Otis Fashion Show Gala Raises $1.1 Million for Design College

It was like the City of Angels’ West Coast version of the Big Apple’s Metropolitan Costume Institute Gala.

Otis College of Art and Design celebrated 30 years of fashion at its annual scholarship benefit and fashion show gala on Saturday, May 5 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Eight hundred people gathered for one of fashion’s biggest nights west of the Lincoln Center to support design education and revel in the dramatic and elegant runway collections created by Otis students.

More than $1.1 million was raised for the college, as the black-tie event, which included a silent auction featuring student art and one-of-a-kind pieces, attracted notable attendees such as designers Trina Turk, David Meister, Todd Oldham, Bob Mackie and vintage connoisseur Cameron Silver.

Meister and Oldham served on a panel of designers that included Michael Maccari of Armani Exchange, Liliana Casabal of Morgane Le Fay, and Ame Austin Max of MaxStudio, to mentor the junior and senior classes with their collections that debuted on the runway. Each designer presented the student with an award after each show.

“The show is only an hour-and-a-half sampling of the hard work and efforts that go into these student projects over the course of the year. I’m truly honored and proud of the creations from our extremely talented student designers. To be a part of the show since I’ve been with the college has been such an inspiring and amazing experience,” says, Rosemary Brantley, founding chair of the Otis Fashion Design program, who received an Otis Design Award at the show.

Designers worked with students to create collections inspired by a particular element, such as birds, flowers, eco-friendly materials and the 2012 USA Olympic team.

While the college is based in Los Angeles, some designers, such as New York-based Oldham, says it wasn’t difficult to develop and establish a bi-coastal relationship with the students.

The last collection showcased designs mentored by Dominique Lemieux of Cirque du Soleil, which transitioned to an awe-inspiring performance by the circus troupe.

The event also recognized Christopher Wicks, designer and founder of the fashion label English Laundry, who was honored with the Otis Creative Vision Award, and Elaine Goldsmith, Otis Trustee Chair Emerita and founding chair of the annual benefit.

Since the inaugural fashion show in 1983, the annual fundraising gala has raised a combined total of more than $25 million for art and design scholarships to LA’s first independent art institute, which was founded in 1918.

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