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April 19 2014

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4 posts tagged "SCAD"

Prabal Gurung, Eddie Borgo, and Domenico De Sole Talk Style for SCAD

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What is style? For fashion folk, that’s a pretty existential question. But the Savannah College of Art and Design will aim to answer that with its upcoming SCADstyle 2014 conference, which will take place at its Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, campuses, as well as its campus in Hong Kong, from April 14 through 17. With such speakers as Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung, Eddie Borgo, Sally Singer, Bridget Foley, and Steven Kolb, among others, on its roster, the event will not only explore the concept of “style,” but also provide students (and the public—all are welcome) with invaluable knowledge and insights into the industry. “SCAD is an amazing institution, and I believe that it’s one of the greatest things when a school exposes [students] to real people who live the business day in and day out,” the program’s chair, Domenico De Sole, told Style.com. “Students will get to hear directly from very famous people like Alexander Wang and the president of Bergdorf Goodman, Joshua Shulman. It’s going to be terrific for students to hear about their real-life experiences, real-life fashion, and what it’s actually like doing business.” Considering De Sole’s successful tenure as Gucci’s longtime president and CEO, not to mention his current position as the chairman of Tom Ford International, the executive has accumulated some valuable wisdom of his own. “The greatest lesson I learned is the absolute dominant role of creativity in this industry. I didn’t realize that when I started running Gucci America forty years ago, but the real truth, what really counts, is creative growth,” he offered, adding that his advice for up-and-comers is to “remember the road to success is long and painful.”


Ahead of the conference, SCAD has created a series of films that show speakers like Borgo and Gurung (whose clips debut exclusively here) discussing their careers and definition of style. “Style is an instinctive understanding of who you are as a person and the relationship that you have with the world,” explains Gurung in his clip. Borgo, meanwhile, suggests that style is “authenticity. It’s a personal endeavor that you go through your entire life.” Interesting, right? What’s more is that prospective students and fashion fans can submit their own #IAMSCADSTYLE Instagram flicks for a chance to win a trip to attend April’s festivities.

So what’s De Sole’s definition of style? “The only thing that counts is a very strong, precise, distinct, and consistent aesthetic. [Style] is a complex subject, but that’s what’s really key.”

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

Blasblog: A Parisian Belle, By Way Of Savannah

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Savannah is known for its old-world charm, and now that I’m down here—for the Savannah College of Art and Design’s annual Reveal Festival, which brings fashion types down to the Georgia city for a week of lectures and discussions—I can attest to it firsthand. I was in town for a talk called “Sartorially Speaking” with Decades’ Cameron Silver, debating the pros and cons of vintage (pro: the chances are slim that someone will show up in the same dress; con: although it’s “green,” recycling old clothes doesn’t exactly nurture new talent, which there’s plenty of here at SCAD). After our chat (and a quick signing of my book, of course), we had dinner at The Olde Pink House, a charming Southern restaurant housed in an original William Jay structure, one of the oldest in Savannah. It was there that I met the legendary Bettina, seen here with Gil Donaldson, Merchant Ivory Films’ Savannah-born, Paris-based president. Gil (a board member of SCAD) befriended the model in France and convinced her to make this Southern pilgrimage.

Talk about old-world charm. Now in her mid-eighties, Bettina is not only a quick-witted vision, she’s a living history of the fashion industry in the years after WWII. We’re talking Irving Penn and Richard Avedon portraits here—even her nom de couture, Bettina, was a pet name coined by Pierre Balmain himself. (She was born Simone Micheline Bodin Graziani.) Bettina came to Paris from the countryside and was immediately discovered for her “quick-paced, distinctive” walk, as she described it, and the unique facial features that she would—get this—make up herself for fashion shows and shoots. Not that doing one’s own hair and makeup, and bringing one’s own shoes and stockings, has been the biggest progression in the industry. Bettina also told me that shows would last for up to two hours, girls would wear 20 dresses in one couture presentation, and she would be in and out of those garments in seconds. I asked her if it was as romantic as I imagine it. “Yes, absolutely,” she said. “It was the best job a girl could have asked for. When I think back, even the smell in the couture salons was fabulous.”

Photo: Derek Blasberg

SCAD’s Night Of The Stars—Give Or Take One Or Two

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That volcano in Iceland has been cramping everyone’s style lately, and the Savannah College of Art and Design is no exception. Two of the recipients of last night’s 2010 SCAD Style Étoile Awards, Catherine Deneuve and Sir David Tang, had to cancel their trips. But the show went on. Luckily for Tang, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York (pictured, with Michael Douglas), was in town and perfectly willing to accept on her half brother’s behalf—although even she nearly didn’t make it. “I’ve run down the street,” Fergie explained from the podium, where she was still catching her breath.

Once she did, she quoted Lord Chesterfield from Tang’s speech: “Style is the very clothing of thought”—an appropriate sentiment for a small-scale evening devoted to celebrating, in SCAD president Paula Wallace’s words, innovators “who change the way we walk, we talk, we think.”

Among them: Graydon Carter, Peter Arnell, and decorators John Rosselli and Bunny Williams. The well-connected design school is also gearing up for the ten-day series of lectures and events it will be hosting later this month on its Georgia campus, an annual meeting of fashion minds that has introduced the likes of Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, and John Galliano to home-fried Southern hospitality in the past. “It’s always inspiring. I love the questions and also to give those kids a bit of hope and some realness,” Ruffian’s Claude Morais explained. “We also get a lot of our interns from SCAD, too,” his partner, Brian Wolk, added. So does interior designer Jonathan Adler: “I have a whole cadre of them working for me,” he said.

Photo: Nick Hunt/PatrickMcMullan.com