Kent State designers’ belle cirque no sideshow

Sarah James

Beaux Arts Ball aimed to push ‘creative freedom’ through fashion-palooza

Watch video from the Beaux Arts Ball.

The Beaux Arts Ball was composed of sequins, feathers, gems, ribbons, chiffon, lace, chains, shackles and whips.

The fashion show began at 9 p.m. Friday at the Student Center Ballroom, but preparations started months ago as the 71 designers ironed out every detail of their garments.

The circus-themed fundraiser was hosted by the Fashion Student Organization, the Interior Design Student Collaborative and the American Institute of Architecture Students.

The organizations sold more than 1,000 tickets. Eighty extra seats were set up on the balcony to accommodate the extra guests.

FSO president Morgan McMurrin said the circus theme was inspired by fashion shows she helped out with in New York.

“I thought it would be cool to bring to Kent,” McMurrin said. “We wanted something special and really different that the designers could really take control of and have creativity with.”

FSO treasurer Brittany Mizelle said the group picked apart different aspects of the circus and asked designers to pick a category, which included festive colors, dark acts and graceful entertainment.

“We thought it would give a lot of creative freedom to the designers,” Mizelle said. “We were really glad everyone else got as excited about it as we were.”

Winnie Sodhi, junior fashion merchandising major, modeled three designs during the show and relied on dressers to smooth transitions between outfits. She said she was nervous before she walked the runway.

“That (nervousness) goes away because you have those 20 seconds to shine and then you come back,” she said. “As I walk backstage, somebody will be putting something in my hair and on my shoes.”

Junior fashion design majors Cate Rinto and David Siedlarczyk based their “Joseph Merrick Gallimaufry” collection on the abstract shape of elephants. One garment was a romper constructed out of grey chiffon. The top featured a draped, face-obscuring scarf.

“The idea was geared into being repressed as an individual,” Rinto said. “They were in the circus. The idea was that you couldn’t be yourself. We wanted to encompass in our shapes that idea.”

After designers walked the runways with their models, FSO board members announced the winners.

Sophomore fashion merchandising major Tiffani VanDyke and senior fashion merchandising major Mallory Bartolic were named the top two models. Freshman fashion design major Will Riddle, junior fashion design major Jen Rentz and freshman fashion design major Kara Cronley were named the top three designers.

The “Untamable” group won the best design team title. The group was composed of sophomore fashion merchandising major Sharon Dranko, sophomore fashion design major Sean Rice and junior fashion design major Mike Pennick.

The team concocted a post-apocalyptic back-story behind its collection. The garments featured asymmetric leotards, dramatic silhouettes and shackles. The group used many rich, animal-like textures to convey the “Siberian” look.

“We said that they (models) are circus performers under slavery,” Pennick said.

Backstage, as the group celebrated its victory with shouts, hugs and camaraderie, Dranko said: “I’m wearing that leotard to class on Monday.”

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