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The Mass Media

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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Creative Designs Shine at the Mass Art Fashion show

MASSArt Fashion Shown in full swing
MASSArt Fashion Shown in full swing

Those who say there is no fashion in Boston have obviously never attended the Massachusetts College of Art’s “All School Show.” This campus-wide exhibition held annually in the spring features exhibits from every MassArt department, and includes photography, painting, industrial design, and fashion design.

The fashion design exhibit was held in the Tower building on Huntington Avenue in a small room on the second floor. Attendees were greeted warmly at the door by seniors Heather Hilton and Merissa Eisener, both of whom were showcasing designs at the show. The atmosphere was lively with upbeat jazz music playing from a boom box on the floor, and animated guests chatting and enjoying the exhibit.

The selection of displays varied from non-textile pieces, geometric pieces (designers could not use darts to fit the cloth to the body), swimsuits, and bridal gowns. The most interesting of the non-textile pieces was a dress made completely out of puzzle pieces.

My favorite of the non-textile pieces was the feather mini-skirt and matching halter outfit created by senior student Bernard Mendes-France. The skirt design, reminiscent of the overly popular ballet minis, is constructed with large brown feathers accented with white orchid and pink rose belt. The matching top is held up with a fishnet sash that wraps around the back of the neck like a halter.

Of the three bridal gowns exhibited at the show, Heather Hilton and Kerri Griffin’s were the most contemporary and creative. Hilton’s gown was two pieces featuring off-white slacks instead of the traditional skirt, and a halter-top that continued to the floor and became an elegant train accented with pink roses. Hilton achieved originality and purity with this gown, especially with the cream-colored suede border that highlighted the halter from the straps down to the train.

When asked of her inspiration for the gown, Hilton replied that she was looking to do something different. “I’ve seen so much bridal wear, and I am sick of the same old stuff.”

Griffin’s dress was a combination of tuxedo and traditional wedding gown. “I wanted to add masculine elements to a feminine silhouette,” Griffin explains.

The dress is a traditional strapless ball gown and a black satin tuxedo vest that turns to coattails in the back. The coattails are a creative accent and are displayed nicely on the burgeoning tulle skirt. Griffin completes the look with black satin gloves and a black top hat. Griffin revealed that the image of male coattails on a white dress was her first inspiration for the dress.

The process of making a garment, according to Hilton, includes making a muslin (a rough draft), and going over their sketches (some of which were displayed at the exhibit) with teachers before actually constructing the dress. “Then,” Hilton explains, “you cut it out of fabric and hope to hell it works!”

Senior Merissa Eisener showed a two-piece bathing suit – a the project from her junior year. The purpose of the assignment, according to Eisener, was for students to learn how to use spandex. Her two-piece suit featured a fluorescent green and navy striped long sleeve top with hot pink mesh joining the sides and boy short bottoms. Griffin admits, “I don’t go to the beach, so I didn’t want to do something traditional.”

Eiseners’s concept was sporty and simple with her use of color as opposed to design-heavy fabric. “Instead of print I used blocks of color to come up with something interesting,” she said.

Her design ends up reflecting an indifference towards getting a decent tan, as the only part of the body actually exposed to the sun would be the legs and face. Nevertheless, it does achieve the sporty look that is subtly sexy with the mesh side lining, and would surely attract those who love going to the beach in style, but are bashful about showing too much skin.

Many of the designs were products of assignments from the students’ junior year, in which they must, “do a little bit of everything,” according to Hilton. Senior year, Heather adds, is when designers have the freedom to create pieces of their choice.

Surprisingly the exhibit was lacking many of the designers whose works were being shown. A seemingly ideal opportunity for students to stand by their work and discuss their designs with interested attendees, this was apparently not a priority for most of the artists. However, the designers will surely all be there when MassArt presents its annual senior runway show in May. This event draws a decidedly larger crowd, and according to Heather is an event that will be for some a unique opportunity to show their work. As she admits, “five percent of us end up being that next big designer, so this is our time to walk the runway and really shine.”

The MassArt Senior Fashion Show is scheduled for May 6 and will be held at the Cyclorama on Tremont Street in Boston. There is a reception at 6:30 p.m. and doors open at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are sold for $25 at the door.