Though Penn Fashion Week officially concluded on Wednesday with a talk by designer Narciso Rodriguez, in reality, fashion week was still alive and kicking at Penn as a designer fashion show took over Claudia Cohen Hall on Thursday evening. The Walk Off, the 2nd annual fashion show hosted by Tony Wang and Wharton Asia Exchange, was sponsored by brands and companies with close ties to the Penn community.
Think it’s slightly redundant having two fashion shows in the same week? The Walk OFF made a splash of its own with a unique twist: while the D2S fashion show was a platform for student designers, the Walk Off highlighted both designer brands and student models, dividing the show into modeling competition and a designer showcase. Invited guests and a panel of expert judges voted for their favorite models in the competition component of the show and admire designer clothing from labels including Proenza Schouler, La Rok, Shoshanna, and Christian Siriano. Last year’s event, also hosted by Tony Wang- designer, blogger behind postfashionism.com, and Wharton student- was a collaboration between the Wharton Asia Exchange and BCBGeneration, fashion house BCBG MAX AZRIA’s college- age line. This year, the event drew a greater audience of Penn students and also included new sponsors Rent the Runway and Kembrel, who, along with BGBGeneration, provided all the designer clothing featured in the show.
The modeling competition tested the style and runway presence of eight student models, drawn from a diverse pool of different sororities. The competition kicked off with a ‘business chic’ round in which models were asked to put together elegant but edgy business looks. Most chose serious, dark tones, sharp silhouettes like menswear blazers, and brightened up their attire with a few well-chosen pieces of statement jewelry. In the second round, models were asked to “go their craziest” and create looks for a fashion week cocktail party- models decked themselves out in dramatic fur stoles, minidresses, and even a iridescent green fish-scale mini. After popular votes were tallied and added to the deliberations of the expert judges (which included students and representatives from Elle magazine, BCBG Max Azria, and Rent the Runway,) Bree Adriti ‘13 took the prize, and crowd favorites also included Alexandra Levine ’12. All models will be featured in a spread on the BCBG website shot by Natalie Franke, professional photographer and Penn sophomore.
The second half of the show featured pieces from the collections of Proenza Schouler, Shoshanna, Prabal Gurung, and Christian Siriano, among others. The wide variety of designs meant there was something for everyone: the Proenza Schouler dresses were classic with a twist, as body-hugging shapes and sweetheart necklines were accentuated by unexpected hardware (aka zippers,) while the draped scarf-print dresses from Marina Makaron Moscow were airy confections perfect for summer. All clothing is available to borrow on Rent The Runway or will be sold on Kembrel, an online shopping community for students to be launched this summer. With a selection as eclectic as it was chic, it’s a safe bet that more than a few audience members will be signing up.
-Iris You ’13
All photos by Natalie Franke ’12