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Alumni Magazine of the Fashion Institute of Technology Alumni Magazine of the Fashion Institute of Technology

volume77||number number11||fall fall2013 2013 volume

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10 Alumni Magazine of the Fashion Institute of Technology

Hue is the alumni magazine of the Fashion Institute of Technology, a State University of New York college of art and design, business and technology. It is published three times a year by the Division of Communications and External Relations, 227 West 27 Street, Room B905, New York, NY  10001-5992, 212 217.4700. Email:


Vice President for Communications and External Relations Loretta Lawrence Keane


Assistant Vice President for Communications Carol Leven Editor Linda Angrilli Managing Editor Alex Joseph, MA ’13 Staff Writer Jonathan Vatner Editorial Assistant Laura Hatmaker Art Direction and Design Empire Design Studio

Hue magazine on the web: Get involved with FIT and your fellow alumni. Like the FIT Alumni page on Facebook and follow @FITAlumni on Twitter. Email the Office of Alumni Relations at and let us know what you’ve been up to. Environmental Savings for FaLL 2013 80 trees preserved/planted 230 lbs waterborne waste not created 33,876 gallons wastewater flow saved 3,748 lbs solid waste not generated 7,380 lbs net greenhouse gases prevented 56,487,600 BTUs energy not consumed Printed by Monroe Litho Inc. on Mohawk Inxwell Super Smooth Eco White FSC-certified, 100% post consumer waste reclaimed/ recycled fiber, made with 100% renewable energy; manufactured chlorine free; certified ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management System. Please recycle or share this magazine.

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Features 8 American Beauty An FIT student becomes Miss America 9 The Best Laid Plans Interior Design students’ model apartments lure renters 10 Must-See Cinema Ten eye-popping films, chosen by a professor in FIT’s new Film and Media program 12 Does This Dress Make Me Look Gay? Fashion is pretty queer, argues The Museum at FIT

14 Beauty in a Digital World Big Data is coming for you, and it knows which mascara you want 16 In Step with His Time Pump up the volume for the groovy garments by Stephen Burrows ’66 18 Story of a Lifetime Four students win an international retail competition 18 Breaking the Glasses Ceiling How Warby Parker shook up the $65 billion eyewear market

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On the Cover


12 As a way to introduce Hue’s special feature on tattoos—their history and meanings, along with profiles of five alumni artists—our cover image combines two graduates’ work for an exercise in surrealism. Nick Parisse ’09 photographed the back of his wife, Lexi Townsend Parisse, Fashion Design ’09, over which we superimposed an illustration by tattooist extraordinaire Victor Modafferi ’94. (Modafferi was aghast that we would show a tattoo artist working without the sanitary gloves required by the health department.) The result, we think, is a reminder that behind the attention-grabbing tattoos on bodies all around us are living, working artists. For the story, and more of Parisse’s photos, see page 19. As a bonus, this issue includes four temporary tattoos by alumni artists. Send us a pic of yourself wearing one, and we’ll feature it online at

Departments 19 Visible Ink Tattoo history, culture, and five rock star alumni artists

4 Hue’s News

26 I’ll Be Your Mirror Charlize, Julianne, Reese, and Scarlett have this FIT grad on speed dial

7 Faculty On…

6 I Contact

28 Alumni Notes

Magie Serpica Illustration ’07

31 Sparks

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Michael Kors Wins 2013 Couture Council Prize

Design Entrepreneurs NYC Does It Again The Design Entrepreneurs NYC program, cosponsored by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and FIT, has graduated its second class of 35 designers, selected from

what’s happening on campus

an applicant pool of 193 New York–based entrepreneurs. The program provides designers of up-and-coming fashion brands with the skills to write business plans and grow their companies. On the final night, 16 of them were invited to present their new business plans, and a team of 14 VIP judges, including Tim Baxter, executive vice president and general merchandise manager for Macy’s, and Ellen Rodriguez, president and CEO of French Connection, awarded the top two Billy Farrell/

with cash prizes, provided by G-III Apparel Group.

