As rain trickled down over Colorado Springs this past Tuesday, CC students, parents, and staff crammed into Gaylord Cornerstone Performing Arts Center. Despite appearances, they weren’t seeking shelter from the rain but rather, were rushing to find seats for this year’s CC Student Fashion Show.
If you’ve attended CC fashion shows in the past, you would expect this year’s show to be no different, filled with innovative—and often fabulously eccentric—designs and imaginative performances. And that’s exactly what the rowdy, enthusiastic crowd got Tuesday night.
“It was amazing! All the lines were so different and crazy and awesome. Everyone was having so much fun,” said junior Ellery Miller. “I was super impressed.”
Some highlights include John Keenan’s “Mourning Wud” line, in which Thayer Maclay modeled a wooden barrel garment; Monica Mueller’s animal-inspired show in which Mueller donned elk-like antlers and pranced across the stage like a woodland creature; Elle Nakamura’s “Trash Me Pretty” collection, made predominantly of trash found on campus; and the closing act featuring GlobeMed’s Condom Couture, a line materialized out of condoms to promote HIV/AIDS awareness.
To Shealagh Coughlin, intermission was the highlight of the night. “My favorite part was definitely the intermission performance,” she said. “They were all great dancers and the crowd got really into it.”
But to think this eagerly anticipated annual CC tradition almost didn’t happen.
The day before the event, co-chairs and participant designers Kate Rafter, Mari Gades, and Leah Kellogg were rushing to put the final touches on Cornerstone’s interior. As Rafter hung whimsical, winged hangers from the elevated walkways, Gades and Kellogg hurried to set up chairs along the runway. And Julian Katz, aka DJ LolKatz, was doing a final sound check.
Months before, they weren’t even sure if the fashion show was going to happen.
Rafter, a senior and designer in the CC Fashion Show, said she and her fellow co-chairs only volunteered because no one else would. “We stepped in and said we’d do it because we wanted it to happen, not because we knew how to make it happen, or particularly wanted to, or were even capable of it at the time” she said.
“Everyone’s expecting the fashion show, but no one stepped up to actually organize it.” said Gades. “I kept getting questions like, ‘Hey are you guys doing the fashion show this year?’ And I was like ‘I guess I am.’”
A lot of this uncertainty was a result of the lack of a Sewing Club this year. “It’s a huge mess,” said Rafter. “There is no sewing club because it completely died last year. We’ve had quite a hellish time trying to piece together what we thought running the whole thing would look like.”
Senior Leah Kellogg is currently applying to medical school and never planned to co-organize the show. “Someone was being groomed for the job last year, but they went abroad,” she said. “We all signed up because we are used to getting things done.”
“I had already started my designs, so I wasn’t going to not make [the fashion show] happen,” added Gades.
The biggest difference from last year’s show is the venue. Last year, the fashion show was held at Shove Chapel, which seated about 800 people. This year, Cornerstone held the event, allowing less than half as many people to attend. This change in venues produced a large amount of mixed reviews.
“Shove is very beautiful and it’s more of an enclosed space; you, as the audience, can focus more on where your eyes go,” Rafter said. “Cornerstone is a more imposing, more masculine and hard place to work with. I mean it’s really cool, if you know how to work with it.”
Coughlin was happy with the venue change. “I think Cornerstone is a really cool space, so I liked that the fashion show was in there this year,” she said. “I got to sit close to the runway and see the details of the clothes, whereas last year I got stuck on the shove balcony.”
Others were not so impressed with the change. Leeds Lily Mallinckrodt-Reese, junior, did not like the limitations that came with hosting the event at Cornerstone. “It didn’t have as much room as Shove, and a lot of people who wanted to see it couldn’t get tickets. It’s a really unique event at CC and I think more people wanted to attend than the tickets, and venue, allowed,” she said.
Because Rafter, Gades, and Kellogg stepped up and took on the responsibility, the fashion show did go on, and was a large success at that. They hope to better prepare the next co-chairs for the upcoming year and are looking for interested people