WELL-VERSED AT RISD: Twenty-three Apparel Design seniors at the Rhode Island School of Design showed their collections Saturday in Providence, but for the second consecutive year the event was held on Brown University’s nearby campus.
By welcoming the 600 guests to an afternoon runway show at the George V. Meehan Auditorium, and then an evening one on the nearby Ivy League campus, RISD ensured that every guest had a front row seat. This year’s talent was selected by a jury made up of Laurie Brewer, associate curator of Costumes & Textiles for RISD Museum of Art; Gill Linton, chief executive officer and editor in chief of Byronesque; William Exaros director of visual merchandising for U.S. multibrand retail at Chanel, and Neil Gilks, associate dean of Fashion, Fashion Design at The New School’s Parsons School of Design.
As an added twist, RISD department head of apparel design Lisa Z. Morgan suggested students use creative writing to further explore “the experiential motivations behind their looks,” as they developed their collections. At the beginning of the fall semester, she asked each of this year’s seniors to consider how their collections would smell if it were a perfume or scent. She said, “Writing connected students more deeply to their emotions and intentions as designers and makers.”
For Matthew Streepy’s strung-together mountaineering look, that meant, “Twangy metal, Thud of a loosened cello string, A musty attic full of long unopened boxes…” and Bryn Lourie went with an open-back knit top with a ribbon tie as, “Ocean Spray, Hibiscus, Running Shoes at the Break of Dawn, Clean, Crisp, Clear…” Persephone Bennett paired a lavender open-knit gown and chunky pink vest with “cotton candy (girlhood) rotting corpses strawberry jam bait docks (clenched fist) pastry shops (blood, six vials) sulfur…”
Over the years, RISD alum have gone on to start their own fashion design labels including Nicole Miller, Sari Gueron, Katie Gallagher, Sally Lapointe, Robert Geller, Nicole Romano, Tess Giberson, Tae Ashida and Marcia Patmos.