I know I usually show inspiring spaces and objects, but today we’re going to take a look at some inspiration of a different kind. Once a year, Stephens College here in Columbia has a juried fashion show, where all the fashion students can submit work for display. I think the seniors have to exhibit a collection as part of their graduation requirements. This year, Jimmy was filming the event for CAT TV, and I was offered a ticket. I also happened to have a brand new camera I wanted to test out, so I schlepped it along.

I was seriously impressed with the quality of the students’ work–the clothes, the modeling, the set, and the production in general were all top-notch. I had a few favorites, of course, but the whole show was a lot of fun to watch. Unfortunately, at the beginning, I was still playing around with camera settings, so I missed a few collections (the photos are so blurry, they really aren’t worth sharing), but things got better as we went along and I stopped being such a noob.

This collection Petals by Gigi Huang, was beautiful–I wish I’d managed to salvage more photos of it:

Lots of beautiful texture and soft colors, with sort of a retro feel (especially in that romper toward the left). The designer was also adorable–she came out at the end and gave a shy little wave.

The next collection, Soft Escape by Leah Grace Shepard, was especially impressive because all the sweaters and other knit pieces were hand-knitted by the designer.

This was the first of many collections with really great movement on the runway–the seafoam skirt on the top right in particular was very pretty to watch. It all looked so comfy!

Next they showed some career sportswear by different designers. There were a lot of pieces, so I just chose a few of my favorites.

designers clockwise from top left: Chelsay Russell, Stacey Silman, bottom two by Esli Navarro

Obviously I don’t have to wear suits or anything like it for work (the cat and rats don’t really even care if I get out of my pajamas) but I would totally wear any of those–especially that adorable polka-dot dress. Precious.

There was only one menswear collection, Sartorial Skate by Georgia Trimble. While I wasn’t totally crazy about all the pieces, I did really like the look with the plaid bow-tie (fourth from left–that’s the designer in the middle!).

Another collection with really gorgeous movement was Sheer Structure by Taylor Albers. The loose-fitting chartreuse dress was especially enticing, although I think I’d probably look like an overgrown grasshopper. That’s why I don’t model, I guess. That and my love of cheese.

I’m always impressed by handmade swimwear, since stretchy fabrics are such a b-word to work with. All these sweet bikinis made me want to start doing crunches now so I might be ready to wear one by June. This was a mixed collection called Radiant Energy, with pieces from different designers.

Designers clockwise from top left: Jacqueline Madey, Esli Navarro, Amanda Glaze, Heather Johnston

The second swimwear collection was all by one designer, Wanderlust by Brittany Wallace, and included clever cover-ups that transformed the swimsuits into outfits. I could totally see some glamorous soul wandering around the Keys with a pair of big sunglasses and a floppy hat in these looks.

I liked the harem pants–they reminded me of Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey.

The last swimwear collection was Undomesticated by Nyla Handy. They were apparently based on exotic birds. While none of them were anything I’d wear, I thought they were fun and I loved the styling of the collection in general.

There was a mixed collection of summery looks called Solstice. I picked out a few favorites to show you.

Designers clockwise from top left: Esli Navarro,Jacqueline Madey, Nikkole Crow, Meredith Morrow, Stacey Silman, Heather Johnston

The girl in the khaki dress had a fantastic hairstyle I’m totally going to steal:

There was a mixed collection of clothes made of fair-trade fabrics from Kenya. I was changing around my camera settings so I missed a few of them, but the ones I caught were very cool. I included the front and back of the romper because it had such cool details on the back.

Romper by Heather Johnston, dress by Ashton Mixer

The next collection, Woodland by Katherine Woodruff, was made up of nice soft comfy fabrics and earthtones. It all looked like stuff Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games might wear if she were a little more fashion-inclined.

There was a mixed collection of coats called Cold Front. I had a hard time picking out pictures, since it was a large collection and I really liked all of them, but I managed to narrow it down. There were a couple of men’s coats thrown in too!

Designers, top row: Gigi Huang, Leah Shepard, Gretchen Roehrs; middle row: Lauralee Leonard, Georgia Trimble, Mackie Schomburg; bottom row: Taylor Albers, Brittany Wallace, Katherine Woodruff

One of my two very favorite collections was next: Coquette by Gretchen Roehrs. Supposedly inspired by Godard’s Breathless, the pieces were reminiscent of decades gone by, but still very modern. I loved the colors, the shapes, the styling, everything. It would be difficult to pick a favorite, but I find myself going back to the white feather shift over and over again. Also, that dog was a total pro–fearless and jaunty the whole time.

My textile background is in shibori (an intricate family of Japanese dyeing techniques) so I was excited to see a collection that featured shibori silks in all the pieces: Unraveling Structure by Mackie Schomburg. This collection was a lot of fun to photograph, since all the skirts flowed and shifted beautifully as they came down the runway.

There was an exhibition of dresses made from recycled materials to raise awareness for breast cancer. They were all a lot of fun, but my two favorites were a sparkly tutu dress made from drinking straws and newspaper, and a slinky, swishing, high-collared gown made from Sweet n’ Low packets (I think they were full, it was actually a really noisy dress!).

My other favorite collection was Beautiful Dreamer by Lauralee Leonard. They were all gorgeous, subtly sparkling gowns in shades of ivory, nude, and peach. Any one of them would have made a perfect unusual wedding gown, and they all moved beautifully as they came down the runway.

All in all, it was a really fun afternoon, and I left feeling so inspired I had to bust out my sewing machine and add to my own wardrobe. What do you think? Any favorites jump out at you? How about that gorgeous set? Great job, fashion students! I’ll be keeping an eye on your careers for when you inevitably become famous.