By the time the 35th annual Otis Scholarship Benefit and Fashion Show, aptly themed “Metamorphosis,” came to an end, the students responsible for the 125-plus designs that streamed down the runway had clearly emerged as fashion stars.
“For the seniors, these fashions are akin to a thesis,” committee chair Shelley Reid said before the show. “They’ve got to save up for everything and then scout out all the fabrics and all the embellishments and go wherever they have to go to get them. It’s amazing to think of what they go through before they’re done.”
Held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, the May 6 black-tie affair raised funds to provide scholarships to fashion students at Otis College of Art and Design. Although a silent auction ended during the evening, a selection of the one-of-a-kind student fashions still remain available for online bidding until 9 p.m. May 12.
Claudia Cividino, Bally chief executive of the Americas, received the Creative Leadership Award, while Daniela Villegas, a prominent Mexican jewelry designer based in Los Angeles, was honored with the Creative Vision Award.
A fashion school graduate herself, Cividino said she understands the power of a good fashion education for anyone in the industry. “It’s important to have an appreciation of the craft,” she said. “When people in the field know that you’ve lived their challenges, they follow you, because they know you know what you’re asking.”
No ordinary fashion parade, dancers and acrobats mixed with models on the runway, showing off fashions that answered challenges posed by their mentors. Albert Wolsky, a two-time Academy Award winner for costume design, asked students to create ethereal gowns inspired by the world of fairies. Fashion designer David Meister had his students explore proportion and transparency inspired by feathers.
Also working hand-in-hand with students were Zaid Affas, Claire Pettibone, Red Carter, Cory Cassella for Jessica Simpson, Chris Chang for Poesia, John Murrough for Illia, Michelle Watson for Michi and Marisol Gerona-Bradford for Universal Monsters.
Although the final tally hasn’t been completed yet, tickets for more the 700 guests sold for $500 with sponsorships ranging to $50,000 for tables of 10.
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Ellen Olivier is the founder of Society News LA.