After hours of waiting in line outside McDonough Arena, the Diamante Fashion Show stunned attendees Jan. 16. The show, now in its fourth year, aimed to celebrate the diversity and power of fashion across its two-hour showcase, which merged dance and more traditional runway modeling.
The student-run show was founded by Kevin Martinez (COL ’20) three years ago and has since served as a powerful look at the future of representation in the fashion industry. Martinez continues to serve as director of the show in his final year at Georgetown University.
Students across campus and fashion designers from the Washington, D.C. area collaborate to showcase the evolution of fashion, power of self-expression and creativity through performance in the show.
The show opened shortly after 9 p.m. with a stunning duet dance performance from Kiara Finlay (COL ’22) and Mike Lazarre (COL ’22). The pair entered the stage clad in black garments and combined their expressive dance with watching one another dance to create an ethereal experience over an acoustic version of Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.”
After a brief appearance from Martinez and the rest of the logistics board to introduce the show and explain some technical difficulties, the show roared on.
The first scene, featuring the Nonpareil and Eric x Kash collection, was one of the show’s highlights. Ranging from multicolored, fluffy dresses to flashy red sequined suits, the collection never failed to shock with its distinctive fashion choices, offering another showcase for the models and designers to express their creativity.
Other pieces highlighted on the runway included shimmering blouses, neon-glowing light straps over otherwise typical T-shirts and one model using a basketball as a purse. These distinct attire choices formed the backbone of the showcase, and each model’s outfits reflected their own outfit preferences.
The show then turned to another dance scene, this time featuring the Hoya Blue Diamonds Dance Team. The dancers came dressed in animal print skirts and arm- and headbands, performing a variety of group dances over Tierra Whack’s “MY POWER” from “The Lion King: The Gift,” released in 2019.
Other fashion highlights from the show included outfits that incorporated helmets as part of a tennis player’s outfit and with a more traditional fashionable dress. These styles provided something distinct to the showcase and made sure each outfit did not blend into the others. Designers and stores like Hoodlvm, Rent the Runway and KINETIC STYLES each contributed to their own scenes and made the entire show come alive.
The evocative dance performances awoke the crowd that sometimes grew weary during the long pauses in between portions of the show. The final dance performance, choreographed by Syed Chapman (COL ’22)and Francis Shad (COL ’21), featured nearly 20 dancers on the small stage.
The dance opened with the orange jumpsuit-clad dancers forming a circle around one solitary dancer who stood still until the music hit its climax. Lines of dancers came out from the sides of the stage and joined the main circle, creating the group performance that defined this segment. This powerful dance highlighted the group nature of the show, with no individual performer standing out.
However, the show was partially affected by the technical difficulties announced at its opening. At various points of the show, a screen behind the dancers meant to display graphics did not turn on properly. The screen only started functioning properly at the very tail end of the show for the final dance performance.
Additionally, one of the more notable moments of the show came immediately after Martinez’s introduction, when a keyboard and amp were brought onto the stage, seemingly for a performance. However, after several minutes of tinkering with the amp and angle of the keyboard, the entire setup was taken offstage and the show continued with no mention of the gaffe.
Nevertheless, the show itself, in spite of its technical difficulties, achieved its purpose of showcasing the evolving fashion world with innovative designs and distinct identities. The dance performances functioned as fantastic bridges between the fashion performances and created an engaging experience for this iteration of Diamante.