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August 21 2014

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4 posts tagged "Pratt"

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

At Pratt, an Award for Thom Browne, and a Stage for New Talents

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Little-known fact: Pratt Institute boasts America’s longest-running fashion-education program. With alums such as Betsey Johnson and Jeremy Scott, Pratt reps a unique vanguard in the world of design—and last night, at its 114th annual senior fashion show, some talented new names were added to its stable.

Pratt headlines its yearly runways with the bestowal of its Visionary Award—an accolade honoring fashion-world luminaries, who needn’t be directly linked to the school. Last night’s recipient? The singular Thom Browne. “It’s overwhelming,” Browne told Style.com, “when you get to do what you do, and have an important institution, with such a strong reputation in the world of design, recognize it, it’s…it’s humbling.” Presenting the award, Hamish Bowles teased his friend. Referring to Browne’s growth over the aughts, he said, “Thom became something of a performance piece himself, a one-man Gilbert & George, in his stiff, tailored buttoned-up suits with the odd proportions.” Expect to see the designer in exactly this silhouette at the Costume Institute’s upcoming Met Ball—though likely with a punk twist. “I’m going with Taylor Tomasi Hill,” Browne revealed with a smile.

After the ceremony, it was on to the show, where front-rowers, including Fern Mallis, Bill Cunningham, and Bibhu Mohapatra, were treated to a lineup heavy on digital prints, washed-out pastels, a lot of white, and ultra-long silhouettes. Two designers stood out in particular: Raya Kassisieh (above, left), with her sometimes soft, sometimes sharp Brave New World brides (“It’s kind of like nouveau Mugler,” whispered Patrick McMullan), and Madeline Gruen (above, right), with her indigo colonial toile prints and glittering embroideries that blended humor with notes of Alexander McQueen and Liberace. Gruen won the night’s other big prize—a $25,000 grant funded by the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation.

Photos: Patrick McMullan

Browne’s Back in the Spotlight

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From Michelle Obama wearing his jacquard coat on Monday at the 57th Presidential Inauguration to the debut of his latest menswear collection in Paris last Sunday, Thom Browne’s name is on everyone’s lips. And it looks like we won’t stop talking about him anytime soon. Today, WWD revealed that Browne will be awarded Pratt’s Fashion Visionary Award during a ceremony at the Top of the Standard on April 25. And he’s in good company, considering Narciso Rodriguez, Diane von Furstenberg, and Catherine Malandrino are all former honorees. The event will also serve as a stage for Pratt’s senior fashion students to reveal their collections—who knows, maybe a future MObama favorite will be in the bunch.

PhotoMarcus Tondo/InDigital/GoRunway

Hamish Bowles, Designer? Just Ask DVF

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The graduating fashion students of Pratt Institute lived out every young designer’s dream last night at the school’s annual fashion show, where they had the opportunity to show their collections in front of an audience that included Diane von Furstenberg and Hamish Bowles.

DVF, a former Pratt Institute Fashion Icon Award winner, was on hand at the Metropolitan Pavilion to bestow the same honor on the Vogue European editor at large. Before leaving the stage, DVF admitted, “Since I have known him, I have wanted to say this to him, but I actually never have—I hope, Hamish, that some day you will be a designer.”

Bowles—who seemed leery of launching a design career of his own—was eager to direct attention to the 18 budding designers eagerly waiting in the wings. He did allow, though, that a recent trip to the Pratt campus had led to a moment of introspection. “It reminded me of my own misspent years as an art student at Saint Martins in London,” said Bowles (left, with Daphne Guinness), whose college contemporaries included the late John Flett and John Galliano. “While I’m afraid I may have spent more time concocting ever more outlandish nightclub garb, and indeed frolicking in said garb, it was of course profoundly inspiring to have spent time in the company of such astonishing creative talents.”

The collections from Pratt’s young designers ran the gamut, from JiHye Wang’s camel-colored sportswear accented with pops of acid orange and Sarah Lind’s gold lamé bodysuit (that noticeably resembled the leggings of audience member Guinness) to Dara N. Rosen’s beautifully detailed wedding gowns (maybe she’s the undisclosed designer of the Royal Dress?) and Elishah Rho’s elegant eveningwear, which had deservedly earned the closing spot.

“I was very struck by how pragmatic it was,” Bowles told Style.com after the show. “I sometimes anticipate crazy runway fantasies with a student runway show, but I thought it was very interesting that they were really thinking about the future and beyond their runway show.”

Photo: Will Ragozzino / Patrick McMullan