The Couture Council of The Museum at FIT honored alumnus Michael Kors with its 2013 Artistry of Fashion award on September 4 at a celebrity-studded luncheon at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. President Joyce F. Brown said that the Kors brand, established in 1981, “embodies the very essence of contemporary American design.” From left, Kamie Lightburn, event chair; Yaz Hernández, chair of the Couture Council; actress Hilary Swank, who presented the award; Kors; Alexandra Lebenthal, president of the Couture Council; Jieun Wax, event chair; and Valerie Steele, director of The Museum at FIT.

Varvatos Discusses Influence of Rock on Fashion

An “It” Show at MFIT

John Varvatos, the winner of three awards

and trend forecasting is an industry unto itself,

Becca McCharen, creator of a line of architectureinspired bathing suits called Chromat, won the $25,000 first prize, and Vasumathi Soundararajan, Fashion Design ’10, who founded Ken Wroy, a bold men’s underwear brand, won $10,000.

Jerry Speier

The word “trend” is ubiquitous in the media, yet in this era of lightning-fast retail, it’s hard

from the Council of Fashion Designers of

to pinpoint what exactly is in fashion these

America, including two Menswear Designer of

days. Trend-ology at The Museum at FIT, on

the Year awards, spoke at FIT about his new

view from December 5 to April 30, 2014, will

book, Rock in Fashion, in the Katie Murphy

President Joyce F. Brown, Soundararajan, McCharen, and Jeanette Nostra, DENYC executive in residence and president of G-III Apparel Group.

arrange approximately 100 objects from the

Amphitheatre on October 28. Hue’s managing

museum’s permanent collection to examine the

editor, Alex Joseph MA ’13, interviewed him.

underpinnings of fashion trends over the past

Varvatos, known for his rock-and-roll-inspired

250 years. Also at the museum: A Queer History

menswear and his collaboration with Converse,

of Fashion, through January 4, 2014. To read

talked mostly about classic rock acts who

more about it, turn to page 12.

inspired him: Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Jimi

FIT’s Revised Strategic Plan FIT has published an ambitious revision of the college’s strategic plan, originally released in 2005, and mission statement, created more than

Hendrix, The Clash, Patti Smith, Keith Richards,

a decade ago. The new plan, Our Legacy, Our

and Lou Reed, who had died the day before.

Future: FIT Beyond 2020, brings fresh insights and perspectives on FIT’s progress and challenges, focusing on increasing academic and creative excellence, a stronger culture of innovation and collaboration, and an empowering student experience. “This new plan, with its three goals and supporting strategies, offers a

Varvatos (right) said, “Lou Reed was somebody who pushed the boundaries every day of his life, musically and stylistically.”


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aspirations that would not have been possible just a short time ago. Built on what we have MFIT

Lorenzo Ciniglio

bold and exciting vision of the college, one with

already achieved, it both reflects the way FIT has changed since 2005 and positions us for

Louis Vuitton bag, multicolor monogram canvas, 2003, France, museum purchase.

the future,” President Joyce F. Brown said.

hue | fall 2013

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Interior Design Students’ Good Works on View

QUICK READ >> President Joyce F. Brown was named one of 18

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastating

“People to Watch in Higher Education” by Crain’s

sweep through New Jersey and New York, a

New York Business. During her tenure, the article

group of Interior Design students offered free

noted, FIT increased enrollment from 5,600 to

design services to affected families in and near

7,200 full-time students, added 20 new degree

Long Beach, NY. To coincide with the one-year

and certificate programs, and enhanced the

anniversary of the storm, the departments of

college’s endowment.

Interior Design and Photography created an

>> Sustainable Fashion, Health, and Beauty:

exhibition in the Fred P. Pomerantz Art and

Connecting the Dots, a conference that

Design Center lobby that displayed the students’

addressed earth- and human-friendly textiles

plans, renderings, and before-and-after photos

and cosmetics, was held at FIT July 10 to 12.

from the project. The exhibition was funded by

The event, sponsored by FIT’s Enterprise Center,

the first Art and Design Interdisciplinary Grant.

included an eco-tour and scavenger hunt through

Jerry Speier

the Garment District.

