Designers find inspiration for apparel, accessories and home décor in a variety of places. Sometimes, it’s a location. Other times, it’s the life of the prospective customer. She is the jet-setter who loves to dine at out-of-ordinary sushi joints, who travels to Paris and Shanghai for work while wearing Christian Louboutin stilettos on the plane.
Yet, muses can be found in the simplest of places, including the local Jo-Ann fabric store.
That’s where Emily Mishler, a senior in Apparel Design Technology at Purdue University, found the design concept behind the collection she showed this past April for the major’s annual spring fashion show.
It was a watercolor cheetah print in a silk/polyester blend. The mix of colorful hues melded together had a decidedly cohesive affect, Mishler said.
“I like cohesion,” she said. “I like simplicity. I love wearable pieces,” admitted the 22-year-old. “Even in my own wardrobe, it has to be wearable.”
Mishler showed a variety of the pieces she created for the Purdue fashion shows at this year’s Wish Gala Fashion Show held April 18 in the Lahr Atrium in Lafayette. The show itself was well-produced with functional lighting, well-paced modeling and a finale walk-through with all the models as fog permeated and balloons dropped from the ceiling.
All three of the collections worked well because they presented cohesive looks, apparel and accessories that one woman would love to wear. It’s fair to say that they had their target customer in mind.
I personally love shopping at stores that tailor to a target demographic. They know what the shopper wants, what she likes and are able to create more curated stores that are easy to shop.
While style preferences change as you age and no one’s taste can be simplified into one sound-byte archetype, knowing what type of woman you are definitely helps shape your sense of style and fashion.
It also helps you to not be swayed by trends that don’t really have a place in your wardrobe.
Here are the three women or style icons I thought of while watching the show.
The simple sophisticate: Although Mishler’s Wish Gala collection was a blend of pieces from past collections, they flowed fluidly on the runway. Her taste for simplicity was apparent as well as her preference for fine fabric and silhouettes that flatter the feminine figure.
There were several pieces that she showed that I personally loved. Two of them were cloak coats. These coats simply draped over the body with no zipper or clasps. They both featured large shawl collars and fine fabric such as a self-lined microsuede and a heavy lined gray wool. The coats were voluminous yet completely functional, which is a difficult task to achieve. I’ve seen cloak coats before but they’re always too high fashion, meaning unwearable in everyday life.
Other nods in Mishler’s collection went to a brocade dress that she wore and a black half circle skirt and ivory top combo.
The skirt had the sheen of leather but the feel of microsuede. Although simple at first glance, the top was loaded with structural details that compliment your figure such as a pseudo-peplum that cinches in the waist and princess pleats that elongate the torso.
The bohemian music lover: Hot House Market’s collection featured a number of ultra-bohemian relics made chic again such as palazzo pants, high-waist cutoff denim shorts and the little white dress.
It reminded me of the Mosey Down Main Street events. It was young summer fun in Lafayette at its best — sipping wine coolers outside Main Street Cheese Wine and listening to White Vinyl Sky play in the middle of the blocked-off street while hundreds of passersby peruse tables full of spoon jewelry and local art.
This young woman is free-spirited, loves the arts, music and vintage clothing. She prefers cowboy boots to heels, bandanas to hats and can stomach baring a little midriff.
The no-fuss fashionista: Although newly opened in March, B Boutique in Brookston debuted some on-trend spring pieces rife with mint chevron shifts and lots of floor-length halter maxi dresses.
Some of the dresses were in unique prints while others celebrated vibrant color or other details such as arm cutouts or color-blocking.
This girl loves to read Marie Claire, is young and on a budget but knows her trends and doesn’t shy away from trying new looks.
She prefers comfort over the complicated and trusts in ease of wear rather than relaying on structured pieced to define her shape.
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More about the Wish Gala Fashion Show
The event April 18 was the second annual Wish Gala Fashion Show organized by local area businesses. Proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, an Arizona-based nonprofit that grants the desires of children with life-threatening illnesses.
For more about the Make-A-Wish organization visit wish.org.