STRUT 2012 at the InterContinental

The creative gears were turning for the second annual STRUT competition and charity event at the InterContinental Hotel.

By - Sep 22nd, 2012 04:00 am

It’s as if the gears like those of Rexnord, a Milwaukee manufacturing company and one of the featured industries in this year’s STRUT event held on Sept. 7, started turning in the creative minds of the local American Society of Interior Designers and International Interior Designers Association to bring together universal design elements in an unexpected mix of fashion, interior design and Wisconsin’s manufacturing.

The common thread weaving this seemingly disconnected trio of interiors, clothing, and corporations together for the 2nd year of the annual STRUT event was the challenge to use materials of manufacturing and interior spaces to make wearable art showcased that night on the runway at the InterContinental Hotel in downtown Milwaukee.

William Lidwell, author of the Universal Principles of Design, said, “The best designers sometimes disregard the principles of design. When they do so, however, there is usually some compensating merit attained at the cost of the violation. Unless you are certain of doing as well, it is best to abide by the principles.” This year’s STRUT 2012 proceeds beneficiary, the Ronald McDonald House, is a charity of deserving merit for the creative license taken by the Interior Design teams who may have bent, if not violated, a few rules in creating the works of fashion masterpieces.

The 20 teams competed for the STRUT awards before a distinguished panel of judges (Carrie Arrouet, owner of Lela Boutique; Carol J. Blanchard, Costume Designer, CJ Blanchard Designs; Jordan Dechambre, Fashion Editor, M-Milwaukee’s Lifestyle Magazine; and Kevin Huddleston, Executive Director and Tiffany Klopp, Manager of Family Services & Programs of the Ronald McDonald House Charities). The creative teams also received accolades from the nearly 500 guests in attendance who enjoyed drinks, dinner, desserts and an exclusive after party at the InterContinental.

The STRUT event coincided nicely with Fashion Weeks launching globally during the month of September from New York to Paris, London, L.A., Milan, Brazil and even India, putting Milwaukee on the map, if even ever so slightly, among the haute couture meccas.

Each team at STRUT was assigned a Wisconsin company, a group of collaborators, products to use, and a specific color. Taking center stage, color defined each creation, and not just the greens. Hues of blues of the Great Lakes and metallics of machinery also showed up as in “50 Shades of Titanium” worn by the model for the Harley team. Color radiated under the stage lights in bright margarita, sweet lilac, granita, and French roast, each with a corresponding big screen backdrop, like the honey gold where the model emerged on the runway from a visual of effervescent liquid brew.

The styles created not only represented Wisconsin’s iconic industries, but also themes and colors symbolizing the Badger State like green power and pastures, as is the case for the #11 Destree Destroyers Design inspired by Briggs & Stratton lawn machinery and #1 Sew Haute team’s piece based on the premise that “Green is not just a color; it is a way of manufacturing.” #2 Waukesha County Technical College’s 4 Design group also took to green, as in the Green Bay Packers’ official sponsor, Nicolet Natural Artesian Water Company with an outfit titled: “The Artesian Water Goddess.”

Though color was the dominant element, the other design must-haves were not ignored, with a strong showing of shape and texture created by carpet fabric and mosaic tile bodices. Space and form also found their way into a Calatrava-inspired grey beaded gown with a multitude of tactile loops around the bottom. Show-stoppers came by way of a model strutting some Saturnish sphere funky head-wear and from the literal framing of a comic-reminiscent raincoat slicker in bright yellow and black complete with umbrella.

The STRUT creations also applied the principles of design with greater or lesser success. Unity of a design is achieved, according to Alex White, author of The Element of Graphic Design, when all elements are in agreement. When posed with a similar challenge of what to wear to pull an outfit together, take a cue from the inspiration the design dream teams of STRUT 2012 came up with (short of wearing a lampshade on your head).

With Wisconsin’s strong history of agriculture and manufacturing, it’s easy to think it’s all engineering and science, void of the artistry of fashion and interior design. But the best technology inventions came out of creative solutions. Conversely, wardrobe options, homes and offices all have improved by textile and manufacturing advancements. STRUT 2012 brilliantly showcased this creative connection and heritage for a great cause.

For highlights of STRUT 2012 click here.

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