by Paddy Ghaemi
Photography by Paige Miller
This past Friday I had the privilege to attend the Dimension Open House to meet this year’s senior designers and get a sneak peak of their collections. The designers presented their evening wear, which is just one of the many pieces they have been working on throughout the year and will present at this year’s annual fashion show: Dimension. Dimension will take place on April 26, 2018, at the Frank Erwin Center, where the senior designers’ collections will be celebrated and judged. Mark your calendars to see their designs in person, and continue reading for an introduction to the senior designers and a little background on their collections and creative processes.
Alexandra Hill makes dresses look overrated with her asymmetrical jumpsuit. Her inspiration for the piece is proportions that create contrast with each other.
It’s a bold design that speaks sophistication and elegance. When asked who she sees wearing her piece Alexandra said, “Tracee Ellis Ross,” and I couldn’t agree more. Her jumpsuit is perfect for such a strong and empowering woman. Alexandra’s collection is one to look out for this April.
The dress Alexandra brought to the open house was an elegant and classic piece. Her creative process includes structure and movement. The dress has a bias gown and dart-structured sleeves.
Her inspiration for her collection is pottery. We can expect a silk wool blend of fabrics, off-whites and fluid shapes that have structure. Her pieces are a wearable art — functional and artistic. Her target market is business appropriate evening wear that’s classy yet flirty.
Arden’s piece is something she holds close to the heart and describes as “the light at the end of a tunnel,” as her inspiration was her own “emotions and anxieties.”
Arden created a classic look with a little edge. It’s a beautiful silk dress that has chain straps. This designer wants the dress to embody how we all strive to be classic and beautiful. It is a truly timeless piece, a dress I immediately pictured on a movie star on the red carpet.
When I walked up to Anne’s dress I immediately felt the need to put it on, go to a local diner, get myself a nice milkshake, and jam out to some Elvis Presley — straight out of a scene from Grease. Anne’s dress is inspired by 1950s kitchens and interior designs. Her mood board is covered in pastels and interior colors. The back of the dress becomes flirty with the addition of the cowl back, really giving the classic look some depth. In her collection, we should expect to see some classic chic looks that have us nostalgic for a past decade.
Like a modern rendition of Starry Night, Clare Robinson’s dress is accented with intertwined organza that uses the same shades of blue as Van Gogh.
Clare’s midnight blue ball gown is a work of art. I can only imagine wearing it and having a night full of magic. Clare’s collection is feminine, beautiful, and dreamy. Get ready to have your breath taken away.
Ellie’s dress is a polished look that radiates grace. Its bold hue of yellow creates a sense of intensity and optimism. At the bottom of the dress, she combined anemone and poppy flowers, giving the perfect accent to the perfect dress. Ellie’s inspiration comes from a Wes Anderson short film called “Hotel Chevalier.” What to expect from the rest of her collection? Colorful pieces that create a vibrant ambiance.
Giselle Villarreal created a wedding dress that is fashion-forward and traditional all at once. It is romantic, exciting and sexy. A dress one can feel beautiful in.
What’s the inspiration you may ask? A Frida Kahlo’s portrait which just so happened to have the rainforest in the background. So why not create a dress that resembles a tall tree with its strong roots and the plants growing around it? The ruffles at the bottom of the dress are made of horsehair that gives dimension to the form-fitting dress. When asked who she sees wearing this dress, Giselle said quite honestly, “my friends.”
Lindsay Stewart has added a new dimension to the boho outdoor wedding. With an inspiration that comes from the elegance, beauty, and agility of a deer. It’s a dress for a nontraditional bride, a free spirit. The dress is a bodysuit with a gown overlaying it. The sleeves come up around the shoulders creating antlers. This effect was achieved by wire that Lindsay hand-stitched into the bodysuit material.
On the skirt of the dress, she hand-stitched appliqué that emphasized the earthy natural themes of the dress. Her collection is expected to be something beautiful, creative and functional. Ideally one should be able to wear these avant-garde pieces and feel gorgeous yet comfortable.
Melina Perez manages to create a sublime dress that reminds me of warmer days, the beach, blue water, and the magical creatures that hide in the depths of the ocean. Her inspiration is mermaids, one of Melina’s favorite mythical creatures.
The designer takes elements from the fantasy world and makes them fashionable. The ruffles on the deep v-line of her dress are inspired by the creatures in the movie Valerian. Melina kept the dress sheer to leave an emphasis on the fabric. She hopes to convey a story with designs that can be seen from the audience. Mystical and magical — that’s the beauty behind her piece.
Michelle Cantu’s bridal dress is innovative, progressive and honest. An avant-garde piece that pushes fashion to the limits. It is a bridal gown that is not only created for one but two brides.
A dress that shies away from the traditional white that represents the purity of the bride. Michelle uses a transparent black fabric, which is usually seen on grooms at weddings, to reveal fabric the color of pink: a color that represents love in its purest form. This dress is about one thing and one thing only: love. The designer uses free draping, a technique that involves pinning and hand-sewing each stitch in the gown. I’m hoping to see many more groundbreaking and beautiful pieces like this on April 26th.
Lastly, I met and spoke to the wonderful Carmel Fenves, wife of the University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves. Mrs. Fenves is a proud contributor and supporter of the Textile and Apparel department at UT. Additionally, she has been officially judging the fashion show for two years now. Dimension will be her third show. This judge had many positive things to say about our senior designers and what they have been able to achieve. Mrs. Fenves praised their successes and their challenges overcome to create such beautiful pieces. When asked how this collection compares to others she said, “Each time I see a new collection I’m just impressed that there are so many surprises. The possibilities are endless.” When I asked her what her favorite design was, Mrs. Fenves said she would love to wear Ellie Wendland’s yellow dress in the Hamptons, and she admired Michelle Cantu and Alexandra Lee’s piece.
It’s safe to say I left the open house dreaming of wearing the seniors’ spectacular designs. Meanwhile, you can find me at the Dimension fashion show, eagerly awaiting to see what else our wonderful senior designers have it store for us. Join us for Dimension at the Frank Erwin Center on April 26th to see these works of art for yourself. •
Paddy Ghaemi is a sophomore English major from Houston, Texas. This is her first semester writing for Spark’s blog. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the gym, exploring Austin’s coffee & food scene, or just Netflix-ing the night away.