Happily never after

The Weisman’s first student fashion show asks designers to explore the dark side of fairy tales.

Rebekah Schmidt, right, models a design by Carissa Prieve, left, for the upcoming No White fashion show Friday in McNeal Hall.  The designs were intended to have been inspired by violence, deception, passion and revenge that have been whitewashed from fairy tales.

Mark Vancleave

Rebekah Schmidt, right, models a design by Carissa Prieve, left, for the upcoming No White fashion show Friday in McNeal Hall. The designs were intended to have been inspired by violence, deception, passion and revenge that have been whitewashed from fairy tales.

Tony

Student designers will compete in the first-ever student fashion show held by the Weisman Art Museum on Wednesday night. WAM Collective, the student group created to foster student engagement at the Weisman, organized the event.

Sixteen finalists were narrowed down by the WAM Collective based on initial sketches. They were asked to create designs inspired by the violence, deception, passion and revenge that have been whitewashed from fairy tales though years of Disney adaptations. The competition was inspired by the Ballet Preljocaj’s production of “Snow White,” performed at the Orpheum Theater earlier this month.

Jean Paul Gaultier designed the costumes in “Snow White,” and students were encouraged to look to his modern, dark and sexual take on the classic characters. The garments can’t contain any white and must incorporate a surprise accessory provided by the WAM store at the last minute.

Students were also encouraged to use recycled materials and thrift store finds to create their designs.

“Design is always a battle between what materials you can afford and how to create the look you’re going for,” said Danielle Everine, a Minneapolis designer and former “Project Runway” contestant who will help judge the No White showcase. “I think it’s great encouragement. It helps [students] to be more innovative.”

Karen Fiegen, an apparel design sophomore, was inspired by the deception in fairy tales like “Snow White.” She created a hooded cape out of a curtain she found on eBay with an imposing shoulder piece made from recycled chicken wire.

The designers had about one month to assemble their pieces for the show — no easy task when coupled with similar projects for class and other schoolwork. Jennifer Voth, an apparel design junior, said she appreciated that the No
White competition
allowed her to pursue a singular artistic vision for “Canis Lupus,” her Big Bad Wolf-inspired piece.

Voth disassembled two recycled men’s jackets to create a fur and leather tunic as well as a headpiece and matching cuffs.
With a minor in art, Voth also appreciated the freedom of the competition.

“It’s not so focused on having perfect construction, it’s more artistic. You can make happy mistakes and it’s OK, which I love.”

Voth said the styling aspects of a runway show gave her the opportunities to make choices about music, makeup and accessories that she wouldn’t have in the classroom.

Other students said the experience of working with a model assigned to them for the event was valuable.

“We’ve never been taught how to fit to people. We usually just fit to a mannequin,” said Carissa Prieve, apparel design junior. “Your model makes your garment. If you don’t have a good model, your piece isn’t going to be pulled off.”

Prieve said she changed her piece, a constructed jacket and slacks inspired by “Little Red Riding Hood,” to better fit her model.

Anne Labovitz, a local artist and No White judge who serves on the WAM Colleagues Advisory Board, said she’s very excited to see what the students come up with.

“As a Weisman board member, they’ve talked for years about engaging the students. That’s why this is really a special competition,” she said. “It’s really for the students and about the
students.”