Once upon a runway
Annual FACS fashion show displays student talent while helping the community
Candlelight flickered from the grand staircase.
Ivy wrapped around the white banisters. Green and blue stage lighting resembled soft, romantic moonlight as models took to the stage for the 11th annual Family & Consumer Science (FACS) Fashion Show Saturday, April 9.
The theme for the 31 designers to work from was fairy tales and fables, both past and present.
Anything from Disney movies to Anderson’s fairy tales to Chinese folklore was fair game for designers to translate childhood whimsy into haute couture.
And, it was all for a good cause.
This year FACS partnered with Fear2Freedom (F2F), a local nonprofit organization dedicated to providing aid to sexual assault victims in the form of after-care kits.
The kits contain new clothing, toiletries and personal notes for sexual assault victims.
They are assembled by college students at campus-based educational “celebration events,’ and sent to hospitals for the victims.
According to F2F Chief Operating Officer Muriel Millar, Liberty University held an F2F celebration event of its own and connected to the organization then.
This year, FACS chose to benefit F2F through the fashion show.
“We go to events like this all over the United States,” Millar said.
“We just got back from Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Here they put together 600 kits.”
Miller said that F2F is going to Randolph College next to assemble after-care kits for Lynchburg General Hospital.
F2F hosted its own booth at the FACS fashion show along with several other local businesses, who sold everything from custom jewelry to baked treats.
Their booths lined the walls of the LaHaye Event Space with a clear line of sight toward the show.
After director Jenna Alioth kicked off the event with a reading from a storybook, complete with clock tower chimes in the background, the show commenced.
The first collection, and perhaps one of the most notable, was titled “The Original Cinderella.”
It featured a Chinese red and black floral silk qipao and a Vietnamese ao dai, both designed by junior Luis Quijano to reflect diversity in the showcase.
Quijano’s collection won him the award for best use of culture.
“I felt very ecstatic and happy when I won the award for best cultural pieces,” Quijano said.
“Cultures, and learning about cultures, are one of the things I am most passionate about in life. As a result, I decided to go with a Chinese inspiration in addition to a Vietnamese-inspired garment. That way I could bring something new to the table other than children’s classics such as Disney, while at the same time educate the audience on another culture perhaps unknown to them.”
Quijano plans to someday create his own sustainable brand through combining textile research and fashion design.
As with many of the other featured designers, the FACS fashion show has given him a platform to practice, perfect and display creations that consumed hours of work and design.
“The show was another way in which I could practice honing the abilities and skills that God has given me,” Quijano said.
“By experimenting with the fabrics and styles, I was able to learn more about various textiles that are used within the industry.”
One of the other collections inspired by Disney fairy tales was that of designer Emily Wilson.
Showcasing a purple and gold shift dress with ruffled bell sleeves inspired by the film “Tangled,” model Sarah Gump won the audience choice award for best model.
“My first time on stage last night, I totally tripped down the stairs,” Gump said.
“So I was kind of terrified tonight. My roommate Emily Wilson was my designer last year and decided to do it again this year. So it’s all because of Emily that I’m here now.”
For the second half of the show, the models took to the catwalk a second time together with their designers.
Several other awards were dispensed amongst the models and designers.
The award for best in show went to Beth Passbury for her design titled “Secret of a Butterfly Soul.”
The deceivingly plain gray cotton and satin dress delighted the audience, who cheered when the model spread open her brown velveteen cape like butterfly wings to reveal intricately patterned blue satin lining which resembled a monarch butterfly’s wingspan.
It closed out the design presentations in a fitting deviation from the rest of the tulle, silk, chiffon and glitter that evening.
Jarrett is a feature reporter.