Senior's fashion design project inspired by Brazil

Crystals, corsets and color are three words that perfectly describe the theme of fashion design student Ana Carol Coelho's senior collection. Coelho will present her collection, titled "Birds in Paradise," at 5 p.m. Saturday in the Fountain Square Ballroom. The show is open to the general public.\nCoelho's "Birds in Paradise" features the results of a year of dedication and hard work in the Individualized Major Program. Kate Rowold, professor and curator of the Elizabeth Sage Historic Costume Collection at IU, expressed her admiration for Coelho's skills.\n"Carol is committed to excellence in design and construction," she said. "She is a perfectionist who is eager to experiment with fabrication and embellishment."\nA native of Brazil, Coelho said she stayed close to her roots when designing the line.\n"My collection was inspired by tropical birds -- their physiology, ecosystem and lifestyle," she said.\nRowold described Coelho's global designing technique as unique. \n"She blends influence from Brazil with distinctly American style. Cultural diversity is key to her designs," Rowold said.\nCoelho said she used a variety of fabrics and materials to interpret the physical attributes of the birds of her homeland.\n"There are plenty of lightweight fabrics, silk, feathers, beads, chains, crystals and natural stones," she said.\nCoelho also said she uses layers in her dresses to replicate the texture of a bird. \n"I wanted to signify wings with the arm curtain," she said. "The gathering creates a layering, or rather a texture of layers, which if you notice birds, they seem to have different layers."\nShe said her favorite piece in the collection is the red evening gown with its embellishments and arm-curtain drapery effects.\n"The dress is gathered on one side, from the bust to the knee, and ends at the ankle," she said. "I used orange, gold and red print fabric for the arm curtain, which is connected by four rhinestone bracelets at four different points on the arm."\nAlthough her designs are inspired by the natural world, Coelho said she is very aware whom she is trying to appeal to.\n"I never forget to think about a woman's body, its curves and what looks better," she said. "I do try to 'spice up' my designs, making sure that I show all the beauty a woman possesses. I want my customer to be confident, to feel unique and admire every part of herself."\nGraduation is quickly approaching for Coelho, but said she is taking her time to decide what's next.\n"I have applied for Accessories Design at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology)," she said. "For now, I am thinking about this project, and once it is done, then I will have to decide what the next step is. I'm taking it one day at a time."\nKate BonDurant, a senior who also is majoring in fashion design, said she is eagerly awaiting Coelho's show.\n"I've only seen a few of her garments for the show, but each and every one of them is a work of art," she said. "They are completely stunning and show a lot of Carol's personality."\nBonDurant said the presentation will be one to remember.\n"It will undoubtedly be incredible," she said.\n-- Contact Staff Writer Kama Korvela at

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