August 28 2014

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17 posts tagged "Parsons"

Galliano to…Parsons?


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/

Fashion Criticism: No Respect!


“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

Sophie Gimbel: Made to Measure for America


The couture shows will start in Paris on Monday. But next Tuesday, Parsons will bring the (vintage) haute stuff to New York with its latest exhibition, Sophie Gimbel: Fashioning American Couture. Curated by Beth Dincuff, the show explores the legacy of the late Mrs. Gimbel, a mid-century fashion fixture who designed for, ran, and oversaw the buying for Saks Fifth Avenue’s Salon Moderne—an elite shop within Saks that introduced American clients to couturiers like Chanel, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga and Mainbocher—from 1929 until it closed in 1969. Mrs. Gimbel (who was married to Adam Gimbel, the former president of Saks and the grandson of its founder) smartly showed her made-to-measure gowns during the Salon Moderne’s afternoon fashion shows, alongside looks by her French counterparts. Her clients were icons like Greta Garbo, Édith Piaf, actress Claudette Colbert, and the Duchess of Windsor. She even made Lady Bird Johnson’s suit for her husband’s 1965 inauguration. With that in mind, one has to wonder why most of us aren’t well acquainted with Mrs. Gimbel’s work. “I think that the idea of American made-to-measure, or American couture, has been overshadowed by American sportswear, which is obviously something we do very well,” says Dincuff.

Known for her ultra-feminine designs (think big big skirts, lots of tulle, and demure, romantic silhouettes), Gimbel hit her stride in the forties (a savvy businesswoman, she launched her ready-to-wear range in 1943). When journalists couldn’t travel to Paris during WWII, she was featured in Vogue‘s first September American fashion issue. She championed the sporty American body that was fashionable at the time, and rebelled against Dior’s post-war New Look. “She didn’t like the extremeness of it,” explains Dincuff. “She felt it was impractical.” Rather, she preferred that sartorial extravagances be beautiful and functional, like ornate buttons or luxe cardigans draped over strapless ball gowns. Continue Reading “Sophie Gimbel: Made to Measure for America” »

On Our Radar: Richard Braqo


There’s always been a stigma around Geminis—followers of astrology believe those born under the sign are moody, puzzling, and have dueling personalities. But 25-year-old Ghana-born, London-based shoe designer Richard Braqo (a Gemini himself) makes “the twins” work in his favor. Braqo (née Richard Kwame Brako) launched his line of severe, feminine shoes for Spring ’13. A Parsons graduate, he describes his buttery suede, lush velvet, and buffed nubuck heels and over-the-knee boots as “classic with a twist. They’re sexy, demure, and a little bit aggressive.” Case in point: his curvaceous booties embellished with sharp golden scales, or his pointy needle-heeled pumps pierced with a pearl-capped hat pin—pearl because it’s his birthstone. “The last collection was inspired by celestial DNA,” he says, noting that duality was a key element in his Spring wares. For instance, he fused a skinny stiletto with a menswear brogue to create strong velvet heels in rich colors like “vino” and “sapphire.”

With a background in womenswear, Braqo approaches his shoes (all of which are made in Italy) like he would a garment, often wrapping materials over unexpected metal accessories. (His Spring Coralle pumps feature an ankle bangle). The geometry of a woman’s legs is also a point of fascination for Braqo—one that he explored in his moody, ink-blot-inspired Spring film, which debuts below. The young designer, whose luxe kicks range from about $890 to $1,600, will show his second collection during London Fashion Week this February. He’s promising crocodile accents and diamanté details.

Richard Braqo is available at The Box Boutique and Wolf & Badger in London.

Parsons: The New Class


“As a designer, I am blown away,” said Donna Karan last night, after making the rounds at “The First Eighteen,” a showcase of work by the inaugural group of 18 students (ages 24 to 31) in Parsons’ graduate MFA program in fashion design and society. “The sophistication, the understanding, the ability to hold a collection together, it is so telling,” she explained. Karan, a Parsons alumna, was joined at the school by co-host Joanna Coles, Simon Collins, the dean of the School of Fashion, Shelley Fox, the mastermind behind the MFA program, and designers Victoria Bartlett, Chris Benz, and Gabi Asfour of threeasfour, in toasting the student designs, all of which had been year-long projects.

The work by Beckett Fogg and Sinead Lawlor, in particular, garnered especially positive reactions from the crowd. Fogg’s monochromatic black and white womenswear pieces were clean-cut, but finished with luxe embossed leather touches. Lawlor went a completely different route, showing a range of bright blue, red, and yellow womenswear separates done in an explosive button print that was bold, yet equally wearable (pictured). There were also a handful of students that went for a more avant-garde aesthetic, showing conceptual designs that, according to Collins, “should be shown at the Met right now” (referring to the recently opened Schiaparelli/Prada exhibit currently on display at the museum). By the end of the night, it was no secret that Karan, who has been focused on her Urban Zen project in Haiti, had acquired some favorites and perhaps some plans for those students’ futures. “There are three that I really love,” she said. “I would like to get their hands in Haiti, you have no idea.”

“The First Eighteen” is on view daily at 1359 Broadway, New York, through May 23.