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Designs Within Reach
Mount Mary's student designers bring their lively collections to the Harley-Davdison Museum.
Milwaukee has a lot of "fashion" shows, but as I've written before, only a few showcase Milwaukee-made designs. And leading the pack are Mount Mary's student designers who annually take to the runway to showcase their collections and separates. The CREO show, this year dubbed "Pulse", is a consistent delight and last Friday's shows were no different.

Around 1:30, crowds filed into the Harley-Davidson Museum, its open floor filled with chairs surrounding one long U-shaped runway. Friends of Fashion, a group that supports the University's historic costume collection, filtered in, grabbing their VIP seats. Some wore matching sequined hats.

Then the show began with throbbing beats pulsing from the sound system. The show was divided up into different adjectives and nouns like zen, spontaneous, architectural dimensions and adrenaline, but my favorite look was first up in the section titled "euphoric." Called "modern geisha," student Laura Bavlnka showed a floor-length black dress, with a kimono-like shoulder strap that was draped elegantly past the model's knees. The blue and red of the strap against the black of the dress -which was expertly tailored - looked stellar under the bright, unforgiving lights of the runway. A thick red sash tied the two pieces - both strap and dress - together, and put a nice spin on a traditional belt. (Pictured above)

Starkly different from Bavlnka's formalwear, student Sarah Corlett debuted two different athletic-wear looks, both of which looked like they could have been sold at a more fashion-forward version of Lululemon. One look layered patterned running leggings and gray shorts with a light blue running top, and the other look featured a smart pair of gray cropped running leggings with sheer cutouts in a zig-zag pattern. I would have purchased both outfits that day, if I could have.

These are just a couple of the tens of looks the student designers presented that day. In all, the designers showed expert skill in creating pleats, ruffles, peplums, and structured garments that were beautiful yet approachable - a perfect combination for Wisconsin-based clothing companies like Bon-Ton, Kohl's, Jockey and Land's End. Where student presentation shows like that of London's Central Saint Martins and New York City's Pratt Institute showcase many fantastical, aspirational pieces, Mount Mary's student designs are grounded in practicality, and for buyers, that's a very good thing.

Check out all of the designers as they get a chance to walk the runway below, and you can see more reactions and photos from the show here.



Main image via Mount Mary.





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