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April 20 2014

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15 posts tagged "Parsons"

Haute for Teacher: Students Get an Inside Look at Dior Couture

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Students in the Dior Atelier

The official Haute Couture calendar published by the Chambre Syndicale had listed two Dior shows: one for press and a second for clients. But at 6 p.m. on Monday, a third show took place to accommodate a particularly special group of attendees.

Over the weekend, nearly eighty students from sixteen of the leading fashion schools around the world arrived in Paris for an immersive Dior experience. They visited the maison’s ateliers on Avenue Montaigne, participated in a conference with designers from across LVMH, and attended the Spring 2014 runway show.

“It’s good to see this world from the inside,” said 23-year-old Flora Miranda Seierl, who is in her final year at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts. “Today we heard from people who went to our schools who actually work at LVMH. You never think of it like this, but it’s real people doing real jobs. And so you realize that it’s not unreachable.”

Following the show, held on the grounds of the Musée Rodin, the group went somewhere usually reserved for VIPs: backstage.

“It’s like waiting for Madonna,” gushed Central Saint Martins fashion knitwear student Matty Bovan, as Dior creative director Raf Simons posed for photos and signed program notes.

“For me, in my position at this moment, it’s wonderful to connect with students and the atelier people who don’t get to see the show,” said the designer moments later.

Simons noted that an experience like this affords students some perspective—namely, to place personal goals ahead of commercial ones. “You shouldn’t think about the system, but just what you really, really believe in. And then in the beginning, you reach out to other people who believe in it, rather than those who are in control,” he said.

student dior show

Designer Walter Van Beirendonck, who showed his men’s collection in Paris last week and still teaches at Antwerp’s Royal Academy, said the access was invaluable to his students. “It’s a place that you don’t usually enter, and for students to see that and learn about this story and how it all works, it’s very amazing.”

The Antwerp connection was not by coincidence. Back when he was studying industrial design, Simons applied for an internship with Van Beirendonck, who accepted the graduate despite his lack of fashion experience.

But savoir faire is savoir faire, no matter the medium. Just ask Jo Miller, who is studying to be a milliner at the London’s Royal College of Art. “This will completely change how I feel about my own designs. It’s a completely different world and could only enrich my work.”

Or, as her teacher, hat designer Flora McLean, put it, “My students need to learn very specific technologies for how to make shoes and hats and handbags. I think there was more for them than anybody else because it’s both the technology and the dreamy parts.”

That dream, which ends today, extended beyond European institutions: Parsons The New School for Design and Pratt Institute in New York, as well as China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and Tokyo’s Bunka Fashion College, were among the invited schools.

When the idea was suggested to Simons that there should be a check-in five years later to see where the students landed, he smiled. “They will probably kick me out,” mused the designer. “But that’s how it should be. That’s the cycle.”

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Dior

H&M Names Its Top Eight Up-and-Comers

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H&M design award

Today, H&M revealed the eight finalists for its Design Award competition, the winner of which will be announced on January 28 during Stockholm fashion week. The top talents were selected from a group of 26 semi-finalists after presenting their collections in London to panel of judges that included Michelle Dockery, Erdem Moralioglu, and street style star Michelle Harper. Harper, who has a flare for outré ensembles, also stars in a lookbook showcasing the finalists’ wares. Lina Michal, Eddy Anemian, Jia Hua (a Parsons alum who made quite an impression with her graduate collection in September), Xiao Li (above), Devon Halfnight, Sophie Sälekari, Camilla Blasé Woodman, and Henriette Tilanuas will all compete for the grand 50,000 euro prize later this month. Check back here on January 28 to catch Style.com’s coverage of the competition.

Photo: Lee Wei Swee, via WWD

Top of the Class: Inside Parsons’ PH² Exhibition

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If you’ve been following our coverage of the Parsons/Kering competition, you’re well aware that college graduation is nigh. But it’s not just Parsons’ BFA students who are presenting their final collections. Tomorrow, the second graduating class from the school’s MFA Fashion Design and Society program will unveil their wares at PH², an exhibition whose opening will be cohosted by Diane von Furstenberg. Yesterday, professor Shelley Fox and the best of the eighteen graduates gave Style.com a first look at their progressive work. “What impressed me was their persistence not to give up, to experiment, and to push themselves in a way they didn’t know they were capable of,” said Fox of the graduates, who will reveal their complete lineups during a show at New York fashion week in September. This year, Fox put a particular emphasis on pushing the students to create their own fabrics. “That’s one way you can really define yourself and set yourself apart from other designers,” she said.

Several of the grads took this to the extreme, like knitwear designer Hannah Jenkinson (above, left). Hailing from the UK, the 29-year-old pulled inspiration from the minimal clothes of the Amish, Mennonites, and nuns, as well as athletic wear. “But really,” she notes, “the collection was driven by technique and process; by [exploring] the boundaries of what makes something knitwear.” Take, for instance, her transparent jumper, in which she trapped strands of white yarn between two layers of fusing material. Other looks were crafted from rubber or repurposed vintage pieces. Chunky laces—like the ones seen on her sheer track pants or feminine skirts, were painstakingly hand-embroidered. “Some of [the pieces] took eight days.”

Melitta Baumeister, a 27-year-old German designer, took a new-wave approach to fabrication (above, right). She would finish a fabric garment, make a mold, and then recast it in silicone or foam. The result was classic clothing—like a white oxford shirt, a bomber, or a lace dress—reinvented in what felt like rubber. The collection, she explained, has to do with “controlling the uncontrollable, materializing liquid, and preserving a moment of movement in the garment.” The digital age affected her designs as well. “Now, with things like Instagram, capturing an image of a moment or a memory is almost more important than the memory itself.” Continue Reading “Top of the Class: Inside Parsons’ PH² Exhibition” »

Galliano to…Parsons?

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Ever since John Galliano’s unexpected stint at Oscar de la Renta’s studio last January (well, ever since he departed Dior, actually), we’ve been sufficiently curious about his next move. And yesterday night, it was revealed: Via an e-mail to its students, Parsons announced that the couturier will teach a three-day-long master class to a select group of the institution’s BFA candidates. Dubbed “Show Me Emotion,” the course will focus on the influence of emotions on design—a subject, we’d imagine, that Mr. Galliano knows a little something about.

Photos: Yannis Valmos/GoRunway.com

Fashion Criticism: No Respect!

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“It’s considered something that’s for and about women…I think all of those things kind of conspired to keep fashion from being given the same kind of respect.” So says Robin Givhan—famously the only fashion critic ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for her efforts—during a panel discussion this week on the place of fashion criticism. Givhan was joined by The New York Times‘ Guy Trebay and W‘s Stefano Tonchi on the panel, hosted by Fashion Projects, a magazine from Parsons professor Francesca Granata that covers the industry from a critic’s perspective. Agree or disagree? In the yea column: Trebay was careful to make the distinction that he’s an “urban ethnographer,” not a fashion critic. Hmm. In the nay column: Well, the whole thing was covered by the Columbia Journalism Review.

Photo: Rabbani and Solimene/ Getty Images