By Tate Luckey —
“Fashion cannot exist without culture,” International Fashion show host Gabrielle Mabra echoes. The Met Gala-themed event, sponsored by the University of Louisville Student Activities Board, showcased two hours of performances and clothing that depicted the different cultures present in the U of L community.
First up was the region of North America, characterized by fashion categorized by city. For example, Chicago is known for its sportswear and casual threads, while New York is associated with formal, more intentional styles. The region was capped off with a performance by Avery Elise singing Beyonce’s classic 2003 “Crazy in Love”.
Next was the region of Asia, characterized by dramatic drapings and more genderfluid attire. There is a bigger emphasis on sustainable clothes rather than “fast-fashion” that is more prominent in places like the United States. “I more specifically represented Vietnam, wearing Vietnam’s traditional outfit known as an ‘áo dài’, which both sexes can wear,” U of L junior Vivi Nguy said. “The amazing thing about an áo dài is that most people who get one are personally fitted to it and choose their own designs. This makes it a one of kind of to everyone who wears one.”
“I was born in the Philippines but grew up in the States. I was very lucky to have parents that kept the culture in the household growing up,” sophomore Kristine Brucal said. “I wore a baro’t saya, a piece of traditional Filipino clothing. It was made by a designer in the Philippines! Her name is Joy Soo, and her brand is called MUSA.”
Followed by Asia was Europe, whose fashion emphasizes elegant gowns and corsets and “business chic.” Jewelry and accessories make up a big part of European fashion. Some examples of more contemporary designers include Stella McCartney, Iris van Herpen and Isabel Marant.
Emphasized by a rich, colorful tropic lifestyle and delicious food/dancing, the clothing of Latin America is characterized by bright, long flowing dresses and causal contrasting-colored garments. Most outfits presented also had some form of a hat or accessory. Prominent designers include Oscar de la Renta and Nina Garcia. Following their showcase was a performance of “Despacito” by Christopher Morales.
Another example of a culture with bright, flowing clothing is the Middle East, spearheaded by designers Elie Tahari and Ruti Zisser. Lots of important women throughout history have worn Israeli fashion, including Jackie Kennedy and Princess Diana. Gold is often a highlight on most articles of clothing. Rawan Saleh performed Rudy Francisco’s “The Heart and the Fist” before transitioning to the last region.
African fashion features a lot of patterns and various dynamic color tones, looking very elegant and regal. Including prominent designers like Alvin Bell, Gordon Henderson and Imane Ayissi, African fashion often is built on extremely detailed seamwork and figure accentuating cuts. “What makes [African culture] so unique is that there are so many different countries with different languages and cultures and you can represent yourself in whatever way you’ll like,” sophomore business major Prince Chenou said. “I decided to wear this shirt because I remember my dad had worn a shirt like that one with similar patterns and I always admired the way he was able to wear it.”
The last performance of the International Fashion Show included Cardinal Bhangra, which was started in 2008 to showcase the traditional Punjabi folk dance. During the performance they held customized Louisville Slugger bats and incorporated elements of the Derby and the late Muhammad Ali. Their outfits are traditional pieces worn in Punjab, called a kameez, and a vest, called a vardis.
The recording of the show can be found here.
File photos // IFS 2022//