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First College, Now Spring Break

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Today I’m in sunny Saint-Tropez for Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel Resort show, but last Thursday I was in hot and balmy Savannah at the city’s College of Art and Design for a panel discussion with Ruffian’s Brian Wolk and Claude Morais (that’s us onstage). Sandwiched between Keegan Singh’s talk on styling and Hamish Bowles’ lecture on collecting couture, my Ruffian pals and I spoke about the relationship between designers and critics. The students had plenty of tough questions: What do you base your reviews on (for my part, it’s primarily about how the current collection compares to the designers’ previous work, and secondly, how it fits within the context of the season), are you easier on young designers than more established ones (constructive criticism is our specialty), and, for the Ruffians, how do reviews affect what you do the next season? Apropos of that, on a tour of Flannery O’Connor’s modest childhood home, the guide told us O’Connor’s collected Complete Stories won the National Book Award in 1972, eight years after her death. Brian and Claude joked that it was a good lesson to remember when the tough reviews come in.

Photo: Courtesy of SCAD

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