Curvy, Classic Designs Take Top Awards

Once the verdict was in at the recent Long Beach City College design awards show, it became apparent that a Wanna-Be swimsuit is hot, a Wanna-Be wedding gown is not.

Helene Hann’s black-and-hot-pink tank, which left a Madonna-like tummy exposed to sun, sea, sand and the world at large, captured top honors in the swimwear category. But Alicia Mendibles’ wedding gown, designed, she told a school official, “for someone like Madonna if she got married,” was passed over by the judges as “a little far-out.”

In a night of mostly traditional fashions, Mendibles’ strapless, backless brocade gown with its huge gold lame headpiece and lace Lone Ranger mask did seem out on a limb. But she gained ground in the sportswear division with her trendy--and considerably more subdued--menswear, which took first prize. Using black cotton twill, she paired baggy trousers with an oversize top, adding cream-color gussets and knee patches for impact.

While trendy menswear, including an eye-catching red-and-blue nylon jump suit, was the order of the evening, women were given far more serious, sophisticated treatment with clothes that invariably defined as many curves as possible.


Graduating student Peggy von Bartheld won top honors for her sleek red silk gown, which featured a close-fitting bodice decorated with cloisonne-style applique. Her winning way with fabric also brought Von Bartheld the evening’s special Home Silk Shop award. Asked on stage what she would buy with the prize money, she replied: “More material.”

But she might decide to invest in more crystal beads. They were the dramatic and expensive element of her award-winning teal blue knit dress. Creating a “Star Wars” effect, they shot out like laser beams from the model’s fingertips.

For her elegant approach to career dressing, Becky Hollis took first prize in the business-wear category.

Winning was not only the best revenge, it brought with it the school’s coveted French Curve award, given to first-, second- and third-place winners in each category. Additional French Curves went to Alice Bonner, Maria Chavez, Eula Davis, Sieu Kou, Marina Medenas, Michele Nikkelson and Lan Quach.


In a separate judging, Katie Timm won a first-prize French Curve for what turned out to be the evening’s crowd pleaser.

Worn by Timm’s young daughter, the red canvas tuxedo was loaded with extras: red suspenders trimmed with black sequins, a built-in cummerbund, front-pleat trousers, ruffle-front shirt and a brightly lined jacket.