Design students walk the runway

Linda Coburn

Northridge Hall looked more like the set of “Project Runway” Tuesday night as students from the apparel design and merchandising program produced a nearly three-hour fashion extravaganza called “Fashionology.”

This extravaganza included a backstage flurry of dozens of girls (and a couple boys) being fussed over by designers with pins and sewing kits; thumping music as the models strutted down the runway; press scribbling; photographers snapping; and a couple hundred friends and family breaking out into applause and cheers on occasion.

There were also faculty from the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, home of the ADM program.

ADM students Shannan Marie Dunlap and Amy Agajanian co-directed the show. Dunlap, 24, is a senior and president of the Trends fashion club, the student-run organization that planned and produced the event.

Dunlap said, “It’s taken months of planning,” with the show costing “about a few thousand dollars.” The proceeds from the ticket sales “are going straight into our campus account, and will be carried over for the next semester,” said Dunlap.

Faculty adviser Jongeun Kim said, “This show is so interesting because it’s a combination of designers and merchandising students. Mostly designers design the garments, and merchandising (students) put those designs together and run the show.

“They teach the models to walk, how to program the show, how to organize (the collections),” Kim said.

Junior Michael Wong, 22, was acting as merchandising coordinator backstage, where women were rushing between hair and makeup, trying to find the right shoes and practicing their walks.

“I don’t have anything in the show,” Wong said. “I’m trying to be professional and just concentrate on making sure everybody has what they need.” Wong is one of a few men enrolled in the ADM program. “I’m the only one in my class,” Wong said.

Co-directors Dunlap and Agajanian took up microphones and came on stage to get things started. They thanked faculty advisers Karen Robinette, Shirley Warren, and Jongeun Kim, who taught a special fashion show production class this semester.

Dunlap and Agajanian introduced the judges. The judges were attorney Crystal A. Zarpas, who specializes in apparel industry law, designer Marco Lebel, who represents the downtown L.A.-based Nicola, International, Severin Peck, a group manager at the Beverly Hills-based Bloomingdales, and entrepreneur Julia Fiske, founder of ta-tas clothing company.

Summer vacation was the theme of the first segment of the show. Three designers presented teeny-weeny bikinis, shorts sets and cover-ups. A hot pink two-piece edged with white ruffles was the standout number. Dunlap was judged the winner of the cruise/play/vacation category.

The contemporary/casual segment included the work of 13 students on display, and more than 80 outfits total, the audience was treated to a dizzying display of fashions ranging from itty bitty mini-skirts to conservative clothes suitable for the office.

Lindsay Poole was crowned queen of this segment for a collection that was cohesive, interesting and innovative.

Evening and cocktail wear was a shorter, shinier segment with seven designers featuring such items as a yellow, fleece, long-sleeved, hooded mini-dress. Many of the models in the segment were wrapped in bows like presents, draped in organza and sparkling fabrics. Ninette Yaganian was deemed the winner of this section and also for the final category, bridal, which consisted of just three gowns (two were Yaganian’s).

More than 60 models made it down the runway, most in very high heels without a tumble. These ladies, and a couple of men walked with confidence, stopping, turning and posing like professionals.

Musical performances by Shy B and Chuck Heat; Vanessa Lee, Taight ‘ Fetti; and J. Blue punctuated the pauses between collections, giving the models time to get into their outfits.