Fabulous Student Designs Captivate at PhilaU Fashion Show

Hundreds of dazzling, innovative and collaborative student fashion designs enthralled an audience of almost 1,000 people at The PVH Philadelphia University 2015 Annual Fashion Show on April 30 at Moulin at Sherman Mills in East Falls.

Kayla Donovan’s gown, made in collaboration with textile design student Jennifer Biggs, wins “best of show.”

Kayla Donovan’s gown, made in collaboration with textile design student Jennifer Biggs, wins “best of show.”

The event showcased 250 of the year’s best student designs, including Kayla Donovan’s “best of show” green chiffon dress inspired by architecture and the psychedelic ’70s; Amber Bowden’s show-stopping sportswear collection featuring bold floral prints and bright colors; and a dazzling, seven-piece bridal collection by Taylor Bergeron and Jenna Michel.

Emmy Award-winning fashion celebrity Carson Kressley, a member of PhilaU’s board of trustees, served as the Fashion Show’s honorary chair. “I get to interact with students on a really frequent basis, and each time I come to campus I am so inspired,” Kressley said. “At PhilaU, the students are ready to dive in to the fashion world immediately. They aren’t just prepared to be fashion pros. They already are fashion professionals.”

Celebrating Philadelphia University’s rich heritage in textiles, many fashion design students partnered with textile design students to create garments from custom-designed print, woven and knit fabrics made in the University’s state-of-the-art textile studios.

Amber Bowden’s collection, in collaboration with textile design students Samantha Fletcher and Andrea Mata, wins two awards.

Amber Bowden’s collection, made in collaboration with textile design students Samantha Fletcher and Andrea Mata, wins two awards.

“These collaborations have added a richness and a layer of complexity to our students’ designs,” said Sheila Connelly, fashion design program director.

The evening’s showcase featured two student collections that were shown this February at New York Fashion Week. Tia Pion’s best senior collection included four whimsical sportswear looks and accessories inspired by the paintings of Wayne Thiebaud. Recent graduate Dana Jackson’s outstanding senior collection featured extensive beadwork, and a blue and tan color palette and textures inspired by the beauty of deteriorating buildings on Goree Island.

Two additional award-winning student collections will be featured during the fall 2015 New York Fashion Week: Kristen Heun’s nomad-inspired collection featuring oversized shapes and muted colors, and Kayla Donovan’s collection, a collaboration with textile designer Jennifer Biggs, featuring gowns, sweaters and a green leather jacket reflecting Tibetan gods and goddesses.

NBC10 meteorologist Bill Henley and Philadelphia Style Magazine Editor-in-Chief Kristin Detterline served, respectively, as emcee and commentator at the Fashion Show.

Nicole Murphy wins the Carson Kressley award for "Most Ready for Retail" collection.

Nicole Murphy wins the Carson Kressley award for “most ready for retail” collection.

The enthusiastic audience, who cheered for their favorite designs, included students, family members, faculty, staff, alumni, apparel and fashion industry executives and honorees. Nearly 50 industry leaders and employers attended an Industry First Look show featuring senior collections prior to the Annual Fashion Show.

Both shows were produced by fashion merchandising and management students in PhilaU’s Fashion Industries Association.

Student winners at the 2015 Annual Fashion Show included:

CARSON KRESSLEY AWARD
Most Ready for Retail: Nicole Murphy

COATES BROTHERS CLOTHING AWARD
Sustainable Design: Tia Pion

COLLECTION XVIII AWARD
Collaborative Textile Design for Womenswear: Amber Bowden, Samantha Fletcher and Andrea Mata

DESTINATION MATERNITY AWARD
Excellence in Sportswear Design: Amber Bowden

FASHION DESIGN FACULTY AWARD
Excellence in Design: Kayla Donovan

FASHION INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION AWARDS
Best of Show: Kayla Donovan
Best Senior Collection: Tia Pion
Best Senior Collection Honorable Mention: Kristen Heun

FRANK AGOSTINO AWARD
Eveningwear Award for Excellence in Design and Execution: Jonathan Cantu

JOAN CALABRESE AWARD
Excellence in Childrenswear: Maria Balestino

MACY’S AWARD
Overall Excellence in Workmanship and Quality: Jenna Michel and Taylor Bergeron

N.A.M.S.B. FOUNDATION AWARD INC.
Joseph Klein Award for Excellence in Menswear Design: Brittany McFadden and Lauren Casale

NEXUS LEARNING AWARD
A Collaborative Design Initiative: Gina Ferrero and Courtney Lyle

NICHOLAS LOUIS PALUMBO AWARD
Outstanding Junior Design: Ariel Irizarry

PVH AWARD
Outstanding Senior Design Student: Dana Jackson

STUART WEITZMAN AWARD
Most Red Carpet Ready: Lori Petrashune

UNITED FABRICS AWARD
Original Jacquard Textile Design: Mary Armacost

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