7 posts tagged "Stephen Burrows"
“It actually started with my godmother,” explained Pratt Institute fashion professor and curator Adrienne Jones. “She has been collecting information on black designers—she’s 85 now—forever. And one day I was talking to her and I said, ‘You know what? The information is not out there—and it needs to be out there.’”
Five years later, Jones is presenting Black Dress: Ten Contemporary Fashion Designers, an exhibition that opens at Pratt Manhattan Gallery this Friday and showcases the works of contemporary black designers. Jones has brought together a diverse range of today’s African-American talent—artists such as menswear fur pioneer Jeffrey Banks, ready-to-wear designer Tracy Reese, and the iconic Stephen Burrows, as well as newer designers including Michael Jerome Francis, known for his hyper eco-conscious designs, Queens-based body-con aficionado LaQuan Smith, and former Project Runway star Rodney Epperson (above). Photographer and mixed-media artist Carrie Mae Weems has also contributed an original film for the project.
“We wanted to show the huge span [of talent] that we have,” related Jones. “I talk to my undergraduates and say, ‘Who’s your favorite designer?’ And they name the designer or designers that they like. And whether [the students] are black or white, they never know any black designers. So this was an opportunity for me to not only teach them, but [all the others] who don’t know that this collection of people, this collection of talent, exists.”
“This is an honor,” said Smith, in front of his three chosen designs in the gallery (set up to mimic a series of Madison Avenue-esque storefront windows). “If anything, it’s a celebration for us as African-American designers to be able to show our work in such a prestigious spotlight with Pratt, alongside legends like Stephen Burrows, and to be able to say, ‘This is our message.’”
Black Dress: Ten Contemporary Fashion Designers will be on view from February 7 to April 26. Jones hopes to take it nationwide, as well as translate the research into a Black Dress book in the future.
While London Town is paying tribute to eighties clubwear, New York is revisiting the late-night antics of Studio 54. To mark the final leg of its exhibition “Stephen Burrows: When Fashion Danced,” which closes on July 28, the Museum of the City of New York will host “Studio 54 and Beyond,” a discussion of New York’s 1970s club scene. The museum has invited the likes of Vanity Fair‘s Bob Colacello (formerly the right-hand man to Andy Warhol, editor of Interview magazine, and author of the publication’s infamous nightlife column, “Out”), restaurateur Richie Notar (who once served as a Studio 54 busboy), and club regular model Pat Cleveland to reminisce. Considering the laundry list of artists, literati, celebrities, fashion personalities, and all-around characters who frequented the hot spot, we imagine the panelists will have plenty to talk about.
“Studio 54 and Beyond” is open to the public and begins at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow, July 17. For tickets, visit the museum’s Web site.
The work of Stephen Burrows is as much about fun as it is about fashion. And that message shines through in a retrospective of the designer’s early creations, which opens at the Museum of the City of New York tomorrow. Burrows and the show’s curators, Phyllis Magidson and Daniela Morera, gave Style.com a sneak peek of the exhibition, which features more than fifty garments created between 1968 and 1983. “I didn’t think of it as history-making or anything,” says Burrows of his early, flowing garments made to be worn with ease on the dance floor until 4 a.m. “I just did what I wanted to see in front of me.”
Intentional or not, Burrows’ clothes were history-making. At the beginning of his career, fashion’s status quo was old-world, and generally French. It wasn’t until the fabled “Battle of Versailles”—a decadent 1973 fund-raiser for the then-decaying palace during which American designers Burrows, Halston, Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, and Anne Klein outshined elite French talents Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, and Emanuel Ungaro—that American designers became truly respected. Burrows’ fresh, fun, and wildly colorful Versailles collection—shown on video in the exhibition—was all about a free-spirited aesthetic. His presence at “The Battle” also made him the first African-American designer to rise to international acclaim. Continue Reading “Stephen Burrows, Still Dancing” »
2013 marks the fortieth anniversary of Le Grand Divertissement è Versailles, the runway battle royal that took place in 1973 between French fashion houses (Givenchy, Dior, Ungaro, Yves Saint Laurent, and Pierre Cardin) and American designers (Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Anne Klein, Stephen Burrows, and Bill Blass). Held as a fundraiser to restore the palace, the evening was attended by everyone from Andy Warhol to Princess Grace of Monaco, and, in addition to a bevy of couture, featured performances by the likes of Liza Minnelli and Josephine Baker (above).
But aside from being, perhaps, the most epic runway spectacle to date, Versailles marked the first time African-American models took a prominent place on the European fashion stage. Last night, in honor of the anniversary, and in celebration of Women’s History Month, the Fashion Institute of Technology hosted a screening of Deborah Riley Draper’s 2012 documentary, Versailles '73: American Runway Revolution. And the historic event’s stars, like Pat Cleveland (below, right), Billie Blair, Norma Jean Darden, and Bethann Hardison, among others, turned out for the film and a lively panel discussion. Continue Reading “French Castle, American Story” »