Festival culture, Henri Matisse, luxury travel and fairies were just some of the design directives given to students of Otis College of Art and Design for the school’s 35th annual scholarship benefit and fashion show.
The event, held Saturday at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, drew a crowd of nearly 800 for cocktails and a silent auction followed by dinner and the fashion show, all to help raise scholarship funding for students of the college. The evening also paid tribute to Bally Americas chief executive officer Claudia Cividino with the creative leadership award and jewelry designer Daniela Villegas with the creative vision award.
“This event is a tribute to imagination, ingenuity and style of the next generation of designers,” said Gail Buchalter, chair of the Otis Board of Trustees.
Metamorphosis was the evening’s theme and “There is no better word to describe what’s happening at Otis College,” noted the school’s president Bruce W. Ferguson, as he ticked off the new residence hall on the Westchester campus and expanded student programs and services. Next year will be a big one for Otis as it rings in its 100th anniversary.
The highlight of the evening was, of course, the fashion show, comprised of work from juniors and seniors.
A total of 10 mentors helped guide Otis College students to create unique looks for the fashion show, each group tasked with a different directive to build a collection around as selected by their respective mentors.
“I’m back,” said Shanghai designer Chris Chang, who graduated from Otis in 1987.
Chang served as one of this year’s mentors, challenging a group of students to take Indigo textiles from Nantong, China and spin them into avant-garde designs.
“It’s just been a wonderful experience. I flew here once a month [since January] from China,” Chang said. “We tried to change the indigo fabrics into couture pieces.”
Marisol Gerona-Bradford, a 1993 Otis graduate, guided students as they built collections for the entire family that fused modern-day streetwear with NBCUniversal’s monsters from the horror and science-fiction series running from the Twenties through the Fifties.
Claire Pettibone, a 1989 graduate, encouraged her students to use vintage lace and hemp for lingerie, while Zaid Affas worked with students on luxury travel separates.
Other mentors included costume designer Albert Wolsky and a fairy-inspired collection of evening gowns; eveningwear designer David Meister, who helped students play with transparency and feathers in cocktail dresses; John Murrough of Los Angeles line Illia and a Tibetan-inspired sportswear collection; Cory Casella of Jessica Simpson, who worked with students on swimwear fits for festival season; Michi designer Michelle Watson, whose students drew inspiration from butterflies in activewear, and Red Carter, who asked students to create swimwear inspired by Henri Matisse.
Some of the looks from the evening will be available for viewing at the school’s annual exhibition Saturday.
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