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Photos courtesy of AnQi and The Art Institute of California-OC

The Art Institute of California- Orange County’s talented student fashion designers showcased 27 innovative designs at its annual student fashion show themed “Cool Days Haute Nights” in June at AnQi by Crustacean at South Coast Plaza.

The restaurant was transformed into a show-stopping fashion set complete with in-house 60 foot glass catwalk.  Close to 300 guests were greeted with a champagne and cocktail reception and a host of delightful tray passed hors d’oeuvres.

Mary Ann Gale, The Art Institute of California-OC Academic Director of Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing and Management, who coordinated the student project, welcomed all and thanked Elizabeth An,  principal at AnQi and House of An CEO, for her generous partnering  for the second consecutive year.

Ms. An relayed her love of fashion and idea of marrying cuisine with couture that brought about the professional runway in AnQi, and then introduced her fellow-judges:  Dr. Taryn Rose, who founded the eponymous luxury footwear brand in 1998 after years as an orthopedic surgeon; Heather Dubrow of The Real Housewives of Orange County, and Tina Borgatta, editor-in-chief of Rivera Magazine.

As the lights dimmed, professional models with hair and makeup by TONY&GUY strutted the cat walk in the students’ designs inspired by the subdued coolness of an early summer’s day and nights of upscale glamour reminiscent of haute couture.

For the second year in a row the top winner was graduate Coral Castillo (Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design 2013), a native of Mexico City, who won first place for her Gold Legend Marilyn Monroe inspired collection. Castillo’s couture dress, a sheer nude design with detachable collar was reminiscent of a gold gown of the legendary star. Second place went to Emily Siu for her Bohemian inspired designs, and third place went to Aleece McCutcheon Martt for her innovative and avant-garde pieces.

For the continuing undergraduate students, Michelle Huynh won first place for her fresh summer floral designs with bold colors; Heather Piper took second with her unique yellow-hood and navy flare pant ensemble, while Natalie Avila won third place for her butterfly crop top and matching skirt inspired by Alexander McQueen.

In addition to the student designers 15 fashion and marketing students were recognized for their assistance as they contributed to the fashion show in all aspects of the  “behind the scenes” of the show.

The Art Institute of California,Orange Countyoffers diploma, associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs. The college is located in the heart of Orange County’s South Coast Metro region and is ideally situated in close proximity toOrangeCounty’s thriving business community, cultural attractions, shopping, entertainment, and its famous beaches.