Rachel Kaplan always dreamed she would work in fashion in one facet or another. In fact, when she was in fourth grade she made a bold statement to her mother. She told her she was going to be a model AND a fashion designer. So far, both of those childhood declarations have become a reality.
For the past few years Rachel has participated in the CCAD Senior Fashion Show as a model, wearing the works of other designers. This year, she’s eager to finally have her own creations take the runway.
Like her classmates, Rachel had to select both a sculpture and painting as her muse for her collection. Because she normally finds her inspiration in organic shapes or even street fashion, she found this particular part of the process more difficult than creating any of her five garments.
“I’ll be out and see a shape in a tree or in the clouds that looks like a dress or a shirt to me and I’ll sketch it out, so it was really hard for me to pick a sculpture and painting to draw inspiration from,” she admits. “Instead, I chose to look for paintings and sculptures that encompassed the colors I wanted.”
Since she wanted her designs to reflect the 1930s era, she narrowed her focus to artists who were close to that time frame, but also reflected the colors and movement she wanted in her pieces. She ultimately chose Umberto Boccioni’s sculpture “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space” (1913; Cast 1931) and Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting “Red Canna” (1923).
“I used a lot of the colors from the artists including the golds, tans, bronzes, blacks, and the pop of reds,” notes Rachel. “The painting has so much flow to it, which moves your eye through it. I loved the flow that the sculpture had, too. It almost looked as if it was a person with a piece of fabric draped over top.”
Rachel wanted to incorporate that “flow” aspect to her collection through the use of lightweight fabrics mixed with metallic fabrics, which would give the element of movement when light hit it.
“I wanted to create pieces that were really glamorous and showed off the curves of a woman’s body,” says Rachel. “I also wanted designs that looked expensive and dramatic on the runway, so I chose beaded, sequined, and metallic fabrics. To add a softer top layer, I chose chiffon.”
Rachel’s fabric selections were key in turning her works into a cohesive collection, but not without a few labor-intensive sewing and hand-beading sessions. Out of the five pieces selected for the show, she estimates that she spent at least a total of two weeks on each one.
“I’m still hand beading one of the gowns,” she muses. “One day I sat there for 14 hours. My fingers were numb!”
All of Rachel’s hard work will pay off on May 11 when she gets to watch models wear her collection on the runway instead of the other way around. Make sure you purchase your tickets soon so you can be there too.
The CCAD Fashion Show is an annual fundraising event that showcases the talent of graduating Columbus College of Art & Design Fashion Design Seniors. This popular event sells out every year and this blog is a portal through which to view the behind-the-scenes goings on.