by Kate Radin
Photography by Angela Wang
Backstage during intermission at Boston University’s Fashion and Retail Association’s Hollywood Glam Fashion Show, designer Madeline Swan (CAS ’17) was abuzz with nervous energy, waiting to debut her first-ever collection of corsets.
“Terrified,” Swan said, in response to being asked how she felt before going on stage. “I’m horrified.”
The reason behind her fear was simple: the almost 200 well-dressed spectators flocking each side of the stage and the 50 VIP guests who occupied five tables with white tablecloths at the end of the runway. Ten minutes later, Swan’s fears passed as she presented a collection of four pieces, inspired by her love of history and intricately detailed with ribbons lacing up their backs.
14 student designers, including Swan, presented a total of 11 collections this past Friday night for friends, family and fashion enthusiasts at Metcalf Hall in the GSU.
Guests were treated to live music from the band Houseboat and BU a cappella group Chordially Yours, as well as cupcakes, brownies and popcorn. All attendees also received a gift bag filled with goodies and coupons. Six raffle prizes, ranging from estimated costs of $350-900, were additionally up for grabs.
Of course, the highlight of the show was the very reason everyone was there to begin with—the collections.
Cassidy Randall (COM ’18), who was credited by several designers for teaching them how to sew and preparing them for the show, kicked off the event with an impressively large line of ten looks. A personal favorite was a distressed yellow tulle midi-skirt with a coordinating rose-patterned halter top, which had a “Disney princess goes punk” feel to it.
The backing track of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” soon turned to Lana del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” for Socheata Huy (Questrom ’17) to take the stage, with three intricate pieces that included the very stylish, thinly pleated maxi skirt and a white-gold sequin crop top, Huy’s favorite piece that she created for the show.
Amy Xie and Yuhan Yang, both freshman in BU’s College of Arts and Sciences, presented two separate, one piece collections inspired by their shared Chinese culture. Xie’s look included gold calligraphy detailing on a red maxi skirt, while Yang’s featured a slip style silvery-white gown and wide-sleeved, sheer purple robe.
FAB’s PR and Marketing Specialist Jocelyn Roseman (Questrom ’18), who was in charge of acquiring brands to donate for raffle prizes and goodie bags, also helped partner FAB with two brands to present collections of their own—Mint Julep, owned by BU graduate Brooke Garber (COM ’01) and Ministry of Supply, which was created by three MIT graduates.
Roseman’s favorite part of the show was the Mint Julep line, but she had praise for all of the student designers taking part in the show, particularly those remaining cool in the chaos of backstage.
“All the lines are just so great, so different,” said Roseman. “To see the craziness that comes out of someone’s mind, for the designers to be able to put these ideas on the runway, it creates such a diverse show for our audience.”
The Ministry of Supply line was the only men’s collection and featured five looks modeled to Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy”—including, to the audience’s laughter, the DJ, Calvin Chen, who stepped out from behind his mixing table to strut and the Buzz’s own Stephen Vocaturo, who was finally in front of the camera instead of behind it, his cheekbones receiving all the attention they deserve.
Dheandra Jack’s (CAS ’16) all white collection had a Rihanna-esque influence with sweatpant-style cotton pants complete with cutouts down the side and a faux-fur bikini top. Gabby DiPietro and Jami Rubin (both CFA ’19) and Juliana Roche and Simon Ko (both Questrom ’17) lit up the runway, each collection featuring shimmering gold pieces the reflected the catwalk lights in almost a disco ball effect.
Arguably, the two collections that stole most of the audience attention were Emma Bowers’ (CAS ’17) line of bomber jackets and Zahra Shivji’s (COM ’17) collection Mariam Z.
Strutting to “Diamond Dogs” by David Bowie, Bowers’ models turned up the sass about ten notches and transformed Sandra Dee into ‘You’re the One that I Want’ with rejuvenated walks and sunglasses perched on their noses. A comic strip patterned jacket and a black and white checked jacket with red zipper detailing were standouts, as was the sheer black sweatshirt-styled top with a lace front.
Shivji, who co-designed and presented her collection her mother, and served as a preview for their company, Mariam Z, which is officially launching this summer. A dressed-up version of athleisure, the collection highlighted an array of cape-style jackets, mesh fabrics and ways to dress up black leggings—something BU students everywhere should take note of.
From start to finish, Hollywood Glam was a thrill and served as a clear reminder that on BU’s campus there is more than Bean boots and parka jackets.