Grand Gowns, Metallics and Jewels Steal the Spotlight at Drexel’s Annual Fashion Show

Images from the designs at the fashion show 2016

With inspiration derived from South African Animals, Henry VIII and Alice in Wonderland, 20 senior and graduate Fashion Design students aim to captivate as their collections take the stage during Drexel University’s Annual Fashion Show on Saturday, June 4, presented by the Fashion Design and Design & Merchandising programs in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design.

This year’s show will take place at the Urban Outfitters Corporate Headquarters Naval Yard (5000 South Broad St.), Building 543. The first show will be held at 4 p.m., with a ticket price of $30. The second show will be held at 8 p.m. and will be followed by a wine and cheese reception, with a ticket price of $60. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here. For more information, call 215-895-2390 or visit

The annual fashion show is a student-produced show by the Design & Merchandising’s “Fashion Show Production” class. There are student leaders for all aspects in the show, including casting models, organizing garments, marketing and public relations, box office administration and event management. Unique to Fashion ’16, students produced Video Spotlights for seniors to add another element of online media. Drexel students were also cast to model pieces alongside professionals from Wilhelmina Models and Reinhard Modeling Agency.

Different from the other student shows, students are not restricted to a single theme, but instead, they are encouraged to find a narrative to drive their creativity and inspire their collection. Students used their own unique sources of inspiration to fuel their individual vision. The fashion design students began researching for their collections in the Fall and have spent the past seven months creating pieces that bring their visions to life.

There are collections for men, women and children and categories such as sportswear, active wear, evening wear, bridal, lingerie and outerwear. 

Student collections will be eligible for awards from Neiman Marcus, Nicole Miller and Gentle Monster, to name a few.

Judges for this year’s fashion show include: Frank Agostino (AGOSTINO), Sandra Cooper (Senior Designer/Ralph Lauren Purple Label), Joan Shepp, John Wind, Mary Dougherty (Nicole Miller), Missy Dietz (Neiman Marcus), Joan Calabrese, Ann Burton (Wolfgang Harbor) and Heather Hipsher (Designer/Lilly Pulitzer).

Preview images from designs at the 2016 Drexel fashion show

“This year we really wanted students to let their work inspire a personal narrative,” said Lisa Hayes, director of the Fashion Design program. “Between the unique uses of fabric manipulation, leather molding, fur, metallics, and beading, these collections demonstrate a level of skill and creativity that is unmatched.”

Images from the story of Alice in Wonderland inspired Thien To’s couture collection. “Secret doors and passages, colors from a deck of playing cards, and patterns used in welding iron railings combine to form the basis for my evening wear,” she says. “Like the secrets in Alice in Wonderland, there is a secret in each of my dresses. Can you tell what it is?”

Johanna Di Nardo’s collection was sponsored by Swarovski Crystal. Her collection utilizes couture techniques and luxurious fabrications in modern interpretations of classic silhouettes. 

The Graduate collection of Nancy Volpe Beringer uses malleable and luminescent silk textiles of liquid organza and liquid satin to create the foundation of a sophisticated, elegant and powerful couture eveningwear collection. She says, “the materials are intensely manipulated using traditional felting and Nuno felting techniques, and the silhouettes evolve from the ‘voice’ of the new fabric surfaces.”

KaYee Lam believes the modern runways are evolving into exhibition venues, she says her, “neoprene, cotton and spandex garments rely on the relationship of the human body to the space around it.” She says, “Architectural structures, geometric shapes drawn from ceramica, and origami folding help to make my clothing designs look more fitted for art galleries than traditional fashion retail establishments.”

The ephemeral, natural structures found in flowering plants formed the inspiration for Sonja Griesemer’s bridal collection. “Curvilinear design lines, sheer layers, and feminine details are combined with hundreds of hand painted silk flowers,” she said. “Historical influences are used in dresses that are designed to transition from one silhouette to another during the course of a celebratory evening.”

Danielle Rowan’s collection is inspired by the wildlife and vegetation of South Africa. “It combines sportswear and lingerie influences to create luxurious, free flowing silhouettes that emphasize the feminine body,” She says. “Texture is added to the all-white collection through intricate hand beading on a variety of fabrications.”

The curation of music will be done with the assistance from students from the Music Industry program at Drexel University.