In recent years Philadelphia has become home to a growing number of fashion-driven designers, artists, publications, and style mavens. On April 1, ART AFTER 5 will begin its spring season with a night of two “Project Capucci” fashion competitions in celebration of the exhibition Roberto Capucci: Art Into Fashion (March 16 – June 5, 2011) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
One of the founders of modern Italian fashion in the early 1950s, Roberto Capucci is a master of color, form, and innovative silhouettes. Today, after six decades of creative achievement, he is one of Italy’s most influential and imaginative artist-couturiers. Roberto Capucci: Art Into Fashion is the first American tribute to his work, featuring nearly 90 works spanning the artist’s career, with supplementary film clips and historical photographs that document the parallels between his designs and the Italian fashion world. The exhibition will trace Capucci’s artistic career chronologically, from his discovery in 1951 to his recent dress sculptures.
ART AFTER 5 will offer two fashion competitions on April 1. In the first, design students from the Art Institute of Philadelphia, Drexel University, and Philadelphia University will present Capucci-inspired creations, each of them donned by a runway model from the Wilhelmina agency. NoëlSy Salon will style the models’ hair and make-up and LAGOS will accessorize them with jewelry from its collection.
Clara Henry, Director of Philadelphia University’s fashion design program, states, “This is an exciting opportunity for our designers to respond to the work of an extraordinary visionary who has been an influential force in Italian fashion. As an inspirational source, Roberto Capucci offers designers his astonishing sense of color, volume, and form.”
“We are so looking forward to the event,” says Geneviève Dion, Director of Fashion Design at Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. “The students participating are at the sophomore and first-year graduate level. Fashion Design 1 is their first course in a series of four before they go on to design their final collection, which pose fashion problems to be solved with an emphasis on elements of design. Having our students study the work of Roberto Capucci and use what they’ve learned to create garments inspired by his style is a great challenge and a wonderful opportunity for them.”
As the evening begins at 5:45 p.m., host NBC10 anchor Lu Ann Cahn will introduce special guest judges: Marla Green DiDio, Philadelphia fashionista; Missy Dietz, General Manager of Neiman Marcus and member of Philadelphia Magazine’s Style Squad; Jay McCarroll, fashion designer and winner of the inaugural season of Project Runway; Luigi Scotto, Consul General of Italy; and Brigitte Segura, Fashion and Beauty Editor at Fashion Daily Magazine and contributor to InStyle.com, whatswear.com, fashionledge.com, and citychickmagazine.com.
“Design competitions are a great way to showcase a body of work by a promising designer that might otherwise never see the light of day,” comments McCarroll. “It’s healthy for artists to experience being ‘judged’ and see where he or she is situated in the whole scheme of things. It also feels great to be recognized for the many hours of hard work and passion that get poured into every single garment.”
The evening’s second competition is an eye-opener on the creative process of fashion design. Students from Moore College of Art & Design will craft garments on dress forms spontaneously, right on the scene, vying to design a winning creation. The students will be able to design throughout the evening, but their newly fashioned clothes must be completed in time for judging at 8:00 p.m.
“Many people have no idea where clothes come from,” notes Rob Lehmann, haute couture historian and adjunct professor at Moore College of Art and Design. “Of course, an original concept is born in the mind of the creator. Then, most often, specific ideas are worked out in a sketch, drawing, or illustration. This can serve several purposes: to record ideas which may get pushed out of a mind already crowded with ideas, to communicate a concept to a collaborator (or client), and to further refine one's design concept. Next, the refined concept becomes an actual three dimensional study rendered in cloth (a toile muslin) which serves to perfect the concept and to eventually becomes the basis for a pattern for the manufacture of the actual in ‘fashion fabric’; thus, a garment.”
During the evening of fashion, Cahn will talk to the competitors and panel of judges, providing insight into the designs as they make their way down the catwalk. When the show concludes, the Wilhelmina models will circulate and guests will get a closer look at the styles of the ART AFTER 5 runway. All the while, guests may dine on specialty cocktails, appetizers, and small plates prepared by the culinary team of STARR Events and listen to music spun by a DJ provided by the Italian Consulate of Philadelphia.
At the evening’s close, the judges will announce the design winners from the runway and live couture competitions. Winners of both competitions will be awarded a cash prize donated by the Italian Consulate as well as the Heart of Philadelphia pendant from the LAGOS collection, inspired by the iconic columns of the Museum. The night’s artistic inspiration will continue until the Museum’s galleries close at 8:45 p.m.