On Friday, Harvard turned its Hogwarts-style dining hall into something more akin to a Lincoln Center tent. A catwalk ran down the center of the hall while students gathered in their collegiate finest for the school’s annual student-run fashion show. Since its inception in 2006, Identities attempts to shatter “misconceptions in order to unite the Harvard and fashion communities,” and because they never have a problem selling out the 600 available seats, it appears to be working.
The students-turned-models receive the same hair and makeup treatment as the top girls at New York Fashion Week. Maybelline’s Gabriel Almodovar rooted the beauty looks in their perfect skin. “That fresh, dewy skin” paired with “coral and peach cheeks” set off a bit of white cream eye shadow on the cheekbones and the slope of the nose for a “glow that gives that ethereal look,” he said.
For the first time in its six year run, the show was divided into three segments and one was devoted to menswear. The opening segment, “What Makes a Lady” showed off pretty pastels and flocked dresses to an orchestral version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” while the portion entitled “Double Take” was a bit harder with printed pants, sequined blazers, and leather separates. The men’s show took the cake, with smart (duh, this is Harvard) abuse of primary colors and citric hues ending with sophisticated plaid suits.
In addition to showing off their curatorial prowess, Identities honors an Asian-American fashion designer who imparts wisdom to future fashion hopefuls. Joining the Harvard-knighted ranks of designers Vera Wang and Anna Sui, young gun Jen Kao received the University’s Leadership in the Arts Award. Kao humbly accepted the recognition saying, “I am equally inspired as I am honored,” calling the event “true evidence that the energy for creativity is still cooking.” Kao dispensed some advice to the future leaders in the room, recalling her own college experience of “abusing NYU freedom” and directing them to think and act outside of the box.