Senior Fashion

Our intrepid intern, Morgan Mercer, attended Twelve, the U of M fashion show this past weekend. Check out her review and video!  —Katie

A full house eagerly waited the unveiling of eleven collections from this year’s graduating University of Minnesota designers. In my experience, senior shows can be a mixed bag. I approached with caution, but was blown away as a phenomenal senior show developed before my eyes. The range of styles was incredible and the cohesiveness of most collections was impressive. I walked away feeling inspired. This was not a graduation requirement the seniors begrudgingly worked hours to fulfill, but a professional undertaking—a show that gave us hope for Minnesota’s future in local and national design.

Watch our video of the show and read about how each designer fared. —Morgan

Jennifer Robertus

Inspiration: Coastal breezes and warm, sunny embraces

High points:

  • Swimwear that transitions to vacation day wear
  • Bright color pops

Our take: The real magic started with her swimwear and the gorgeous sheer overlays she used to transition them to fun day wear.

Andrea Sittler

Inspiration: Street wear fused with high fashion to redefine professional wear

High points:

  • Neons done right
  • Sweetheart necklines and cute crop tops

Our take: We can’t see anyone getting away with cropped tops or sheer midriffs in the office, but we loved the neutral/neon combination.

Kari Kachelmacher

Inspiration: Vintage photographs and silhouettes from the 1950s and ’80s

High points:

  • Each look made solely of recycled vintage clothing
  • Gloves and shirt details on back

Our take: We liked the Pan Am/hillbilly chic vibe and the idea of reusing clothes from the past (it gave Kachelmacher great textures to work with). But the billowiness of some tops had us crossing our fingers, hoping we weren’t front row to another Janet Jackson-inspired wardrobe malfunction.

Stephanie Hillman

Inspiration: Luscious Las Vegas gardens

High points:

  • Sheer fabrics/draping on the back
  • Hand-dyed linen and silk prints she designed

Our take: The silk prints Hillman designed were unique, but overall the collection felt safe.

Gabby Goetz

Inspiration: Modern-day Marie Antoinette with a touch of the sea

High points:

  • First brocade dress
  • Light pink pants

Our take: After seeing her first look (bold, fun, and flirty) we had high hopes, but the rest of the collection didn’t match. The others looks couldn’t compete with the flattering fit of the first dress.

Carol Fallabeck

Inspiration: Contemporary elegance and impressions of the past

High points:

  • Laser cut swirl designs
  • Opening dress

Our take: We loved the innovation in using the laser cuts as cap sleeves, but the dress forms felt hit or miss. The silhouettes of the first/last dresses were great, but the others seemed less high fashion and fell flat.

Dziyana Zhyhar

Inspiration: Busy female executives who need garments to transform and fit their needs

High points:

  • Transformational garments—sleeves that fold down and color accents that emerge
  • Color-blocking that slims the body

Our take: The changeable details—like the dress with fold down cap sleeves—made typical work wear more interesting.

Silvia Güttmann

Inspiration: A scuba diver and his crazy underwater adventures (like meeting a stingray)

High points:

  • The stingray suit
  • Body-hugging construction and mix of fabrics

Our take: We’re stealing her stuff. For ourselves, and the men in our lives. Function, meet fashion. What a perfect combination.

Sara Lopez

Inspiration: The men’s business suit meets the progressive movement of fashion

High points:

  • Sheer white gauziness
  • Fresh, unorthodox ideas

Our take: Light and airy, her collection felt goddess-like at times. She exaggerated proportions, scale and restricted her models’ movement, turning the typical men’s suit on its head. Our biggest question—can her innovative ideas become functional and transition to ready-to-wear?

Lizzie Hillmann

Inspiration: Gothic architecture and Parisian cathedrals

High points:

  • Construction—a great pair of pants
  • Oxblood (deep maroon)—a color taking over fall runways of established designers (according to the Wall Street Journal)

Our take: You can’t deny the beauty and care Hillmann gives to construction. The distinct architecture and line to each piece added nice detail, but also made some looks feel stiff.

Laura Van Riper

High points:

  • Ethereal loveliness (see first look)
  • Two-piece  (bodice, high-waisted skirt), ruffle extravaganza wedding dress

Our take: We adored the young playfulness of the first look, and the gorgeous execution of the ruffled wedding gown. But where does that bridesmaids dress with the ugly flower add-on fit in this otherwise stunning collection?

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