"As a designer, you want to make your statement," says Jennifer Ingram, the W. H. Smith Visiting Assistant Professor of Fashion in the Sam Fox School. "You want to inspire, you want to motivate, you want to communicate some type of emotion."
Those ambitions and more will be on full display at Plaza Frontenac April 29 when Leaving a Legacy, the Sam Fox School's 83rd Annual Fashion Design Show, hits the runway. The show will feature dozens of models wearing scores of outfits created by the program's nine seniors and ten juniors.
But this year's show also speaks to one legacy in particular. It marks the retirement of Jeigh Singleton, who began teaching at Washington University in 1972 and has directed the Fashion Design program since 1987.
"Jeigh is one of a kind—a legendary instructor," says Ingram, a fashion alumna who studied with Singleton before graduating in 2004. She spent several years working in the fashion industry before returning to campus last fall.
"He's always been a mentor for me," Ingram says. Indeed, in creating her own lines, "I still go to Jeigh for advice. What's missing, how can I make this my own, what does it need to push the drama?
"Jeigh is all about drama," she adds with a smile.
Glitz and Glamour
As a student, Ingram participated in the program's 2003 and 2004 fashion shows, both held at St. Louis Galleria.
"I loved the glitz and the glamor of it," she says. "There's just something about seeing your garments go down that runway, with professional models, lighting, and production. That's what I want to bring to Leaving a Legacy."
And though the title certainly honors Singleton, Ingram says, it also celebrates the accomplishments of the students, particularly the graduating seniors.
"Each of these designers puts a distinctive stamp on everything they do," she says. "They make the patterns, drape the muslin, choose the fabrics.
"This show is their statement."
Leaving a Legacy will open with fall dress groups—four apiece by each of the nine seniors, for a total of 36 looks. Inspirations range from geometry class and the Arts & Crafts movement to "The Flirty Thirties" and the works of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Next, the junior class will present fall suiting on the theme of "Basic Training," after which the seniors return with winter coats inspired by the 1940s. Other groupings will highlight knits, spring separates, and gowns.
Concluding the show will be the seniors' signature collections, each a fully coordinated clothing line tailored to a specific audience and based on a specific theme. Inspirations this year range from "Egyptian Gilt" and "Daughters of the Earth" to "Elemental Style" and "Spring Nouveau."
All clothing is selected by a jury of university faculty and local design professionals. Guest judges for 2012 included Project Runway alumna Laura Kathleen; image specialist Ellen Soule; and Janey Brauer Thompson, co-owner of Berrybridge Bridal.
Tickets and Times
Leaving a Legacy will begin at 7p Sunday, April 29, at Plaza Frontenac. Tickets are $65 for general seating, or $50 for students.
Tickets are available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, 314.935.6543, with a limited number at the door.
Preceding the show, at 6p, will be a reception featuring experimental garments by Jamie Presson-Wells, a fashion alumnus and current master's candidate in the Graduate School of Art, and by sophomore Madeleine Docherty.
A meet and greet with all designers will immediately follow, at 8p.
Organizers and Co-sponsors
Leaving a Legacy is chaired by alumna Susan Block (BFA76) and co-hosted by Block and Saskya Emmink–Byron, director of communications for Craft Alliance.
Stylists are led by Dominic Bertani of the Dominic Michael Salon, who has done the models' hair for the past 20 years. The models' makeup will be done by Shiseido Cosmetics, led by Sheila Molina, and by students from The Paul Mitchell School. Footwear is provided by Brown Shoe and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Lighting, audio, and runway tech is by Trent Joyce of Technical Productions. DJ is Doug Curtis of Clockwork Productions.
Outstanding student designers receive a variety of scholarships, cash prizes and awards. The Dominic Michael Silver Scissors Designer of the Year Award is presented to one outstanding senior at the end of the evening. Block sponsors the Silver Ripper Award, presented to one outstanding junior.