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September 3 2014

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9 posts tagged "Simon Collins"

Grads Show Promise at the Annual Parsons Fashion Show

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Parsons

“You never leave Parsons,” Simon Collins said from his perch onstage at Wednesday’s fourth annual Parsons Fashion Show. His statement rang true, because yesterday’s show was just as much about the Parsons family as it was about showing off the graduating seniors’ final collections. Editors, photographers, and an endless wave of students crowded into the school’s state-of-the-art University Center at 63 Fifth Avenue, where Milk Studios’ Mazdack Rassi and Parsons alum Chris Benz spoke about their experiences with the school, the importance of having a point of view, and how the brand-new facilities are far superior to the “dump” Parsons used to occupy in Midtown. A series of videos also played in between mini fashion shows, with cameos from Donna Karan, Anna Sui, and Style.com’s Dirk Standen.

“Parsons is all about collaborating,” Collins said. He was referring to the school’s own collaborations, which range from an Allen Edmonds capsule collection to the Parsons/Kering “Empowering Imagination” Competition, which is featured on Style.com this week. “If you’re a brand or you work for a brand, you know you can’t really guarantee being on the homepage of Style.com,” Collins said. “But Parsons can.” You could tell that these BFA students are born collaborators, too. They showed a firm grasp of the current market, sending out boxy coats à la Proenza Schouler; layered knits that called to mind Burberry’s Fall ’14 show; and even Fendi-inspired luxe fur accents, like those on Wenqi Wu’s covetable sheared tunic. We would wear those pieces tomorrow. Each student had a defined point of view—Ximon Lee cites the clothes of Russian street children as his starting point—but at the same time, the show felt cohesive. Not an easy feat. These students spent four years (or more) playing off of each others’ ideas and aesthetics to finish with a range of high-quality, very impressive final projects. You could picture them being an asset to any design team—although many dream of becoming the next Marc Jacobs, Jason Wu, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, or Anna Sui, all Parsons alums who are still very connected to the school. Following the students’ upcoming graduation, we can see why they won’t want to leave the clan.

Photo: Courtesy of Parsons the New School for Design 

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

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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 assouline.com.

Photo: Lola Haze/BFAnyc.com 

Ushering in a New Era of The Fashion Book

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The Fashion Book

Fifteen years ago, Phaidon published The Fashion Book. As its title suggests, the book quickly became the definitive resource for the fashion curious and industry mainstay alike—an A-to-Z guide to the field’s central influencers, with pages devoted to everyone from Vivienne Westwood and Helmut Newton to Oscar Wilde. Last night at Topshop in Soho, Phaidon celebrated the release of an updated version of The Fashion Book. The tome features seventy-two fresh entries (Style.com among them), and boasts pages devoted to individuals such as Nicolas Ghesquière, Tilda Swinton, and others.

The fete’s main event was a panel discussion moderated by Parsons the New School for Design’s dean, Simon Collins. It included Vera Wang, Iris Apfel, and our very own Dirk Standen. The group focused on what it means to be iconic (“Being an icon implies a very distinct point of view, which is rather rare today,” said Apfel), the figures who inspire them (“It’s people who never really sold out, someone like Peter Saville,” said Standen), and, in reference to Rick Owens’ recent statement-making show, what it means for an icon to change and evolve. On that topic, Wang offered, “Mr. Lagerfeld said to me once, ‘Vera, if you really can’t change and you can’t go with the times and you can’t realize how the world is becoming a different place, then it’s time for you to leave.’ So it’s somewhere between that fine line of adapting every decade and sticking to what you believe in and furthering your craft.” It was an honest and up-front dialogue about the connotations of holding influence in the industry today—a fitting prelude to The Fashion Book of the millennial era.

The Fashion Book New Edition, $59.95, will be available from Phaidon beginning October 14.

Photo: Courtesy of Phaidon Press

Phaidon’s The Fashion Book Gets an Update

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The Fashion Book New Edition

It’s no secret that Phaidon’s epic The Fashion Book, first released in 1998, is an authoritative resource for industry insiders and fans alike. Now the coffee-table tome has been given new life with a definitive updated addition. Among the seventy-two new entries are Style.com and sartorial luminaries like Bill Cunningham, Nicolas Ghesquière, and Tilda Swinton. To fete the book’s release, Phaidon will be hosting a panel discussion at Topshop’s Soho outpost on Thursday, October 10, at 6 p.m. Iris Apfel, Vera Wang, and Style.com’s own Dirk Standen will be on hand to talk fashion history and the new guard of style alongside moderator Simon Collins, dean of fashion at Parsons the New School for Design. Need another reason to turn out? You’ll have a chance to pick up the new book (as well as a limited edition tote bag and a signed print by cover illustrator Mats Gustafson) four days in advance of its official release.

The Fashion Book New Edition, $59.95, will be available from Phaidon beginning October 14.

Photo: Courtesy of Phaidon Press

Parsons: The New Class

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“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.