MODA: Back on the catwalk again 

Fashion show featuring student and local designers expected to attract 1,300

By Sammie Spector

 MODA struts its stuff tonight at Chicago Union Station for its annual spring fashion show. This spring show is always a celebration of fashion and lifestyle, and this year is no exception. The show includes a cocktail party, work on the runway by both student and local designers, and a much-anticipated after-party downtown.

Every year, MODA chooses a specific nod to fashion to synthesize all of its designs and event night under one theme. The board that turns a dreary gray night into Fashion Week is comprised of 17 undergrads. This group of students plans and organizes more than 200 people involved in the organization’s magazine and/or in the fashion show as models, designers, photographers, and volunteers. The RSO began as a magazine in 2003, and has since evolved to include a daily blog. It has an entire team dedicated to planning events such as tonight, its largest and grandest event of the year, plus the Designer Boot Camp that gives fledgling designers the resources and classes needed to design. Sixty-five percent of designers tonight are current or alumni students of this program that Harrison Yu has been running the past three years. The remaining thirty-five percent have previous sewing experience, two of which are professional, local designers.

The theme House of MODA celebrates is “nonchalant glamour” as Marketing Director Sophie Critchfield-Jain said. “We love the idea of people looking like they’re not even trying to be glamorous, while being in a haute couture gown.” Through hair and makeup styles, and a certain ‘demeanor’ that she defines nebulously, Sophie says this year MODA is searching for a sort of ‘tarnished’ perfection to be reflected on the runway. Its inspiration was drawn from the decadent Hall of Mirrors in Versailles; Sofia Coppola’s film, Marie Antoinette; and Elie Saab’s runway designs. The expected attendance tonight will amass 1,300, an extra grand of fashion-goers this year. For those who have attended before, Yu excitedly said to look forward to some changes: “The aesthetic looks to be going in a very different direction from previous years, but I can’t give too much away as it may give away the surprise before the show!” As it’s Critchfield-Jain’s first year involved with planning the show, she is most excited to see it come together on the day of, adding that she’s most excited to “see everyone’s faces as they see what we’ve decided to do!”

Though perhaps improbable on the streets of Chicago during this wintry start to March, with a little bit of MODA magic, Union Station will have its fill of glamour tonight.