Students live and let Di

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By Carley Fortune

It is the dress fairy tales are made of; an embroidered silk taffeta creation, complete with a 25-foot train and fluffy sleeves. The veil, as long as the train, is held in place by the Spencer family diamond tiara.

This week, Ryerson fashion design and communication students will pay tribute to Princess Diana through their Beyond Style benefit Jan. 15 at the Design Exchange. Proceeds will benefit the fashion program.

The event is a showing of the award-winning “Diana: A Celebration” exhibit. The exhibit comes from the Althrop Estate in England –the ancestral home of the Spencers. It features Diana’s unforgettable royal wedding gown and other pieces from her wardrobe. These include jewels, portraits, heirlooms and film footage.

This fashion fundraiser includes an exclusive cocktail reception, a fashion show featuring designs from Ryerson fashion alumni, and an exhibit of award-winning work by current Ryerson fashion design and communication students. The evening begins with hors d’oeuvres and speeches from those involves in the fashion program.

The Ryerson student and alumni pieces included in the exhibit have been chosen by a group of student and faculty volunteers. Linda Lewis, chair of Ryerson’s school of fashion, says Ryerson students have won a lot of fashion awards this year.

The exhibit also showcases two-dimensional pieces including magazine spreads, poster campaigns, illustrations and graphic design.

Diana was a fan of British designers and helped put their creations on international runways by wearing them to public events.

“Diana did a tremendous amount for the British fashion industry,” says Lewis. “She made a change for British designers.”

The alumni fashion show features the work of 20 Canadian designers at the top of the fashion industry, including Arthur Mendonca, Lida Baday, David Dixon, Shelli Oh, Judy Cornish, Anne Hung, and Paul Hardy. The exhibit of student work combines two-dimensional work from the fashion communication students as well as three dimensional pieces created by design students.

“The work was chosen on a basis of creativity: how well they were crafted and how their fit into the theme. We weren’t looking for grunge with the Diana exhibit,” says Jonathan Aitken, assistant professor for the fashion communication department.

Ryerson is one of two schools in Canada offering a degree in fashion. The student work featured in this exhibit could be at the forefront of Canadian fashion in the future.

To attend the Beyond Style benefit, from 7-10 p.m. Jan. 15, book as soon as possible. The exhibit of student work will be shown at the Design Exchange until Jan. 23 and the “Diana: A Celebration” exhibit will be there until Feb. 1. Tickets are $150.

Call (416)979-5000 x7849 for more information on how to obtain tickets for the show.

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