Ptero-inspired fashion show celebrates the opening of new exhibit

Story by Kristin Breakell

Colorado State University students and the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery partnered to celebrate the opening of a new exhibit, “Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs” with a unique event: a fashion show featuring Pterosaur-inspired designs.

Acuna’s winning garment design.

The Ptero Couture Fashion Show took place on Nov. 14 as part of a donor’s reception and preview exhibit opening at the museum.

The fashion show was developed through a joint effort between the FCMoD and the Department of Design and Merchandising at CSU and featured garments created by students in AM 345: Draping Design. The museum generously donated $1,700 so that each student could have $100 to purchase fabric and trims for the project.

The class and design work was led by Design and Merchandising instructor Kevin Kissell. The show was produced by a team of five DM students and was held in the OtterBox Digital Dome Theater at the FCMoD.

This collaboration was an excellent opportunity for students to utilize fashion as an artistic representation of our paleontological and cultural past.

“This experience allowed students the opportunity to explore other avenues of creativity and inspiration rather than just commercial trend forecasting,” said Kissell. “They got to see how an artistic or cultural event has the potential to influence fashion.”

Kissell also commented on the experience students received from the collaboration.

“Students learned the importance of etiquette and professionalism, which is crucial in order to collaborate with a professional entity,” he said. “They gained experience representing CSU to a broader audience, and acting as ambassadors of the university, college and the department.”

The judging

A panel of professionals judged the students’ designs and selected a “Best of Show” award winner.

The winning garment was designed by Everlyn Acuna, a senior in the apparel design and production concentration at CSU. Acuna’s design was inspired by “the pterosaurs’ methods of physical attraction.”

Pterosaurs developed elaborate crests due to sexual competition. Acuna asked herself what attracts the human eye and decided to focus on three elements: color, luster and skin exposure. She used these elements to create an extraordinary special-occasion dress. Her winning design will become a part of the FCMoD collection and will be displayed in the FCMoD lobby.

The judges included Cameron Moon, Khristian Gilham and Linda Moore. Moon is a CSU alumna and owner of the clothing boutique, Magnolia Moon. Gilhman is a CSU alumna and apparel designer at Topo Designs. Moore is the curator of collections at the FCMoD.

The Institute of Business and Medical Careers provided the hair and makeup for the show, and Topo Designs donated the grand prize for the winning garment designer. FCMoD donors, CSU Department of Design and Merchandising faculty and staff, CSU administrators and student designers were in attendance.

“Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs” is a national traveling exhibit from the American Museum of Natural History and will be open at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, 408 Mason Ct., until April 2. Discover the mysterious world of pterosaurs in this interactive and compelling exhibit. Tickets are available at

See more photos from the Ptero-Couture Fashion Show on the College of Health and Human Sciences Flickr site.

The Department of Design and Merchandising is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.