When you’re running late for class and trying to throw an outfit together, creating an artful masterpiece is the last thing on your mind. However, for the members of Contrast Magazine and the Student Committee of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, a fashion ensemble can have the same resonance as Dega’s ballerinas or Monet’s water lilies. On Thursday, Nov. 13 these organizations will collaborate to host its 4th annual fashion show, Embodied. The show, based off of the current Art Center collections, will take place at 7 p.m. in the Loeb.
Rachel Garbade ’15, the Editor-in-Chief of Contrast, wrote about the event in an emailed statement, “For the first time in Contrast history, we have finally decided to use the art in the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center to inspire our style choices. The style committee selected seventeen pieces, paintings and sculptures alike, to create 22 outfits. The idea is that the models are ‘embodying’ the art, thus the models are the Loeb ‘Embodied,’ if you will.”
One of the models in the show, Sean Chang ’15 found the collaboration between the Student Loeb Committee and Contast to be novel. “It’s exciting that this year, shifting from the usual collaboration between Contrast and the Drama department’s Costume Shop, Contrast is focusing on the art in the Loeb. It’s a change befitting Contrast’s growth as a Vassar culture & style magazine, showcasing just another one of the amazing resources we have here,” wrote Chang. He continued, “I was Contrast’s Style Editor my sophomore year, but haven’t been involved since then, so I’m really excited to be able to be part of the org again, especially under the direction of my friend, Rachel [Garbade].” While for Chang this year’s event will be a kind of homecoming, it will be Christie Honore’s ’18 first time walking the Loeb catwalk. In an emailed statement she wrote, “This is my first time being involved in a Contrast fashion show and I’ve really enjoyed the entire process. This weekend I was able to see the completed look I will be modeling for the first time. I’m still amazed at how much detail and creativity was put into these looks that complement the specific pieces in the Loeb.”
Like Honore, Chang was excited about the styling of the costumes the models get to show off on the runway. “The Style Committee’s creativity is evident in the unique outfits they’ve styled for this show. It’s not simply a costume–like recreation of the art–it’s not playing Halloween. They’ve done a great job of abstracting the art in really innovative ways,” he wrote. Though the clothing items will get a fresh look, all pieces come from students’ closets or The Bearded Lady.
The event is structured differently than a normal fashion show, including an added element to incorporate the actual art collection into the show. Garbade wrote, “The show is two parts. One part is a classic runway with the models elegantly walking to the beat of music. The second part, however, will involve the models standing next to the art that their look was inspired by. I’m excited for the second part mostly. I think the looks do stand on their own as beautiful artistic creations, but I think the audience will really feel a powerful connection between the model and the painting/sculpture in the second half of the show.”
In these final days leading up to the show, Garbade has been working on logistics and boosting morale. She wrote, “I’ve been the liaison between Contrast and the Advisory Committee of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, without whom this show would not have been possible… I attempted to convince the style committee that all their hard work, all the craziness and anxiety would soon be over and watching the show will be an extremely gratifying experience.”
Jack O’Brien ’15, on behalf of the Student Committee of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, and co-head of the committee, worked with Garbade and the other members of Contrast for this event. He wrote in an emailed statement, “The Student Advisory Committee at the Frances Lehman Loeb works to develop unique programming for Thursday Late Nights. For ‘Embodied,’ we have worked with Contrast to develop a cohesive, engaging show for our student and community audiences.”
Garbade commented on the central focus of the show as an engagement between students and the art, stating, “The main goal of the show is to entertain the study body in a unique way, to engage them on an unusual level. No other organization, to my knowledge, hosts a fashion show–except for ProHealth’s Condom Couture.”
She continued, “But, it’s also a celebration of the artistic skills our campus has; none of this would be possible without students’ clothing, their passion for styling, their ability to creatively apply make up, their enthusiasm for modeling, and their ability to synthesize a multi-layered outfit from either a two-dimensional abstract painting or an ancient Greek statue.”
Chang reiterated Garbade’s testament to Embodied’s aim to bring the Loeb’s art to a larger platform on campus, “I also think it’s a great chance for both Art History students and those who aren’t familiar with the incredible work we have in the Loeb alike to see the art in a different way. Fashion can be, after all, a form of wearable art, and even when it’s not in the form of a fashion show, the fine arts can greatly inspire how you might comport yourself everyday.”
This first-of-its-kind event ultimately aims to explore the possibilities of the marriage of fashion and art. Honore finished, “Embodied really is a great exploration of how art and fashion intertwine. This show is definitely not to be missed.”