The Black Students Alliance hosted its annual fashion show last Saturday, February 20, in the McNeil Room. The show chronicled the progression of fashion from the Roaring ’20s up to the ’90s. The models showcased styles that incorporated decade-specific details into contemporary pieces, as well as designs more strongly influenced by the individual decades.
The show began with a dance performance that blended dance styles from each decade, providing a nice introduction to the evening. As the show progressed, each era was prefaced by a little history on the social setting of the time, such as musical trends and different fads that were reflected in the cut and details of the clothing.
The ’20s showcased bold red lips and modern pieces with old time appeal. Some of the fabric selections were unexpected and probably wouldn’t be fashions you would see on the street today, but they were visually appealing. Women sported dresses with short hems, and then men wore flashy and detailed blazers.
The ’50s were an era of Rock ’n Roll, which boasted aggressive styles for the male models compared to their female counterparts. The textures and fabrics of the menswear were at times more eye-catching than the materials chosen for the womenswear. However, the women still looked glamorous in styles inspired by figures like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.
The night progressed to the ’60s next, which offered designs inspired by an age of “flower power.” I will honestly say I wasn’t expecting to see male models in boxer briefs with flowers appliqués, but they were crowd favorites. The female models still managed to hold their own in dresses with flattering cuts and bold colors.
The intermission was ushered in with a beautiful performance by Whitney Coleman ’10 and her father. Coleman is a young woman with an amazing voice and treated the audience to two songs, “Pretty Wings” by Maxwell and “To Be Faithful,” a gospel selection. The first song showcased her vocal range, but the second piece exemplified her skill as a musician.
The show also featured styles from China and Pakistan with the help of the Chinese American Students Association and the Pakistan Students Association. A member of CASA—along with models from the BSA show—modeled designs native to the East, followed by a member of PakSA dressed in a beautiful sample of formal wear.
After the brief sojourn overseas, the decade of Rubik’s cubes and the Sega Genesis was welcomed to the stage. This era featured children models, who were adorable strutting down the catwalk. The adult fashions offered a taste of the big hair and neon colors of the ’80s. Several of the female models sported leather jackets or leggings, while the men wore custom sweaters and hoodies.
Finally, the show wrapped up with the ’90s. This portion of the show featured guys in baggy jeans and graphic button downs, and young women in bubble hems and slim-cut pants. The most visually appealing component of this decade was the contrast provided by having both male and female models side by side on the runway.
The show closed with shout-outs to the coordinators. In addition to the designers featured, there were vendors present during the intermission, offering accessories and clothing. Overall the show made for a fun celebration of Black History Month and the history of fashion.