Fashion Institute : Students' Eclectic Designs Get City Leaders Involved

Times Staff Writer

The lunch that began with Mayor Tom Bradley pretending for a moment to be a model and parading down the runway, ended with Councilwoman Joy Picus audibly sighing over a beautifully beaded evening gown.

"Oh, it's so gorgeous," Picus said within earshot of everyone sitting near her when a satin caftan floated by.

The Real Show

In between such rare moments of civic expression was the real show. Entitled "Debut '85," it was a presentation of clothing designs by students graduating from the Advanced Study Program at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. Seven students showed their eight-piece collections during the event at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel.

The clothes turned out to be as eclectic as the students who made them. Three of the students werefrom Asia, two were natives of Mexico and two were born in the United States.

Luis Martinez's men's collection included striking chartreuse silk tuxedos, raj-inspired skirts and Chinese tapestry Nehru jackets. And when Martinez came on stage to take a bow, he stepped out in velvet evening slippers and what appeared to be a long apron worn over his trousers.

Beverlee Henderson worked with a concept of lingerie and bodywear as the basis for a woman's wardrobe. Models appeared in various degrees of undress and then began the process of pulling on coordinated separates and dresses--both casual and dressy.

Other students' collections were more conventional, yet equally fresh.

The lineup included Martha Ramirez's working-woman attire interpreted in Ultrasuede, Aubrey Barnett's dramatic men's coats and suits and the elaborately embroidered and beaded gowns by Dora Lau Hopkins (winner of the Giorgio Award for salability, workmanship and creativity) that Picus liked so much.

And what was the retail reaction?

Bottom Line

"With translation, these clothes could sell--that's the bottom line," J. Hart Lyon, executive vice president, Carter Hawley Hale Stores, said.

Broadway chairman Maurice W. Proudfoot, recipient of the school's California Fashion First Award, had his own words for the graduates before they go out and join the industry. "This was your last shot at really being creative," he quipped.

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