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Alumna critiques student designs for CFDA contest

October 5, 2013

A Stephens alumna who now works for Louis Vuitton as Women's Universe Manager in New York was on campus this week critiquing designs that will be entered into the Council of Fashion Designers of America student competition next spring.

Lizann LaGrange spent Tuesday working one-on-one with juniors, helping them select the best among their two- and three-piece outfits. During each 30-minute critique, LaGrange also suggested improvements, such as fabric or color changes.

The students are enrolled in a 300-level sportswear course and would typically be designing garments for the annual Jury of Selection and student fashion show on campus in the spring. This year, however, the designs will also be considered for the CFDA competition, an invite-only scholarship program. For that contest, students were specifically challenged to create sportswear related separates that exemplify Liz Claiborne’s philosophy and core design elements.

Students were given a chance to explain the inspiration behind their designs before each critique. Amy Shank said she based her part-silky, part-metallic pieces on the concept of a modern-day armored Joan of Arc headed into the workforce. Kelly Ferguson’s line featured draped tunics and tailored vests in hopes of creating a feminine androgynous look.

For her collection, Emily Horner created boxy designs inspired by modern architecture. She admitted it was a little nerve-wracking defending the designs but was pleased with LaGrange’s input.
“I’m proud of what I produced,” she said. “I liked all of my pieces.”
LaGrange, who has also worked for Escada N.Y. and Fratelli Rosetti, said she was impressed by the work.

“I saw some really interesting student designs,” she said. “It was exciting for me to see the creativity it took for being such a focused project with a very specific client.”
She also praised students for being “open-minded about how to take their pieces and make them even stronger.”

Now, the hard work begins, Horner said. She and her classmates have until the end of the semester to turn their ideas into marketable clothing.

“Coming up with ideas is pretty hard, but making them is a different animal,” Horner said. “It’s easy to dream up this amazing design, but it’s another thing to figure out how to get it to work.”

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