Plagiarism is the cardinal sin of fashion. So how do designers avoid committing it while paying homage to the art form's greats? For CCAD's latest crop of fashion design seniors, that was the toughest question of their college careers.
This year's fashion show is titled "Masters of Design." Each student studied one of the 20th Century's important style-makers - from Coco Chanel to Alexander McQueen - and melded the masters' iconic designs with today's trends and their own personal aesthetic.
"They really had to figure out how to be inspired by someone," said Suzanne Cotton, the instructor of the Senior Collection class, "and not copy."
All of the 25 students showing in the tent this Friday succeeded.
"In every one of them you can see the designer's influence," she said, "but you can also see they were inspired by upcoming colors and trends. They've really brought everything that they've learned together."
Each student studied three famous designers during the break last summer. Once back at school, each student selected one "master" and got to work sketching four complete looks, two of which will appear on the runway this weekend.
A whole school year is spent on the final collections of the graduating seniors. The result of their hard work is a banquet of color and skill. Expect to see a wide range of looks, Cotton said, from casual sportswear to couture evening gowns.
"I feel like the detail and technique the students used really stands out this year," said Cotton, who has taught the class for six years. "There's knitting, painted fabric, beaded detail. There's a lot of handwork involved. It was really fun, and I think it's going to be an exciting show."
This year, CCAD increased the number and price of the tickets to the runway show. It still sold out fast.
"We like to find [a theme] that pulls the whole show together but lets students have their own personal style," Cotton said. "People enjoy coming to see that."
Double the fun
At the party following the CCAD fashion show, New York's ambiguous DJing duo AndrewAndrew will perform or, well, not really perform. They will just be, which has become the show itself.
The two address issues of identity by ditching their own. Andrew and Andrew do not use last names or celebrate their individual birthdays. They wear the same outfits, eat the same food and read the same books at the same time.
Their guerilla tactics are playful. They design ironic products like the nutritional cookie and the 24-karat-gold anti-theft device. Videos of them interviewing celebrities highlight their disarming, intelligent irreverence.
When they DJ, AndrewAndrew walk around, immersing themselves in the party and picking from their iPads the dance party's tunes, which could vary from Matt & Kim hits to the "Dick Van Dyke Show" theme song.
The saying goes that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. These guys are making it an intriguing form of art.