‘Cutting Edge’ 2012: Patrons purchase handiwork of student designers for scholarships

By Blanca Morales


For the first time in “Cutting Edge” history, guests were allowed to purchase the designers’ collections following the runway show that took place Monday, April 23, at Marriott Rivercenter Hotel.

Proceeds from the silent auction (including retail donors such as Neiman Marcus, Julian Gold, and Langford Market), runway clothing purchases, and other sponsorships, contributed to academic scholarships for the fashion department at the University of the Incarnate Word.

The 32nd annual edition of the “Cutting Edge Fiesta Fashion Show” featured eight graduating students from UIW’s Fashion Management program. They presented their senior collections to a full house in hopes of scoring top spots in Construction, Design, and Best of Show.

Produced by UIW’s Fashion Show Production class, the students put on a top-to-bottom “industry standard, professional runway show,” including arrangement of model castings, stage and technical coordination, and advertising, to name just a few elements of the overall production.

The culmination of a yearlong process — including a pre-collection of 12 illustrations, pattern development, sample garment construction, and finished garment construction — the designers unveiled the pinnacle of their student work before the Alamo City’s most fashion-forward.

KSAT-12 anchor Ursula Pari, mistress of ceremonies, welcomed the bustling crowd on that “fine Fiesta Monday” as attendees found their places at sponsored round lunch tables or individual seats. The energy and excitement in the room was palpable as media crews, undergraduate ushers from UIW’s Fashion Management program, and last-minute guests took their seats in the dimming lights. Pari greeted the audience and introduced the present Fiesta royalty, including Miss Fiesta 2012, Katie Rivera, a communication arts major at UIW.

The first collection showcased, “Ethical Elegance” by Sarah Stevens, featured socially responsible designs, constructed from fair trade, hand-woven Cambodian silk in rich jewel tones such as royal purple and electric blue. Tulip skirts, strapless jumpsuits, and sweetheart necklines made a delicate, yet powerful juxtaposition — especially noted in Stevens’ use of this spring’s biggest trend — color-blocking.

Following Stevens, “Femme de Cirque,” Paige Digiovanni’s daywear collection recalled images of its namesake “woman of the circus” with princess bodices and tuxedo-style details. Mixed metal embellishments, high waists, and geometric paneling along the waist kept the collection both modern and figure-flattering.

Heather Fitzgerald, designer of the third collection, titled “Apsinthion Aristocrat,” showed her flair for larger-than-life, 18th-century silhouettes and combined them with gritty leather accents for a modern romantic vibe. Gathered chiffon in neutral tones contrasted sharply with exaggerated pleats and voluminous stand-up collars.

The following set, “Bold Elegance,” underlined feminine simplicity. Veronica Hernandez’s collection featured mix-and-match separates in wool crepe, hand-dyed chiffon and organza accents. Swarovski crystals and sequin details spiced up staples such as cigarette pants, front-slit pencil skirts, and a boat-neck dress in her after-five collection.

Adriana Mendez’s collection, “Fantôme,” was clearly inspired by the sartorial theatrics of the Victorian era. Set to the dark thumping electro pop of the British group, Ladytron, this collection felt simultaneously new and old, groundbreaking yet classic. Combining “a sense of romance and morbid beauty,” Mendez used lace, silk, taffeta and chiffon to add dramatic shaping to gothic standbys such as veils and capes. Mermaid-style gowns and form-fitting bustiers rounded out her evening collection.

Christiana Lazarine’s “Northern Exposure” was the sole outerwear collection. Faux fur and wool coats in neutral tones such as creamy beige, tan and pale pink recalled visions of snow-capped mountains and luxurious ski resorts. Her designs ran the gamut from double-breasted, to three-tiered, to pleated Herringbone. Pom-pom accents and detachable collars provided eye-catching detail.

Ricki Martin’s collection, “Return to the Silk Road,” was inspired by the Far East. Long, silky sashes whipped as the models pranced down the runway in vibrant blues, whites and blacks. Heavy Oriental brocade and tassels contrasted sheer, lightweight organza overlays.

The show rounded out with “Siempre de Paseo,” Adelle Stivalet’s resortwear collection. Her collection’s high-waisted pants, capelets, and tight skirts in linen and light silks are timeless — and particularly fitting for a day at the beach or lake.


  Best of Show: Christiana Lazarine.

   Design: Christiana Lazarine, first; Heather Fitzgerald and Adelle Stivalet; and Adriana Mendez, third.

  Construction: Christiana Lazarine, first;  Paige Digiovanni, second; and Adelle Stivalet, third.

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