Jerry Speier

Basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson with his daughter, Elisa, and President Brown on Parents Day.

The Interior Design Relief Project exhibition.

The FIT Community Comes Home

>> Four FIT students were named SUNY Scholar Athletes for 2012-2013, based on athletic prowess and an impressive GPA: Megan Houff, Fashion Merchandising Management (volleyball); Shachar Keizman, Packaging Design (swimming); Jacquelyn Kicksee, Advertising and Marketing Communications (swimming); and Kelsey Oglesby, Fashion Merchandising Management (cross country).

The collegiate tradition of homecoming, a celebration that unites alumni, faculty, and current

>> For the first time in FIT’s history, two sixth-

Printing Grows Up

students, stretches back more than a century in

semester Fashion Design students tied for the

the United States and more than 30 years at FIT.

CFDA’s top award in its prestigious under-

In the future, designers will be able to click

This year, students renamed the event Legacy

graduate competition. Hannah Kim and Peter Do

“print” to turn their drawings into garments.

Week to help make it distinctive and meaningful

each won a $10,000 scholarship. Kim’s collection

Students got a peek into this future when Michael

to FIT.

was influenced by Dolce & Gabbana and Versace;

Schmidt, creator of outrageous stage getups for

The first Legacy Week, October 28 to

Do’s line was inspired by French artist Benjamin

Madonna, Lady Gaga, Cher, and dozens more,

November 3, was packed with activities centered


described the making of the world’s first fully

around a different theme each day. For example,

articulated 3D-printed dress in the Katie Murphy

Alumni Day featured a panel of graduates who

Amphitheatre on October 10. Architect Francis

have made a splash in reality TV; Tiger Day,

Bitonti, who helped with the technical aspects of

on Halloween, treated onlookers to a pep rally and

the dress, Skyped in. The 11-pound

flash mob of students dancing to Michael Jackson’s

gown, crafted for burlesque icon

“Thriller”; and Parents Day brought together a

(and Schmidt’s friend) Dita

plethora of successful alumni from a range of

Von Teese, is made up of 17

fields to share career insights. On FIT’s Day of

printed nylon pieces; 3,000

Service, the last day of Legacy Week, volunteers

tiny joints give it move-

helped improve the city through KEEN: Kids

ment, and 50,000 jet hem-

Enjoy Exercise Now and New York Cares.

>> In September, Sass Brown, acting assistant dean of the School of Art and Design, participated in a “Responsible Creation” panel at the Paris fabric trade show Première Vision, alongside representatives from Gucci and Max Mara. It was the first time the show addressed sustainable fashion. Brown’s latest book, Refashioned: Cutting-Edge Clothing from Upcycled Materials, debuted this fall. >> On October 28, 60 Illustration students drew chalk murals on the exterior of the Fred P. Pomerantz

atite crystals, donated by

Art and Design Center. Chalk! FIT, organized by

Swarovski, make it shine.

Assistant Professor Dan Shefelman, drew crowds

Dog-Obsessed Photographer Visits FIT

“It all worked remarkably well, and nobody was more surprised than me,” Schmidt said. The

On September 18, William Wegman, known

dress is on display at the Museum

for his lovable photographs of Weimaraner dogs,

of Arts and Design through

spoke in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre as

July 6, 2014. The event was

part of the Photography Department’s Photo

part of FIT’s 2013 Love Your

Talks series. He has created 30 books and other Albert Sanchez

Library series.

Dita Von Teese wearing the 3D-printed dress.

publications for adults and children, as well as

to the back cover to see the murals. >> Sally Singer, digital creative director at Vogue and former editor in chief of T: The New York Times Style Magazine, has joined FIT’s Board of Trustees through June 30, 2015. She will complete the term of Chris Casson Madden, who stepped down.

charming videos for both Saturday Night Live and Sesame Street.

