BY KIMBERLY CHOU
Published March 30, 2006
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Spending less than $10 and only a few hours of time, Weiss applied her love of "funky and classic" to ho-hum Target goods. She customized a pair of black Bermuda shorts and a sheer lace top with sherbet-colored ribbon and textured trim.
And it'd be difficult to guess from the finished product, but Arnsdorf started out with just a wifebeater tank top and jeans. After much dyeing, cutting and sewing, the plain white tank is now a summery tie-back tube top -- and the cropped jeans are even edged in fabric to match.
When current School of Music senior Jessica-Eli Weiss transferred programs, LSA missed its chance at graduating one very well dressed doctor, writer or politico. But if all goes as intended, Hollywood costume designers will be more than happy when the design and production major finishes her studies this fall.
For her major, Weiss specializes in costume design. Though it may not immediately register as the premier place for costuming, the School of Music encompasses the theater department, which includes the design and production major. The concentration features set, light and costume design, as well as stage management.
"My sophomore year, I was still undecided and I was taking a bunch of random courses - nothing really spoke to me. I happened to get into the Intro to Design course that was in this department and I loved it," said Weiss, who goes by her Hebrew name Eli.
After overhearing a classmate asking an instructor for a recommendation, Weiss realized she was done with LSA.
"I thought, 'You know, I should transfer because I really want to do this,' " Weiss said. "I didn't even think about it - I've always loved fashion, I loved this kind of stuff and I had my own sketches."
The switch to design and production threw her into hours of costume classes, with paper projects based on scripts, culling design ideas from analysis of characters, settings and plotlines. In addition, as they gain more practical experience, students get the opportunity to design for University productions, usually during their senior year. Recently, Weiss was designer Christianne Myer's assistant for the University opera "Jackie O," as well as assistant stage manager for "The Gold Diggers" earlier this year. She said she will design for an upcoming University production during her final semester.
Weiss admitted her major is very time consuming, but spoke animatedly about it and her love of fashion in general.
She admires costume designers Janty Yates ("Gladiator") and Julie Weiss ("Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas"), but cites the flirty, flamboyant clothing designer Betsey Johnson as a personal style influence.
Johnson is best known for mixing bright colors and bold prints with classic silhouettes. Hot pink satin tap pants and leopard print tunics aren't uncommon.
"I think that (her work) is a seamless combination of classic and funky; I really like the combination of the two. And she executes it exquisitely - she does some beautiful stuff in terms of fashion design," Weiss said.
As for personal style, Weiss is a combination of classic and funky herself. At home in New York, she's fortunate to live close enough to New York City to indulge in her love of East Village shopping. Working in the Frieze Building on a chill, gray afternoon, Weiss sported dark blue jeans tucked into furry black boots, topped by an argyle vest over a striped pink button-down shirt. The ever-stylish Prince, circa "Purple Rain," surely would have approved of the button-down's ruffled collar and cuffs.
"I just like that people can - at least with costuming, or even (just everyday) clothing - a person can express themselves through it," Weiss said. "I just think that's a fabulous thing: Your individuality comes through what you wear."
Poor broccoli - so rich in vitamins and antioxidants, so painfully unsexy. If only more fashion innovators like School of Music junior Rachel Arnsdorf would realize the untapped sex appeal of brassica oleracea.
"For Halloween I made a green jumpsuit - it was '70s style with a big popped collar and I went as 'slutty broccoli,' " said Arnsdorf, a design and production major specializing in costume design.
She curled her hair and colored it green for the costume, then further accessorized the outfit with a broccoli charm necklace and a waterbra bought for the occasion.