As they worked furiously for a year to create four couture garments, this year's senior fashion design students at the Columbus College of Art & Design had tunnel vision. Many got lost in the world of an ongoing project as they prepared for the school's annual spring fashion show.

As they worked furiously for a year to create four couture garments, this year's senior fashion design students at the Columbus College of Art & Design had tunnel vision. Many got lost in the world of an ongoing project as they prepared for the school's annual spring fashion show.

It wasn't until stylists Tim Mauer and Tony Anders stopped by for a pep talk this winter that the bigger picture was illuminated.

"You saw the light bulbs go off in their heads when I said, 'Michael Weiss, the president of Express, will be sitting in the front row,'" Mauer said.

Flash! Hopes were lit up. Designs were inspired. Advice was imparted.

Mauer, who owns Mukha Custom Cosmetics & Medi-Spa in the Short North, and Anders, who owns Ha!r salon in Grandview, have professional experience as stylists in New York. The two men brought real-world know-how along with their brushes and color palettes to help with hair and makeup design for CCAD's Circus Couture fashion show.

Mauer's salon team has done makeup on the day of the show in years past. This year, he wanted to give the designers a realistic experience, he said, so he spent a two-hour class giving students a lesson in collaboration.

"I wanted to bring them the experience of treating your colleague as a colleague," Mauer said. "That was something I learned the hard way, and I was trying to teach them."

In addition to bringing a dose of reality, Anders thinks he and Mauer helped make the students feel more confident rather than nervous.

Anders' advice for the students? "Don't take it so seriously that you lose the fun behind it, and you lose your vision and cloud it with stress."