Leahy launches first fashion show DARKPOP

A gorgeous model struts down the runway, donning a beautiful golden dress as she poses before a captive audience. The designer watches backstage, making sure everything is going according to plan. This sounds like a scene from a typical fashion show, except it isn’t. The designer is Hinsdale Central senior, Nicholas Leahy, and many of the models are good friends of his from Hinsdale Central. Leahy held his first art show DARKPOP at the Community House on April 25, showcasing all of his fashion work from the last three years.

Leahy originally started designing as a hobby with a friend, but he soon began making dresses for his friends. He created his own brand, Nicholas Christoph Fashion Design, and continued to design in his art classes. The fashion show DARKPOP featured all of his previous collections, as well as his latest collection DARKPOP, which premiered at the fashion show. Years of hard work culminated on April 25, when Leahy held his first art show DARKPOP at the Community House. Seniors, Jacquelyn Incerto, Grace Rivelli, Gabrielle Roberts, Laena Carroll, and other Central students modeled for the show.

DARKPOP was hopefully the first of many fashion shows for Leahy. “It’s definitely a great learning experience. In the real world, you do a fashion show in about three months. I’ve had a year, about seven months to do it all, and it’s very high paced. There are a lot of things you need to get together: models and people dropping your show and all sorts of things that come together, and all the drama along with it. But it’s been a fun ride and a great learning experience, “Leahy said. Leahy has already started designing his summer collection and will continue to pursue fashion in college.

Every design starts with an idea, but every design comes along with a lot of work. “I do about a hundred sketches a dress, and from there it goes into a full-blown figure drawing with the clothes using really special markers and color pencils. Once I have a physical drawing of it, it comes to picking the fabrics I want to use, and if there any pattern pieces I need to create,” Leahy said.

From there, Leahy makes a model of the dress using muslin, a cheap cotton. The muslin copy is modified on a mannequin before it is used to help make the real dress with fabric. Inspiration for each individual dress came from the personalities and appearance of the models themselves, focusing on details such as the way a specific model’s hair drapes. None of the dresses modeled in the show were for sale, but a few custom dresses were auctioned off in a silent auction before the show, along with artwork created by current and former Central students.

The proceeds from the show were split between the Hinsdale Central Art Department and the Lady Gaga Foundation. Leahy decided to give half the profit to the Art Department in gratitude for all they’ve done for him. “I have a wonderful teacher Ms. Milas. She’s so awesome, took any idea I’ve had and made it a reality with me. She never tells anyone no because she just wants you to create art and be able to do what your dreams are, which is an amazing thing to have,” said Leahy.

The Art Department will use the money to purchase iPads, which students will use to create digital work, and to access high-quality portfolio and photography applications. Leahy will donate the other half of the profit to the Lady Gaga Foundation, which he believes goes along with the message of his show. “It supports bravery and inspires people to be themselves, because I think that’s really important in the art world and in the world in general to just be brave and be you,“ said Leahy.

Overall, Leahy hoped that the show would leave attendees feeling braver. “The whole show is dreamt around bravery and feeling brave and being you. Everything that has been created has been around that main topic; it’s meant for you to leave feeling braver and feeling freer to be you, which is basically what we’re going for. It’s fun loving, and it’s a good message, and it’s definitely to just be brave,” Leahy said.