Students strut for fashion
Friday's Dzine2Show spring fashion show will showcase Penn models in student and locally-designed apparell
March 29, 2012, 10:25 pm·
Jae Seon Choi | DP
Model Coordinator Sophia Griggs is hoping that there will be no trip-ups. It doesn’t help, however, that many of her charges will be touting extra-high heels.
Right before 9 p.m. Friday, the Wharton senior will be backstage at the Dzine2Show spring fashion show, the culmination of D2S’s spring fashion week, ordering a line of models out onto the runway.
Nerves aside, Griggs can’t wait for this moment because she loves the excitement.
“Right before the show, backstage — you can see everyone is getting [excited],” she said.
In order to realize this energy-filled moment, the D2S club has been preparing since last semester.
From hair to makeup and venue to music, College senior and Fashion Show Director Joanna Ehrenreich has been bringing the show to life.
Ehrenreich deals with details “as minute as, do we have enough hangers?” to picking a venue — this year, the Inn at Penn.
Designing to Show
Wharton junior Kelly Wyche, head of student apparel, and the D2S board members started choosing design submissions in the fall.
“Even if they didn’t know how to make it [they had to be] willing to ask,” she said in reference to the student designers. “You have to be really invested, [but] the work is fun.”
For about four months, the designers had a chance to transform their ideas from paper to cloth.
Often designers would send Wyche photos of their progress and ask advice, such as how to embellish an outfit or how to finish straps.
“I think one of the most challenging things was being head of student apparel without” a strong sewing background, she admitted. But for this fashion show, she worked to become an expert in order to be able to help others.
Along with student-designed apparel, the fashion show incorporates professional clothing from boutiques around Philadelphia.
College senior and D2S President Lauren Haas was in charge of finding professional apparel her sophomore year.
It was “like shopping for yourself and picking out an outfit — with no budget,” she explained. “Some [stores] will say, ‘You can pick from the rack.’ Others will say, ‘Here’s the store.’”
On the runway, the professional apparel complements the student-designed apparel well, as the student-designed clothing tends to be more high fashion and experimental, Haas said.
After all the hard work, Wyche is confident that all of the styles will come together, and come together well.
Penn’s next top models
Before any clothing was finished, however, the board members got to watch Penn’s prettiest strut their stuff during model tryouts.
“We have them walk for us,” Griggs said. It can sometimes be difficult to get “the typical model walk,” she added, because it isn’t quite what people imagine when they practice in their dorm rooms.
Sometimes, Griggs has to call in modeling experts from previous shows to demonstrate the model walk. For those who want to get it right, it’s about being “subtle and relaxed,” she said.
Even if the model walk is typical, the 30 chosen models are not.
They are “not exactly what you would find in the fashion industry,” she said. D2S is “not just trying to get [thin] tall girls.” Instead, the club looks for unique body types.
As models represent many shapes and sizes, the outfits are not all size two, Griggs explained, adding that many designers create outfits for their own body type.
Maaike Hoogstede, a foreign exchange student from Holland who was tricked into modeling by her friend Ehrenreich, originally thought the show was something to do for fun, only to discover that over 200 students are already planning on attending.
“I’m really glad that she kind of tricked me,” she said.
Hoogstede described herself as more interested in sports than fashion. “It’s more about having comfy clothing [for me],” she said.
But she’s excited to try something new and can’t wait to see her clothes.
Ehrenreich helped out behind the curtain before becoming the director and described the experience as chaotic.
There are “100 things going [on] backstage,” she said. Models have their own helpers assigned to them that help in the tricky process of getting into and out of outfits before they have to be out on the catwalk again.
“It’s totally crazy,” returning model and College freshman Grace Guan said. “There are a million girls [backstage].”
“You think that they’re exaggerating,” Guan joked, but she described her backstage experience as similar to America’s Next Top Model.
Amid the chaos of the hair and makeup and outfit changes, Ehrenreich’s vision will take shape.
The masquerade theme promises to incorporate Venetian masks and other ballroom-themes in order to create a classy and fun look, Haas said.
When the models finally line up before taking their first steps onto the catwalk, the excitement and anticipation for the D2S team will be at their peak.
“It’s kind of strange,” Guan said. “You just embrace it, work it [and] get into character.”
Putting their fears of tripping up in the backs of their minds, the models will strut out onto the runway, bringing to life the vision of D2S and taking it from design to show.