Lending a helping hand

Fashion designers collaborate on show, photography exhibit

Sexy, stunning and sophisticated describe the vibe radiating through the walls of the John Waldron Arts Center last Saturday at the premier of Kate Coxworth's fashion line. Coxworth teamed up with fellow student photographer Katherine Forrest to present their final project for IU's Individualized Major Program.\nThe presentation included a photography exhibit by Forrest featuring some of Coxworth's designs, which were unveiled at the fashion show later that afternoon.\n"Spanish Castle Magic," the show's title, illustrates the strong influence that the Spanish flamenco look played in Coxworth's designs. For her designer name, Coxworth translated her last name into Spanish, so all her designs figure under the label of Kate Boggiano. She had always loved the vibrant statements that ethnic dress illuminates and incorporated red-hot flamingo flare into 25 elaborate ensembles. She was inspired by designer Oscar de la Renta, who also used Spanish panache as the major stimulus in his work, she said.\n"The Spanish influence in her designs is just great," said apparel merchandising professor Kathleen Rowold. "The red and black really made it work."\nA strict red, black and white color theme was consistent in each of Coxworth's styles. This vibrant three-color pattern intensified the overall mood of the show. Bright and brilliant reds coded the various sized ruffles on many articles of Coxworth's apparel. She said the bold use of red was drawn from the classic styles of designer Valentino. Coxworth identified her collection as simply chic.\nCoxwoth's vivid color application didn't steal attention away from her unique cuts, arguably the most impressive aspect of her designs. The detail of each cut was so complex that it kept eyes glued to every passing model in an attempt to fully understand the creation of such an unusual phenomenon. Biased cuts, such as asymmetric necklines, were frequent, giving extra spunk and lengthening the female figure. Coxworth used fishnet trains often for the purpose of creating a curvy silhouette. \nThe term 'material girl' comes to mind when examining the various fabrics in which each model was saturated. Sleek and simple satin appeared to be most popular in her designs and was occasionally combined with crepe, providing a more casual feel. Unlike some designers who have a hard time mastering tulle and chiffon, Coxworth was right on target, using just enough tulle or chiffon to add a kick of flavor without cheapening the look. \nThe appearance of Coxworth's final design triggered gasps from all corners of the room as model Cissy Saylor strutted down the runway. She sported a tiny black dress covered with the outside of plastic pens that were held together with colored ribbon.\n"When you are designing you must look at anything and everything for inspiration," Coxworth said. "I use a pen when I'm drawing and the idea just struck me, so I went for it." \nForrest's photography display demonstrated a means of examining the female body's relevance to fashion. \n"I wanted to see how clothing changed the female form," Forrest said. "The human body is usually portrayed sexually, and I tried to avoid that."\nThe exhibit, "Desnuda/Vestida: A Celebration of the Human Form," contained Coxworth's designs photographed in a natural country setting to intensify the glamorous clothing worn by the models. Shadow and light were essential in Forrest's representation of the human body, she said. \nCoxworth's designs were incorporated into the nude/dressed theme in the photographs as well as in her entire clothing line. She strategically dressed half of the models in fully covered outfits using loose materials while other models wore tight provocative clothing with large cut-outs in many areas.\nCoxworth and Forrest have high ambitions for their future career paths, beginning after their graduation this December.\n"I can't ever imagine doing anything else," Coxworth said. "My designs are timeless. I'm not into just trends. I'm going for a timeless, classic look."\n-- Contact staff writer Mallory Zalkin at

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