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Stephens students hit runway for Fashion Weekend

Designers take their ideas from the classroom to the catwalk

February 21, 2011 | 9:25 p.m. CST

Take a behind-the-scenes peek at Stephens Fashion Weekend. The event took place Saturday, Feb. 19. Prospective students and their families were invited to preview designs from the college's fashion program.

Before heels hit the catwalk, models lounge in the changing room and drink Gatorade while eating Laffy Taffy. Final touches are being made: one model sticks tape to the bottoms of her sky-high heels to keep from slipping while another model crouches in front of a mirror to curl her eyelashes.

Designer Gretchen Röehrs, who has internship offers from several designers in New York City, steps back to examine her clothes on the model.

“The fun part of the process is getting to see [the clothes] on the runway and on a figure doing what they’re meant to do," Röehrs says.

On Saturday, Feb. 19, Stephens College hosted Fashion Weekend, a preview event showcasing designs by the college's fashion students. Designs are divided into six categories: everyday, active wear, coats, swim, career and edge. Prospective students and their families were invited to catch a glimpse of what the program has to offer.

Stephens College fashion students produce the entire show, from set and sound to public relations.

“It has been mad chaos since the day we started because we’ve got a lot of big ideas, and we’ve been able to pull off quite a few of them," says Anne Churchill, the production fashion show class instructor.

Designer Samantha Anderson has modeled since her acceptance to Stephens College, and Saturday she modeled her own designs — both of her models were out of town.

“It’s kind of lucky because I happened to get a mohawk like a week before I found out about this, and now I’m like, ‘Oh, well that fits with my garments,’” she says.

Anderson's futuristic pieces fall under the show's "edge" category. One of her designs, a black- and silver-paneled short dress with a silver, spiked collar, was partially inspired by listening to Lady Gaga's song,"Bad Romance," she says.

As the lights begin to dim for the show, the models still seem unfazed; they casually walk backstage to take their places. Prospective students and their families line the runway, cameras and camera phones in hand, ready to snap pictures of every moment.

The audience members at the 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. shows only see props, pink and purple backdrops and composed models, but backstage, those same models stand in silence waiting, some tapping their heels anxiously.

"No matter how cool I try to act, I always get the butterflies,” Randie Cahill says.

Models step on and off the runway and after the raffling of gift bags and a quick question and answer session, the prospective students head off. It might not be Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, but Stephens students have the attire to inspire.

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