Nick Leahy, 18, of Clarendon Hills will showcase his fashions, which he calls “wearable art,” at a fashion show April 25 in the Hinsdale Community House.
The show serves as the culmination of his senior year in Advanced Placement studio art at Hinsdale Central High School. Music students have a senior music recital to showcase their work, Leahy said.
“I thought why can’t I have a senior fashion show,” he said. “It turned into this big thing.”
The show will start at 7 p.m. April 25 in the Community House, 415 W. 8th St., Hinsdale. The art and jewelry of current and former Hinsdale Central students will be sold in a silent auction before the fashion show.
Leahy has been a painter since he was 5, but did not discover his passion for fashion design until the summer before his junior year.
“I really learned how to put a dress together and make a pattern. Before that I was just making pillows,” he said.
His grandmother taught him how to use a sewing machine.
“Fashion draws from all the art forms, sculpture, painting, drawing, pottery, jewelry-making. It all comes together in one,” he said.
Leahy has performed in musical theater at Hinsdale Central and built sets and designed costumes for Stage Door Fine Arts and BAM Theatre in Hinsdale.
“I throw all that, the singing, the costumes, the painting, into fashion. They all show up in my designs,” he said. “This is what the last 10 years of my life have led up to.”
No matter the medium, students in the AP studio art class create a series of 12 pieces related to a central idea, with smaller projects in between, Leahy said.
His class work in junior and senior year became three fashion lines. Dresses from each line, under his professional name Nicholas Christoph Fashion Design, will be modeled in the upcoming fashion show.
Last year’s summer collection was named La Naissance de Transformation, which translates as Birth of Transformation.
Leahy’s inspiration was the shapes and colors of celebrity perfume bottles, which he transformed into dresses.
His newest collection, titled “Dark Pop,” is based on “being brave, and the message that beauty is on the inside, as well as the outside,” Leahy said. The dresses will not be unveiled until the show, but Leahy hints, “you can see through a lot of them.”
Tickets for the show are $10 for students and $10 for adults, with $50 VIP seating available. More information is available at www.nicholaschristoph.com.
The show is a fundraiser for Hinsdale Central’s art department and the Born This Way Foundation, a nonprofit with the mission of fostering a more accepting society. The foundation is headed by Lady Gaga, whom Leahy admires because “she is so artsy and brave for all her fans, and she’s unique, just like me.”
Siblings: Tyler, 20, a gymnast and musical theater major at University of Michigan, and Ryan, 15, a freshman gymnast at Hinsdale Central
Plans for next year: Enrolling in fashion design program at either Art Institute in Chicago or Parsons New School of Design in New York
Favorite fashion designer: A tie between Alexander McQueen and Versace
Favorite artist: Vincent Van Gogh
Favorite movie: Titanic
Favorite singer: Lady Gaga
Favorite TV show: Law & Order