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of curious passersby along Seventh Avenue. Turn


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Global Citizen Sophie Miyashiro International Trade and Marketing for

a student in first person

the Fashion Industries ’13 You’ll graduate in December with some impressive achievements. You coauthored a best practices manual for importing cotton apparel under the Dominican Republic–Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), for example. We got to travel and observe firsthand the entire supply chain. We spoke with government agencies and trade associations in Washington and in Miami, which is the main port of entry for Central American merchandise. We visited a yarn factory in Atlanta, cotton farms in Texas, and garment production facilities in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. To receive preferential duty treatment under the agreement, a cotton good must qualify as originating from a CAFTA-DR member country. You also went to New Delhi, India, to study that country’s consumer market. What did you learn? One and a half billion people constitute many different markets, not just one. I was trying to find out about consumers’ lifestyles, ideologies, wishes, and aspirations. I devised a survey with questions like, “What do you value most in your life?” They all said family. Here, time is money. There, if someone says, “in ten minutes,” they might mean tomorrow. No business is conducted without consulting astrological charts. In my five weeks there, I never encountered a single person who was bad-tempered or impatient. You originally studied ballet in your native city, Bordeaux, France. What brought you here? Dancing is my passion, but it destroys your feet. I thought of doing it professionally, but America was too tempting. It really is the land of opportunity; in France, you couldn’t go to school past age 27. My husband, Kotaro, studied Jewelry Design at FIT in the late ’80s. He told me about the high caliber of the professors here and the hands-on training the students receive. You have two daughters. Was it hard to get through the program while being a full-time mom? We never outsourced a single hour of child care. We think there’s nothing more important than nurturing a human being you created. We poured all our love into them. Alexandra, my first, is a sophomore at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. My second daughter, Oriane, was born with congenital hip dysplasia, and my greatest achievement is that she walks. I studied during my hour-long commute from Bay Ridge. You won a $10,000 Women’s Forum Education Award for your leadership potential. How will you fulfill the promise you’ve shown here? I want to source—ethically—and I’d also love to export. Globalization has reached a definite turning point. Any company that wants to succeed will have to be transparent. In Central America and Asia, personal relationships are paramount. In my career, I want to make sure that no one gets exploited so that someone else can clothe them-

See the CAFTA-DR manual, which was sponsored by Cotton Incorporated, online at


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Erica Lansner

selves. Everyone is interesting. Everyone matters.

hue | fall 2013

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Ode to a Shirt A professor’s poem finds a wider audience When Alexander Cavaluzzo, Visual Art Management ’11, Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design ’09, selected Professor Amy Lemmon’s poem “I Take Your T-Shirt to Bed Again” for inclusion in his art magazine Vitrine: A Printed Museum, he couldn’t have guessed

insights from the classroom and beyond

it would find its way into The Best American Poetry, an annual anthology of the 75 best poems published in literary magazines the previous year. A different poet selects the poems each year; Denise Duhamel put together the 2013 edition, which hit shelves in September. While at FIT, Cavaluzzo took five

creative writing courses with Lemmon as part of his English minor; last year, he asked her to contribute to his magazine-cum-“portable gallery,” which he produced as his thesis for his ist art project,” a public work meant to readjust public perception about society, art, or culture. “I wanted to make art more accessible,” he says.

I Take Your T-Shirt to Bed Again And by now it has almost lost its scent— your scent, as when you were here and turned

Matthew Septimus

master’s in arts politics at NYU. His goal was to create an “intervention-

How to See Like a 5-Year-Old

towards the wall while I pressed my body

Brenda Cowan, chairperson Exhibition Design MA

into your body and sighed, “You smell like candy”

