.

Instead of the space used to get to and from classes throughout the week, the halls were turned into a catwalk to showcase the designs of students in the Fashion School’s Annual Fashion Show.

Beginning in the school’s largest lecture hall, models walked in front of a white backdrop, accented with hundreds of white paper flowers. Lights with colors of pink and purple highlighted the runway, as models continued into the halls lined with chairs for guests.

The simplistic design executed this year’s “Visionnaire” theme.

“I loved Valentino’s au-couture show that he did last year in New York,” said Jess Ballas, senior co-producer of the show and fashion merchandising major. “It was beautiful and all white, crystal-clear, just focused on the garments. So we kind of changed things up with how we look at and invison things. We viewed things in a different light and really tried to put focus on the garments by making things all white.”

A sold-out crowd of 400 guests were treated to a show of 52 separate looks that displayed Kent State fashion students’ talent and eye for evening wear, sustainable design and casual wear.

This number does not include the 17 collections that were shown, each having four to eight separate looks.

Models, who were also Kent State students, walked up and down the runway displaying garments of various styles and colors. Each piece was unique, offering the audience something new to look at each time a model walked down the runway.

“I was amazed by it honestly,” said Erin Wheatley, a freshman fashion merchandising major. “The show was really cool. Every single line was different, and I personally want to be in it now that I’ve seen it.”

Prospective Kent State student and junior in high school, Shae Bernard, said she was equally impressed.

“There were a lot of different ideas that you don’t think of very often. I thought every designer stood out,” Bernard said.

Throughout the sea of dresses, silk and high heels, came a surprise in senior fashion design major Melissa Molnar’s collection which displayed kidswear.

Children aged 4 to 6, pranced up and down the runway, displaying Molnar’s looks while dancing, posing and showing adorable smiles. This allowed the audience to take a momentary break from the serious attitude taken on when observing fashion-forward looks.

“It’s very intense,” said Sonseeahray McHenry, model and senior fashion design major. “There are a lot of quick changes. Once you get backstage, it’s crazy.”

McHenry modeled four different garments on Friday night, including her own. This was the last show for the model and designer, who has participated in the show for the past four years.

The talent in Kent State’s Fashion School was perfectly displayed, leaving the audience impressed and Ballas proud.

“The BFA has been working on this for the past year,” Ballas said. “It’s so crazy to see everything come to life, and it’s so beautiful to see the team work together. All of my vision and the team’s vision came to life so I’m so pleased.”

Contact McKenzie Jean-Philippe at [email protected].