I. D. Program Part of Fashion Runway


ST. LOUIS — Maryville University senior Interior Design major Lauren Elliott will have the opportunity to be a “role model” on Thursday, Oct. 4, when she takes the stage during IIDA Fashion Runway, a fashion show sponsored by the St. Louis chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). Elliott of St. Charles will be wearing an ensemble created and designed by herself and five other Maryville Interior Design majors and faculty members.

“I wanted to participate in this event and be the model for the fashion show because I need to do things I am not comfortable doing or used to doing,” she said. “I am not an outgoing person. I know I will be nervous to ‘walk the runway’ but it gets my name out there and also represents Maryville and the Interior Design program.” Maryville will be among 28 teams competing for cash prizes in front of a team of judges comprised of prominent design industry personalities.

The twist to this fashion show is that teams were not allowed to use traditional clothing material. Rather, they had to make do with materials supplied by their team sponsor, a local product representative. In Team Maryville’s case, this meant using vinyl wall covering supplied by D.L. Couch. Christie Samuelson is representing the manufacturer on Maryville’s team. Maryville team members chose to go with a retro look for their garment creation and designed A Fifties Revival Ensemble, which includes a collared jacket, skirt with a bustle, belt, purse and wide-brimmed hat. To accentuate the retro look, Elliott will wear a Marilyn Monroe-like hairstyle. The team describes its ensemble as “weaving elegance with whimsy by evoking the romantic era of the late fifties, where cinematic fantasies blend with dramatic color.”

Maryville became aware of IIDA Fashion Runway earlier this year through Barb Zappulla, an adjunct interior design instructor at the University. Zappulla and Darlene Davison, assistant professor of interior design and director of Maryville’s program, are the two faculty members on the team. In addition to Elliott, other students on the team are seniors Emily Gordon, Ann Neubauer and Kristi Pearson. The group started meeting as a team shortly after the fall semester began.

Zappulla and Davison agree it would be nice if the Maryville team came away with a top prize for its creation. But winning isn’t everything, they say. “This is really a great opportunity for these students to get their names out there and make connections with professionals in the interior design field,” Zappulla said. Davison added that like the Canstruction event earlier this year in which a Maryville interior design team competed, the IIDA Fashion Runway is a chance for Maryville to increase its exposure in the St. Louis interior design scene.

Both Gordon and Pearson said the competition will be fun, and advantageous from a practical standpoint. “I think that this experience will help me in my future career in that I love to sew and I’m hoping to incorporate sewing into a future career,” said Gordon of Jerseyville, Ill. “The IIDA Fashion Show is a great opportunity to work with local manufacturer reps, compete against top firms and network with professionals in the field,” said Pearson of St. Charles.

Team Maryville’s fashion creation will be on display in the University’s Art and Design Building from October 5-23 and then in the College of Arts and Sciences lobby until mid-November. Davison noted that IIDA Fashion Runway is supporting St. Patrick’s Center by collecting new and/or gently used winter coats. The Maryville team will have a collection bin through October 4 in the lobby of the Art and Design Building.

Maryville University, founded in 1872, is a private, coeducational institution offering approximately 50 undergraduate, seven master’s and two doctoral degree programs to 3,300 students. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges in the Midwest, Maryville University prepares its students for successful and meaningful careers by offering programs that integrate liberal arts with professional studies.

Among Maryville’s most recent graduates, 94 percent are employed or attending graduate school. Approximately 15,000 alumni work and live in the St. Louis region.