Gillian Morgan ’25, Staff Writer

Sister Denise Mollica with Gillian Morgan

The Great Hall at Immaculata University (IU) was full of glam, glitter, sequins, ruffles, tulle, and feathers on Saturday, April 2nd for the 2022 Immaculata University Fashion Show.  Beautiful shimmering gold stars dotted the backdrop as nervous and excited models waited backstage to be called to the runway for the show titled Under the Stars. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the show was back on the runway with a large audience in place.

Every year the Director of the IU Fashion Merchandising Program, Lina Castro works tirelessly to prepare for this event. Under Lina’s guidance, the IU Fashion Merchandising Department is very proud to present this show as a fundraiser that is run by students for students who cannot afford the prom experience. The show is also an outreach to IU students along with local high school students who are invited to participate in the show as models.

The festivities started with Maeve Touhey, a junior Fashion Merchandising major, introducing Lina Castro. Lina expressed her pride in this event, as well as in the IU Fashion Merchandising program, and in the hard work of all the fashion students to make the show a success. She stressed the importance of academic excellence in the Fashion Merchandising program, as well as the importance for IU fashion students to help others in the community. Lina emphasized, “the program is committed to running a fundraising event that helps some high school students in the community who are struggling to purchase a dress or ticket for the prom.”  

Freshmen Olivia Thorpe and Lauren Price were the emcees for the show. They began the program with the introduction of the judges for the evening. IU alumni Mary Duffy, Nicole Viola, Rachel Scardapone, Mikyla Persing, Maria Tafuro, and Olivia Gray were tasked with scoring the categories of Best Design, Best Editorial, and Best One-of-a-Kind Mannequins.

As the models took to the runway they wore designs from Deborah Ann Mack, David’s Bridal, Elizabeth Johns, and some of their own student creations.

Model on the runway

Deborah Ann Mack of DAM Fashions, a local fashion designer from the Philadelphia area offers luxury, ready-to-wear designs that are classy, timeless, and sophisticated. Deborah Ann Mack generously shared her dresses, coats, jackets, and bomber jackets to be modeled for the evening.

David’s Bridal, located in Pennsylvania, is an international special occasion brand that lent dresses from their Jules and Cleo collection to be showcased. With this collection, David’s Bridal shares their commitment to inclusivity through offering all sizes.

Elizabeth Johns boutique has been a very generous donor to this IU for fundraising for the last three years. Elizabeth Johns is based in Morristown, NJ and Ardmore, PA and offers couture bridal gowns and beautifully curated evening gowns.

This event also was the culmination of a year of hard work by the students enrolled in in the Fashion Merchandising program at IU in the Apparel Construction/Design, Flat Pattern, Draping, and Collection classes. In these classes students are challenged to make sustainable garments with previously used materials or donated fabrics, such as curtains. IU students follow the process from technical design to creation. They must ensure their garments are ready to be sold, are financially viable, and provide a marketing strategy for their products. Audience members were thrilled to be able to see these students designed and custom constructed creations paraded on the runway.

Siani Brownlee, Senior Fashion Merchandising major and President of Immaculata’s African American Culture Society had the privilege of announcing a very inspirational part of the show that would not have been possible without Professor Franciene Richardson. Professor Richardson shared her personal collection of traditional garments to be modeled that celebrate history, culture, and heritage.

During the evening, guests were able to watch the runway show, enjoy light refreshments, peruse fashion editorial pages made by the students along with viewing one-of-a-kind mannequin designs created by students that were inspired by famous fashion designers. There were also vendors and items for sale by Deborah Ann Mack and Kinj Collective.  Kinj Collective is an online women’s lifestyle boutique based in Wilmington, Delaware offering beautiful items.

As the show ended, Sister Denise Mollica mentioned how happy she was to have the Fashion Show fundraiser back in the Great Hall after two years. She was thrilled to greet many of 180 guests in attendance. Sister Denise is an instrumental part of guiding the fashion merchandising students with her classes for clothing construction, flat pattern, and draping.

Prom models

After the last model left the runway, the scores were tallied, and the show’s winners were announced.

The 2022 Immaculata Fashion Show Award Winners:

Best Student Design:

1st Place – John Bohrer

2nd Place – Siani Brownlee

Best Editorial:

 Caroline McArdle

One of a Kind Mannequin:

1st Place: Alison Furman

2nd Place: Lauren Price

Congratulations to all the award winners! It was an incredible evening to be Under the Stars at the 2022 Immaculata University Fashion Show fundraiser!