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Runway show features student designers

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BATON ROUGE, La (KNOE 8 News/LSU Ag Center) – Contrasts were evident at Hemline@LSU’s Catalyst Fashion Show May 14 at Lyceum Ballroom.

Garments that walked the runway of the student-produced show included rigid alligator skin paired with soft seersucker or flowing ruffles. Humble burlap added rich details to soft gowns. Gossamer fabrics were juxtaposed against sharp lines.

The idea of divergences served senior design student Maddie Louviere well. The New Iberia native’s collection won Best In Show, netting her an $800 award.

“I was very excited,” Louviere said. “But I didn’t expect it going into the show.”

Louviere described her collection as the contrast in ballerinas – soft feminine fabrics mixed with hard designs.

Louviere’s alligator garment also placed second in the Marsh in the Catwalk competition. The LSU College of Agriculture’s Textile, Apparel Design and Merchandising Department has a grant from the Louisiana Alligator Advisory Council to use grade 3 alligator skins.

Through the grant, senior design students create a look with these skins, which are considered imperfect. Lisa McRoberts, TAM professor responsible for the grant, said teaching the students to use the skins rejected by large fashion houses such as Hermes promotes this Louisiana product.

“There is an abundance of these skins in warehouses,” McRoberts said. “We show the students how to use skins with their imperfections, and they can use these techniques when they go into the industry.”

Seniors also participated in a cotton design competition sponsored through a grant with Cotton, Inc. They also had the opportunity to create their own fabric designs.

Jessica Sapera’s pink, black and gray dress won the Marsh on the Catwalk competition. A striking black stripe of alligator down the middle of the straight pink dress was set off with black alligator cap sleeves and hints of her own fabric.

“I played around in Photoshop,” Sapera, a native of Mandeville, said. “I wanted it to look like paint smears.”

She said when the fabric came in, she was in love. “Without it, my collection would not have gone together.”

Rachel Detloff, senior from New Orleans and fashion show chair, said seniors start their year off doing 45 sketches and then choose three looks to create in their classes.

“We do our own patterns. We pick our own fabric. We are really making something from nothing, so it’s really cool,” Detloff said.

Detloff carried the theme of contrasts into her emotions as the show concluded.

“I am feeling every emotion. It’s bittersweet,” Detloff said. She said she was proud of the show but sad to see her time in college end. After taking a year off, she plans to move to New York and study shoe design.

Stefanie Ramirez, Hemline co-advisor and TAM instructor, found the show gratifying.

“I am very proud, especially of the junior class,” Ramirez said. “They were brand new to making their own garments. They had to do their own patterns, so it was great to see them get to this point and know that they get it as they move forward.”

The students showed 110 garments during the Catalyst runway show.

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