April 20 2014

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8 posts tagged "Simon Collins"

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


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

Photo: Lola Haze/BFAnyc.comĀ 

Ushering in a New Era of The Fashion Book


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 ( 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


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 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’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


“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.



“They’re Different Than We Were When I Was In Design School”


Last night, Reed Krakoff turned his Madison Avenue boutique into a mini exhibition space for Parsons The New School for Design’s most promising seniors and invited fashion world VIPs like Phillip Lim, Saks’ Ron Frasch, and Theory’s Andrew Rosen to examine their creations. “We have a saying; it’s ‘We don’t mess around,’ ” Parsons dean Simon Collins said as he gave Krakoff a tour of the students’ designs. You couldn’t find a person in the crowd who would dispute it. The workmanship was topnotch and you could believably picture Theresa Matthias’ tweed and neoprene bonded dress or Angelica Casaverde’s silk twill parka on a department store floor. Lingering over a taupe shift hand-embroidered with purple and peach beads by Kathy Sow (above), Krakoff, who will be honored at Parsons’ Fashion Benefit later this month, said, “They’re different than we were when I was in design school. No one has said something obvious like, ‘It’s about the seventies.’ They’re more intellectual.” No word on whether he snapped up any of the students for his own design studios.

Photo: Neil Rasmus /