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Review

HU Elite Models’ Showcase Challenges Audience Perceptions through Sight, Sound and Speech

The new generation of Elite Models donned glamorous hairstyles and varied silhouettes with a distinct color palette where red and black took center stage, writes Variety reporter Mya Hall. 

Two ELITE Models walking the runway Segment One, sight. (Darius Osborne/The Hilltop)

The ninth class of Howard University’s ELITE Models delivered an outstanding showcase defined by wilful juxtaposition, unorthodox yet creative braided hairstyles, mixed patterns and dazzling accessories. This worked in conjunction with the theme of Class IX’s showcase, “OMERTÀ,” a code of silence practiced by the mafia. 

A narrated introduction marked the commencement of the showcase. The show, separated into three segments, focused on the channels of criticism ELITE faces- sight, sound and speech. 

Segment one opened with a male model wearing an all-black ensemble and a Western-style hat with tassels. The designs in this segment were all black and white monochromatic looks. Even within the confines of this color selection, ELITE models showcased great diversity through hairstyles, accessories and styling. 

Segment two featured bold animal prints, fur details, baggy silhouettes and sensational hairstyles. Hair played a significant role in this showcase, and this segment was an excellent demonstration of how talented the team behind the hairstyles are. 

The braided hair designs included a chain-linked ponytail, braided headphones, a sun hat and space buns. Model Jade Brooks was an audience favorite, earning screams and a round of applause upon revealing her hair, woven into the shape of the numeral “9.” Her outfit featured baggy denim pants, and she removed her denim jacket to reveal a sleeveless fur coat. 

The third and final segment centered on speech and fittingly featured face coverings. There were bejeweled masks and a unique facepiece crafted from metal. The designs from this segment ranged from cropped shirts with ties to flowy red gowns. 

The show’s star was model Shyanne Wilson, who closed the show in a stunning dress crafted from newspaper leaflets. The closing mirrored what was stated in the opening narration, that is, “In OMERTÀ haven, we have the ability to simply be.”

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Freshman psychology major Quinn Leak, an attendee at this showcase, said, “It was really interesting how all the design elements came together…the different departments came together in a really interesting way to bring the theme to life.”

An ELITE Model wearing a fur vest and denim skirt in Segment Two, sound. (Darius Osborne/The Hilltop)

Selected by the members of class nine, the concept “OMERTÀ” was meant to symbolize the organization’s response to the negativity ELITE Models face as creatives, according to members of the creative team. The head of creative direction, Noah Spears, a sophomore Media Management Communications major from Montgomery County, Maryland, commended the new class for sharing their ideas and creativity. 

“The foundation for the concept itself was really all them, they came up with the concept OMERTA, and I loved it. I helped with the details like styling, mood boards, lighting, and stuff like that,” Spears said.

Attendees were asked to wear red and black ensembles, thus rendering them an element of the concept. 

“The purpose of the showcase was to put on an exhibition where people come and watch us,” Spears explained that the audience represented people’s “words and how they perceive us.” 

An emphasis was placed on the work of class nine’s graphic design team, who was responsible for creating the visuals for this showcase. Spears said that the graphic design department outdid itself and changed what graphic design means within ELITE.

“This class has really amazing people in general. They’re so nice, so kind, and they embody the meaning of what ELITE is,” Lisa Jackson, vice president of ELITE Models, and a public relations major from Long Island, New York, said.

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In tandem with Spears’ comment, Jackson also believes that class nine’s creativity sets them apart. 

“Class nine has brought a different spin to what creativity is. They were able to come together and put on something that people hadn’t seen before,” Jackson said.

Copy edited by Alana Matthew

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