What were you doing in the late afternoon of Thursday, April 10th? That evening, the fourth annual Personal Adornment Day and Makeup Extravaganza took over Haas. It was a bit like a carnival or parade, complete with music and applause. Mixed Media, Fabric Design, 3D Design, and Theatre students showcased their obviously time-consuming projects in a fun and music-filled environment that evening. Students and faculty set up a runway through the already art-filled gallery upstairs that stretched from the back of the gallery,where models prepared to walk near the elevators, winding around a pole near the entrance. When I arrived, the space around this taped-off runway was packed with a fascinated audience. The models paraded and danced along the snake-like runway, in manners consistent with the themes of their wearable art. The themes ranged from social commentary about capitalism, to the personal experiences of artists. Some models did more performance than others, such as offering candy or a persona to the audience. Not only were the costumes original, handmade designs, but many were constructed from recycled materials. With each new model and theme, there was corresponding music. For example, a dress made from recycled umbrella panels, with paper cocktail umbrellas coating the skirt, was accompanied by Rihanna’s “Umbrella” song. How clever! One artist’s use of a recycled cardboard box with “found” clothing – meaning, clothing manufactured by someone other than the artist – was less than impressive, but the performance aspect of the work made up for that. His involvement with the audience was upbeat and joyous. Only a few of the works modeled on the runway were lacking in technical skill, but this is where the artists’ innovation came into play. The artists and models were innovative in their choices of music, and use of performance interaction with the audience. The most fascinating aspect of this show for me was the use of materials. The cover design for the program pamphlet includes the phrase, “material innovation,” which is exactly what this extravaganza was about. Some of the materials that were used automatically defined certain works as avant-garde, such as water balloons, metal, duct tape, or records. These were very exciting. I had never seen a dress made from mild steelbefore the experience of this show. I was also impressed with a cocktail dress constructed out of molded musical records. I am amazed that any type of clothing can be made from steel, without being reminiscent of medieval times. I also suspect that records are as difficult to mold into a dress as steel. These are impressive skills! One of my favorite pieces was, at first glance, a well-constructed evening gown with a stylishly low-cut back. As the lovely model wearing it walked away from me, though, I noticed fine strands of fiber trailing behind her. The lyrics to the accompanying music, “She’s in the shower!” made even more sense when the runway narrator announced the work to be about a fear of shower drain lint! Notevery artist showed works made with non-traditional materials. There were a few gowns that were simply beautiful, by at least two different artists. One of these artists drew her inspiration from the way the forest encouraged her imagination to run wild. Her series of dresses modeled down the runway were the closest to fine fashion of any at the show. Elegant and earthy, this series of slightly matching dresses was reminiscent of a wedding in the forest. This presentation of a variety of work was the highlight of the evening. The students seemed rightfully happy with their efforts, especially when they all ran onto the runway for an encore dance to David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” It was such a treat! The icing on the cake was the cookout directly afterwards, with Chef Karl Beamer. Everyone who stayed continued to celebrate the students’ work with vegetables, burgers, and drinks. There are so many students with an excess of creativity at Bloomsburg that an event like the Extravaganza is absolutely necessary.