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Inspired Fashions at Portfolio in Motion 2011 – Cirque Noir

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
On April 14, Marymount University’s Portfolio in Motion 2011 fashion show brought the runway to life with sophisticated, student-designed garments showcased in an edgy, avant-garde Cirque Noir production. The surreal circus theme was the perfect backdrop to highlight the imagination, artistry, and talents of the fashion design students.
 
The jury-selected designs were modeled to their best advantage by Marymount students from across the University in the elaborate and professional production created by the fashion merchandising students. Set design, lighting, music, and choreography all heightened the excitement and edginess of the show that perfectly showcased the inspired fashions.
 
The show included garments for every lifestyle and occasion. In addition, garments made from recycled fabrics were featured, as well as tennis wear for mature women that was developed with a grant from Cotton Incorporated. The show also included designs created for USAID’s West Aftrica Trade Hub Project. This is the second year that Marymount students have worked on USAID projects to advance manufacturing businesses in third-world countries. Marymount alumna Lori Brock ’93, a trade expert with the CARANA Corporation, established the connection. Six West African nations are involved in the project, including Nigeria, and Ms. Hadiza Mustapha, the Minister of Trade and Investment at the Nigerian Embassy attended the show and thanked the students. Samples of the students’ designs have been manufactured and will be promoted at the August MAGIC 2011 apparel trade show in Las Vegas.
 
Two fashion luminaries were honored at Portfolio in Motion this year:
Fashion designer Junko Yoshioka was named Marymount University's 2011 Designer of the Year. This honor is presented annually to a fashion designer who has achieved excellence in the field and has captured the imagination of both the fashion industry and the public. Ms. Yoshioka is best known for her eveningwear and bridal gowns, which feature sweeping silhouettes, asymmetrical cuts, and hand-crafted details.
 
Journalist Robin Givhan received Marymount’s inaugural Award for Excellence in Fashion Journalism in recognition of her insightful interpretations of the world of fashion within a broader social context. In 2006, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism “for her witty, closely observed essays that transform fashion criticism into cultural criticism.” Currently, Ms Givhan is a special correspondent for style and culture at Newsweek and The Daily Beast.
 
Upon accepting their awards, both honorees expressed their appreciation for the students’ talents. Ms Yoshioka commented, “So many creative garments; I’m so impressed!” And Ms. Givhan echoed her sentiments, saying, “I’m honored to be in the presence of such creativity and passion.”
 
Both women also offered mentoring advice to the aspiring fashion designers and fashion writers. Ms Yoshioka reflected,” I’ve been asked, ‘How can you tell which student will be successful?’ I answer, ‘The one who is never satisfied and always trying to improve.’“ Noting that she “serves the reader and not the fashion world,” Ms. Givhan told those who love to write about fashion to “take your responsibilities as seriously as your written words.” She emphasized that while she observes with a critical eye, she strives to write with sensitivity and honesty.
 
The following student awards were presented at Portfolio in Motion:
- the Portfolio in Motion Award to Dana Doughten 
- the NAMSB Foundation Arthur H. Taylor Award for Excellence in Menswear Design to Alyssa Cimatu 
- Best Line for a Target Market to Nina Nguyen
- Best Senior Line for Fabrication to Reema Al-bawardy
- Best Senior Line for Knitwear to Kelly Tang 
- Best Senior Line for Innovation to Fiona Catchpole
 
The morning after the show, Junko Yoshioka and Robin Givhan reviewed the senior designers' portfolios, with observations that reflect their professional emphasis. Ms Yoshioka commented numerous times on the quality of the portfolio illustrations, tellling Nhu Nugyen, who designs children’s wear, “Your illustrations jump off the page” and to Alyssa Cimatu, who designed a menswear line, “The technical drawing is very high quality. Your designs are wearable but unique; they have a twist.”
 
Ms. Givhan offered pragmatic counsel on the importance of knowing the industry. She remarked that having covered the fashion industry for a period of time, she has seen which businesses succeed and which don’t. She advised one student, “It’s very hard to build a business doing only beautiful, expensive gowns. There’s a ceiling to what you can charge. You can maintain your vision, but translate it into a less expensive line that will support your higher-end eveningwear.”
 
Both honorees encouraged the students be patient, work hard, learn all aspects of the industry, and maintain their passion. Ms. Yoshioka remarked, “They are so lucky to have found what they love to do!”
 
PHOTO CAPTIONS
1 - Robin Givhan (toward left in print dress) and Junko Yoshioka (center front) meet with students backstage before the show.
2 - Yashia Shelton ’13, who is studying art and psychology, models a design created by Sarah Alotaibi ’12 that has a hand-beaded waistband.
3 - Alyssa Cimatu's senior line is modeled by (left to right) Justin-Luciano Rice-Moore ’11, an Art major; Evan Greco ’11, a Criminal Justice major; and John Ramseth ’11, a Health Sciences (Pre-PT) major. Alyssa received the NAMSB Foundation Arthur H. Taylor Award for Excellence in Menswear Design.
4 - Karleigh Miller ’11, a Fashion Merchandising major, models a gown by Reema Al-bawardy ’11 that is made from recycled fabric. The strapless navy gown features a hand-painted gold design.
5 – Ashleigh Holmes’ senior line is modeled by (left to right) Ciera Butts ’12, a Fashion Merchandising major; Yashia Shelton ’13, who is studying art and psychology; Maame Amponsah ’11, a Business Administration major,; and Charlene Fowler ’12, an Interior Design major.