The recent Museum of Fine Arts, Houston exhibition, Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950, inspired Houston Community College fashion and design students to tap into their creative spirit for the Fashion Fusion 2017 competition, which culminated in a runway show at Cullinan Hall before an excited crowd.
The third annual competition, in which a major MFAH exhibition challenges designers to think outside the box and create original, contemporary interpretations, drew 20 runway looks designed by 17 HCC students. Tootsies buyer Leah Little Hale, designer Sameera Faridi, and MFAH curator of Latin American Art Mari Carmen Ramírez selected winners in four categories, while the audience chose their favorite as the evening's fifth award recipient.
The award in the Wearable Art category went to Kyndall Bollmeyer, who designed a colorful tiered gown dotted with flowers and an oversized headdress. She titled the winning entry, appropriately enough, "Flor de Papel" (Paper Flower).
Silvia Otaola won top spot in the Accessories and Jewelry category for her entry, "I'm Taking Havana With Me," which featured a number of statement pieces, including an oversized tote and cross-body bag emblazoned with scenes of Havana buildings.
Luisa Nadarajah best evoked the spirit of Old Havana in her winning entry, "Past, Present, Future, " with a frothy close-to-the-body feather and tulle gown while Maite Bradford took top prize in the Modern Cuba category with her entry, "My Soul Never to Surrender," featuring a unconstructed military-style green jacket trimmed in red, with khaki shorts, emblazoned T-shirt, and Mao cap.
The Audience Choice award went to Ebonie Sophus for "Eye Spy a Butterfly," in which she designed a dramatic cape embroidered with hundreds of flowers, butterflies, and outdoor greenery.
Each winner received a scholarship to attend classes at the museum's Glassell School of Art. Their winning work is on display at the MFAH through July 5.