Fashion Design student Regina Amato wins Runway Challenge

On the colorful strength of her Spanish fortune-telling gypsy collection, senior Regina Amato this afternoon was crowned the winner of season two of the Philadelphia University/NBC10 Runway Challenge, edging out two other finalists and winning a trip for two to the fashion capital of Paris.

“I was ecstatic,” Amato said after some of the hoopla had died down.  “Everyone’s collection was really terrific, so I would have been happy for anyone to win – but it’s great to win,” she added.

Amato and fellow fashion design program students Karen Bloomfield and Jess Gardner were the three finalists who competed in a final runway show taped live in front of a packed studio audience that included faculty, staff, students, friends and family members.  The finale aired at 2 p.m. today on NBC10’s The 10! Show.

The finalists wowed the judges with their creativity and workmanship, who said they found it difficult to make a decision.  Bloomfield showed a collection of swimwear and cover-ups inspired by Romeo and Juliet and the French Riviera, while Gardner’s collection included three feminine and flirty dresses designed for a young urban woman to wear to a country garden party.

Amato’s collection, though, captured the judges’ hearts with her focus on multi-colored ruffles, red and black leather and a bright red rosette fabric.

The judges for the finale included Lori Wilson, 10! Show co-host; Clara Henry, director of the Fashion Design Program; Lynn Willis, vice president Susan Magrino Agency of New York; and special guest judge Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund, who temporarily lent her crown to anoint Amato the winner.

After her name was announced, Amato, from Cheshire, Ct., then surprised friend and fellow contestant Bloomfield by inviting her to go to Paris with her.  “We’ve been through this through thick and thin, so I felt she deserved to go as much as I did,” Amato said.

Today’s finale of Runway Challenge capped an exciting, creative and, yes, grueling eight-week competition that started out with ten fashion design students on March 3. 

Each week, the students faced a new design challenge – they made fashions from Staples’ office products, designed maternity wear and cheerleader outfits for the Philadelphia Soul and showed off their casual menswear designs to Eagles QB Donovan McNabb.  After each weekly runway show, which aired on the 10! Show, one student was eliminated until the group was narrowed down to the three finalists.

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