Senior collections showcase heart & soul

By Mackenzie Dineen, Danielle Hogan & Korynne Provenzano – Features Editor, Arts Editor, 1851 Staff 

It takes each senior designer four years of preparation to present the extraordinary work they’ve put their energy and dedication into.

Senior designer Cailin Flannery’s inspiration for her collection, “Deprivation,” “stemmed from post-apocalyptic, but it all started from political environment, that this would be a theoretical downfall…” In terms of functionality, Flannery said, “It’s comfortable, it’s wearable, it’s functional. It took on an androgynous edge, so both men and women can wear my collection.”

As Flannery progressed in the design program, so did her imagination and confidence. “I’ve pushed myself more in my pieces, challenged myself more and done things I’ve never done before,” she said. “No one wants to have a mediocre, played-it-safe senior collection, that’s not the point.”

Chair of the Fashion Department Professor Lynn Blake encourages designers to take advantage of their senior collections; it could be the last time these designers produce original work. “You’re putting yourself out there in this huge creative process…that’s like your whole self manifested in a piece of art,” Flannery said.

Mariah Lang’s “Operation: Coronation” has every bit of her personality poured into each stitch. Each gown, accessory, model, and second is planned accordingly and holds many symbolic values. Lang illustrates her journey through womanhood creatively by incorporating personal symbolism into her garments.

“I started off as a little girl who watched Disney movies, that was all I did…I just loved the Disney princess movies. They exhibited a lot of hopefulness and love, valor and grace. As I got older, it got more about being a woman… It became this entity of royalty. I wanted it to be really grand and have a huge element of majesty,” Lang said.

Lang is a costumer, which sets her collection aside from ready-to-wear collections. “It’s a lot more conceptual than it is design-based, because as a costumer, that is my goal; to tell a story rather than show off my construction skills,” she said.

Rebecca Glick is another costume designer who recently costumed the show “Fun Home” with SpeakEasy Stage Company. “Costume design is my passion,” said Glick, “I’m inspired by history.” Her collection is titled “Rise” and is based on the idea that “women are warriors and they can rise from the ashes like a phoenix.” Glick was inspired by gladiators, Grecians and samurai. The concept clicked while watching “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” and admiring Princess Kida’s garb. Her garments include tunics, balloon pants and gowns that transition from a dark black and blue color pallet to reds and golds, inspired by the phoenix’s metamorphosis.

Glick learned to sew at age 13; she has since refined her craft in the Lasell fashion program and delved into hand-stitching and finer garment details while studying abroad in Paris. She also helped redesign The Lasell Fashion Collection’s website, which is an online curation of over 3,000 garments a more accessible and user-friendly resource.

Libby Castaldi was born and raised on the coast of Westerly, R.I. and it is only fitting that her collection, “Luster,” is inspired by pearls. “It’s metaphorical, the way a pearl is born is that there’s an irritation, something that it needs to get out, so the oyster coats it and works hard on making it into something beautiful,” said Castaldi. Her garments begin with red and pink dresses and jumpsuits to symbolize the vexation inside an oyster and morph into blues and whites with lots of pearls.

From the age of four, Libby watched Project Runway and foresaw her destiny. “There was really no other option for me, ever. It took me a while to figure out my aesthetic but now that I know what I love to do, it comes naturally,” Castaldi said.

Becky Littlefield’s collection, “Reclaimed,” is grounded in the meeting of architecture and nature. “I was inspired by brutalist architecture, specifically, I looked at a lot of abandoned buildings and how the nature overgrows,” said Littlefield. The collection is sustainable, constructed entirely from vintage and recycled fabrics, thread is the only element in Littlefield’s work that isn’t second hand.

“Reclaimed” focuses on shape with great attention to emulating natural curves and includes many oversized pieces that are reminiscent of big, blocky, brutalist buildings. Color-blocking, shoes and accessories connect the pieces into one cohesive collection.

Littlefield is most excited to watch her hard work come together on the runway with her music, background and choreography. For as long as she can remember, she loved fashion; as a little girl she chose dolls for their outfits, designed paper purses and played fashion video games.

Unfortunately the process is not entirely about the creativity. Designers get frustrated, angry, hate their garments, or want to turn from the field completely. It’s a challenge to have so much pressure put into these few pieces.

“Know when to step back when you need to or know when to take a break. A big thing that’s helped me because I’m working on all these different pieces at once, if I get really frustrated with one of them, I could move onto the next one,” said Flannery.

Runway 2019 will premiere Friday, April 26, with undergraduate collections. Saturday, April 27, senior designers will showcase their collections in the Athletic center at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale during lunch and dinner every weekday; general admission is $27.



Featured photo courtesy of Libby Castaldi

Bottom photo courtesy of Rebecca Glick

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