“If Marilyn Monroe saw Prince in concert, what would she wear?”
For Carol Mager’s Draping and Creative Design students last semester, the answer turned out to be diamonds, pearls… and a shower curtain.
Mager’s class posed this question to themselves to find inspiration for the 2019 Fashion + Fusion show, held in November by the Northland chapter of the International Interior Design Association. The juried runway event, which took place at First Avenue, tasked teams with using interior design materials in a look evoking their assigned musical icon. Over the course of five weeks, apparel design students Mercutio Faust ’21, Patricia Malec ’20, Sabrina Nelson ’21, Kalea Ott ’20, Nicole Pinkosh ’21, Amy Thao ’20, and Bethany Weiher ’21 constructed two ensembles based on Marilyn Monroe, including one very challenging dress in the shape of a brilliant cut diamond.
The team of juniors and seniors ended up employing wallpaper, a shower curtain, sheer curtains, upholstery fabric — and a wealth of inventiveness and determination, skills that served them well in the face of challenges such as difficult materials, mind-boggling math, and weeks of hand-sewing pearls and rhinestones.
“We’re trained to think outside the box, to think bigger,” said Thao. “Whether or not we win a prize, our team is innovative, and that’s why we’re successful.”
Mager, assistant professor of apparel, merchandising, and design, is proud of her students for being “totally self-motivated. It was such a great experience to watch them grow together as a team and as individuals, working through some really tough engineering issues and coming up with creative solutions for them.”
While at the end of the night the grand prizes went to other teams in the contest, the St. Kate’s team walked away with well-earned confidence in their abilities, pride in each other, and “being able to sit down and revel in the moment where you’re like, ‘We did this, and it looks amazing,’” Thao said.