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Business of Fashion's spring show brings more than floral prints and sundresses

BOF Spring Show
Models walk down the runway during the Business of Fashion Spring Show at Hackett House, on Saturday, April 16, 2016, in Tempe, AZ. The fashion show featured pieces from Pitaya, Shop Olive You, Divaz, Grow Op, Frances Vintage and Ted Baker.

When one thinks of spring fashion, the first things to come to mind are generally excessive florals and conventional pastels. Business of Fashion at ASU broke the mold Saturday night at their third annual spring show, balancing structure with flow and neutrality with boldness. 

But the clothes themselves weren't the only ones making a statement that night – the venue, the intimate setting, the down-to-earth energy and the sociable audience all contributed to the vision for the show that its coordinators had all along. 

The difference between this year's soft theme and cozy venue and last year's grungier vibe and edgy location was obvious and was met with positive feedback from the audience. 

"This year I feel like it's a little bit more my style," business communication sophomore Marie Hanson said. "I'm kind of into more airy, girly, a little more chic. Last year was a little grungier, but it worked for the show. So I feel like this is going to work too."

BOF members and outside attendees alike all seemed fully engaged with each other and, with the show's coordinators, a testament to the organization's focus on community and creating a positive experience for all. 

Phoenix Fashion Week, which sets up a booth at the show, shared a similar sentiment.

"I think any event that's out there brings excitement and attention to the fact that Phoenix is a very fashionable town," said Alison Callaway, education director for Phoenix Fashion Week. "There are a lot of great designers and products, and it's a great place to go and see the spectrum of what's offered in the fashion industry."

The evening started off with a menswear showcase from Nebraska-based designer Christopher DiGiorgio, who was not in attendance. Callaway said most showcases she's seen on bigger runways have included walking models, so BOF's choice to have the models simply stand on the runway for half an hour was unique. 

However, the audience, which was notably diverse, seemed to enjoy having the live models and their interesting ensembles to glance at as they mingled. 

The outfits displayed from DiGiorgio's collection would probably work best for an early East Coast spring, not for the endless Phoenix summers. Each look was heavily layered with light, neutral fabrics and jackets. The earth tones were broken up by various patterns, from a loose cheetah print vest to plaid patches. 

Although DiGiorgio's designs were a bit rugged in contrast to the soft ambiance of the show as a whole, his ability to maintain structure without sacrificing comfort and movement complemented BOF's styling mission well. 

"The aesthetic really worked with what we're going for," Madison Morrow, Business of Fashion president, said. "He has the all-neutral look for spring, but it still has a metallic sheen and stuff like that, so like a winter basis with a spring look."

DiGiorgio's designs were capable of taking, for example, a traditionally winter turtleneck and turning it into something more seasonally neutral by loosening the neck and softening the fabric. This commitment to both stylistic and aesthetic neutrality introduced the main event well without overdoing the concept of a soft spring. 

At the end of the night, under the soft glow of Hackett House's string lights and golden chandelier, a beautiful and diverse group of young models flaunted exactly what the entire event aimed to reflect — a fresh, laid back spin on the standard styles of spring.

Instead of typical all-over florals, the girls donned lacy or softly patterned dresses with gentle details that mimicked the essence of flowers. Most of their outfits flowed delicately around figure-framing silhouettes that caught the light beautifully. 

The light fabrics were occasionally contrasted with a bit of a tasteful edge, like a girly dress paired with a thick black choker or sharply defined makeup along the cheekbones. 

All of the looks were very accessible and easily replicated, but the men's outfits in particular contained items that people may already wear on a regular basis, like casual Nikes. 

The guys also donned some light wash jeans and various colors of shorts but didn't miss out on the pops of edginess that iced the runway. One stand out piece was a large gold cuff that was paired with a standard white button-down and khakis. 

Everything about the spring show was balanced and harmonious. The pink brick walls, dainty lighting and white details of Hackett House perfectly matched the colors on the runway, the audience was as diverse as the models in background and age (one of the models was only twelve years old!) and the typically intense energy of fashion shows was diluted by the good vibes and kind community Business of Fashion has come to represent. 

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