Brooks Students Display 'Fantasy Stuff'

Times Staff Writer

The theme was "Illusion"--and Brooks College students delivered.

The recent graduation fashion show at the Bonaventure Hotel began with a ripped-leotard group dance (taken from the John Travolta movie "Staying Alive") and included such fashion fantasies as Neptune and mermaid costumes, heavy-metal children's wear and a wedding dress and headgear designed after the bird of paradise flower.

Show in Ballroom

The show, in the California ballroom, featured more than 250 outfits by the Long Beach college's 85 graduating second-year fashion design students.

"It was a very exuberant year--a year for color and change," Brooks fashion merchandising chairman Joe Perry said, noting that students were encouraged to "express themselves. When will they have another chance to do that?"

"The fantasy stuff is always fun," added Jack Payne, design department chairman, "but I like my students to design with the realization of where they're going the day after the show--the fashion industry. I tell them it's still a business, and they've got to have an audience. The final proof is at the cash register."

But there was no threat of registers to inhibit these fledgling designers, whose work was judged by a panel from the fashion industry.

Best of show was awarded to student Gina DeDominicis, for her bird of paradise satin wedding gown, which had numerous gold-edged fabric petals shaped into a full skirt.

The Sophie Saleh Award, given for draping expertise (and named in remembrance of a Brooks faculty member), went to Carmen Castillo for her evening wear, which was slinky, broad-shouldered and appliqued in colorful designs.

The children's-wear award went to Florence Callender-Francis for her safari-inspired kids collection. Tule Nguyen was mentioned for her pastel swimwear, which was shown with triangular hats.

Theatrical Design

For theatrical design, David Bruce won for his undersea costumes, which were modeled with conch-shell hats. Noreen Zebold was cited for her hand-painted resort wear.

Also honored were Bekke Bruce for sportswear; Minna Vainionpaa for dressy sportswear; Sandra Comstock for day dresses, and Monika Kruger for suits. In menswear, Forest Watson won for his oversize, Cagney-esque suits.

The evening show, attended by a full house, was staged and directed by the Brooks fashion-merchandising students.

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