August 20 2014

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8 posts tagged "Behnaz Sarafpour"

Narciso Rodriguez to Receive a Cooper-Hewitt Fashion Design Award


Narciso RodriguezFashion awards season is upon us. The CFDAs are fast approaching (on June 2, to be precise), and today it was announced that Narciso Rodriguez will receive the prestigious Cooper-Hewitt Fashion Design award, part of the National Design Awards, later this fall. (The ceremony will honor leaders in other areas of design as well, like architecture, interiors, product, and communications.) Behnaz Sarafpour won last year, and other previous honorees include Thom Browne, Rick Owens, and Tom Ford. “At this stage in my career, to be recognized with this award is really moving to me,” Rodriguez told WWD. “My work is my life and so much of my life has been my work.”

Photo:Yannis Vlamos/

Required Reading: Parsons The New School for Design Releases Its First Book


Mazdack Rassi, Simon CollinsNostalgic Parsons designers rubbed elbows among alumni old and new at Milk Studios last night in celebration of the design school’s first book. One would think that all those featured in The School of Fashion: 30 Parsons Designers were star pupils, but Anna Sui wasn’t one of them. Inside the crowded room, the designer confessed to her less-than-scholarly ways. “Being 18 and living in New York City with no parental guidance, I wasn’t a good student,” confessed Sui. But it was a fun time, she admitted.

Working her way around the room, Behnaz Sarafpour correctly named all of the designers whose sketches hung along the walls—including her own, drawn on a cocktail napkin. Sarafpour later reunited with fellow alum Reed Krakoff who, like her, once interned with Narciso Rodriguez. The two stood in front of a wall of black-and-white portraits opposite Proust questionnaires that asked designers Alexander Wang, Derek Lam, and Jason Wu the following: “What fictional character do you most identify with?” and “Who are your heroes in real life?” For Chris Benz, who was in attendance, the answers included Tom Sawyer and Martha Stewart, respectively.

“When I realized there hadn’t been a book written, I figured it’d be crazy not to,” said Simon Collins, the school’s dean of fashion, who hosted the event along with Milk’s Mazdack Rassi. The new tome includes thirty designer-dedicated chapters with a host of vibrant illustrations, photographs, and introspective quotes taken from exclusive interviews conducted over the past year. Part of the proceeds from sales will benefit scholarships for Parsons students.

While upping the school’s fashion cred ranks high on Collins’ to-do list, the dean was quick to boast that crafting the book was good for all involved. “I mean, the designers loved it,” offered Collins. “They can show their mums.”

The School of Fashion: 30 Parsons Designers is published by Assouline. Available at select bookstores or online at

Photo: Lola Haze/ 

Cooper-Hewitt to Honor Behnaz Sarafpour


This morning, the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum announced the winners of its prestigious National Design Awards—even though the official bestowals won’t occur until October. This year’s recipient of the Fashion award is none other than the Iranian-born and New York-based Behnaz Sarafpour.

Sarafpour’s line, which she founded in 2001, has evolved into a well-rounded womenswear range that fuses feminine cuts with innovative textiles. Her Fall 2013 collection, in particular, might have caught the eye of Caroline Baumann, Cooper-Hewitt’s acting director. The lineup featured classic silhouettes turned modern via neoprene and piled velvet. Previous winners of the honor include Thom Browne (2012), J. Mendel (2011), Rick Owens (2007), and Tom Ford (2003).

Photo: Behnaz Sarafpour

The Green Scene


About those real, cherry-pit buttons that Behnaz Sarafpour has been using in her collection: “It’s not from me baking cherry pies in the summer,” the designer said with a laugh at last night’s CFDA & Lexus Hybrid Living Eco Fashion Challenge. “We found someone professional who gets the pits, cleans them, and turns them into buttons.”

It may not be the work of her own hands, but it is environmentally friendly, one reason among many that Sarafpour found herself up for a $25,000 award from the CFDA and Lexus last night, alongside Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra of Costello Tagliapietra, Marcia Patmos of M. Patmos, Maria Cornejo, Monique Péan, John Patrick of Organic, Mary Ping of Slow and Steady Wins the Race, and Justin Giunta of Subversive. The criteria: Collections had to be at least 25 percent organic and, of course, 100 percent stylish. Péan, for example, uses recycled gold and sustainable buffalo horn; Costello Tagliapietra create the dyes that color their collection in an ecologically friendly way; and Cornejo emphasizes sustainable manufacturing practices and the use of fabrics like cupro, which are typically discarded during the production of cotton.

Péan, Costello Tagliapietra, and Zero + Maria Cornejo won the day, but Cornejo was quick to note eco-friendliness is a work in progress. “We are trying, and it’s an ongoing process. Every season we try to bring more and more of that into the collection,” she said. “We have gotten creative within those parameters of 25 percent organic. 100 percent is hard, but this we can do.” Robert Tagliapietra (pictured, with Jeffrey Costello) agreed with the Chilean-born designer’s do-what-you-can ethic. “For us, it’s always been about introducing things that felt organic to the brand,” he said. “We are not using organic as a branding tool—just as something you should be doing.”

Photo: Last Night’s Party/Courtesy of Lexus

Dolce And Gabbana Lend A Helping Hand


“Giving back” is a charitable principle that fashion designers usually apply to the outside world, rather than others of their kind. But Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are playing fairy godfathers to a platoon of up-and-comers with their latest project, Spiga2. The name refers to the address of their accessories store in Milan, the top floor of which they’ve turned into a bazaar of new-ish design names that they personally curated, mostly by internet, from all over the world (Stefano can’t stop tweeting). Actually, the governing notion was a bottega, a store where everything is thrown together with minimal merchandising and maximal human touch. Spiga2 is a funkfest compared to the high-gloss emporia that rule Milan’s Golden Triangle. There’s a DJ spinning, and tables where you can hang out, log on (free wireless—plus old school reading matter too), or watch the designers’ videos.

The wildly eclectic mix spans the globe, and includes names familiar—Sophie Theallet, Kinder Aggugini, Martin Grant, Peter Jensen, Behnaz Sarafpour—and less so. For instance, Erkan Coruh won the “Who’s On Next?” fashion competition in Italy this year, and Spiga2 is his first distribution anywhere in the world. Domenico and Stefano were so keen to have him on board that they bought his samples.

Many of those who were chosen had the same kind of tale to tell. Brussels-based Marc Philippe Coudeyre launched his business a year ago. His first contact with Dolce and Gabbana was a message that went into his spam folder. He thought it was a joke. So did Gail Sorronda when she got her e-mail. She’s from Brisbane, Australia, and this is her third season. “When it happened, it felt like an out-of-body experience,” she says. “In high school, my mum bought me the ’10 Years of Dolce’ book and I used it as reference.”

“It’s huge,” agrees New Yorker Heather Williams, the only shoe designer in the bunch, who has had her own label for two years, after 11 years doing shoes for the likes of Calvin Klein. “Domenico and Stefano’s attitude is that ‘there’s room for everybody’, and not many people share that mentality. And it’s a nice sign that they didn’t do consignment.” Yep, first time ’round, Dolce and Gabbana asked their picks to select their own favorite pieces from their collections, then bought them, rather the more predictable goods-on-consignment route. That’s the kind of hardcore support that counts for a young business.
It’s not entirely philanthropic: Dolce & Gabbana accessories are subtly incorporated in the product mix. But in the context of notoriously parochial Italy, where fashion from anywhere else takes a backseat, the whole concept has a real kick. And the fashion week mobs who came to browse and stayed to buy were proof that Domenico and Stefano’s vision was paying genu-wine dividends for their proteges.

Photo: Ruy Teixeira