When my daughter was 5, we were walking down the street and she

into your t-shirted back. Yes, the smell is yours

saw a crushed can on the sidewalk. She picked it up (much to my horror)

the shirt warmed by your lean torso, tufted and delicious. I’ve washed my clothes in your soap, but that wasn’t it—there must be something sweet your pores pour forth. In three days you will be here and we will drink

and said, “There are a lot of stories here. Why is it here? Who crushed it? Someone in a car? Why isn’t this in the garbage?” I realized she was not just looking at this can but really seeing it. Instead of deciding she already knew what this thing was about, she was looking with wonderment. When we wonder, we see things differently, and we want to know more. I own a very cool horse skull. On the first day of the introductory

from and with each other, sleep in close quarters,

Exhibition Design class every year, I put it out on the table, along with

naked, awake to heat and singing cells and slickness. But now,

some horse vertebrae. I give students ten minutes to generate as many

too tired even to please myself, I breathe the shirt that covers my pillow and dream—our yes and yes and yes opening and opening— —Amy Lemmon

questions as they can about what they’re seeing. They come up with dozens: What is it? Where did it come from? How did it die? Did it have a name? I know I’ve succeeded if, by the end of the class, they’re begging me for the answers. That’s what a good exhibition does: it makes people ask questions. In this way, a master exhibition designer connects viewers with a sense of wonder and engages them in a deep way. Companies might spend $40 million on a trade show exhibit. They can make anything they want, and you could see it and feel “eh.” On the other hand, a much simpler exhibition that gets you to ask questions can reconnect you with a childlike

Erica Lansner

wonder, and then you’ll be begging to learn more.

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Lorenzo Ciniglo

Far left: Hagan visits FIT. Other photos: Hagan at charity events around the country for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.


BEAUTY Mallory Hagan, Advertising and Marketing Communications student and Miss America 2013, looks back By Jonathan Vatner

Countless leaders of the creative industries have been educated at FIT. Beauty queens, not so much. That changed in January when an FIT student won the Miss America Competition. Mallory Hagan, Miss America 2013, stopped by the campus in August, six weeks before her reign ended (yielding the crown to another Miss New York, Nina Davuluri), to tell us about her whirlwind year. We were struck by her frankness, friendliness, and humor—not to mention her good looks. When did you first want to be Miss America? My mom owns a dance studio, and when I was a little girl in Alabama, she would have all the girls over to watch the telecast every year. I started in the


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Why do you think you were chosen? It’s really hard to get girls to be themselves in the interview room. I’m a take-it-or-leave-it kind of person, and I think that came through. What brings you to New York today? I’m here to support the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. I’m visiting several Dairy Queens for Miracle Treat Day—they’ll donate a dollar every time someone orders a Blizzard. Figures that this was the year I found out I’m lactose intolerant. You’re a few courses shy of an AAS degree in Advertising and Marketing Communications. Has your education helped you be a better Miss America? Definitely. The whole job is marketing and PR—understanding exactly how to relay a message that corresponds with the message the Miss America Organization wants, all while sharing your own thoughts and beliefs. In the competition, you advocated for childhood sexual abuse prevention. What have you done for that cause this year? For the past 20 years, the federal government has allocated $18 million to $22 million to child advocacy centers across the country as part of the Victims of Child Abuse Act. This fiscal year, it was cut. I’ve visited Capitol Hill four times and spoken at conferences and summits to call for the funding to be restored. I plan to continue that work long after my reign ends. Is it hard to talk about such a sensitive subject? The more taboo we make it, the less likely we are to have the conversation. One in four young women and one in six young men will be sexually abused by the time they’re 18.

Miss America’s Outstanding Teen program when I was 13. When I started

Your reign ends on September 15. Will you have to give up the crown

competing in the adult pageant four years ago to make money for school,

you’re wearing?

I thought I could never do Miss America’s job. I always said I wanted to be

You get to keep it, but you can’t wear it. Only the reigning Miss America

first runner-up and use the $25,000 to finish my degree. It wasn’t until I won

gets to wear the crown. Unless you’re in your own house and want to dance

Miss New York that I changed my mind.

around in it. But that won’t be me.

hue | fall 2013

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Best Laid Plans Interior design contest winners see their renderings become reality The latest 3D modeling software allows interior designers to create rooms on a computer and wander through them—but the virtual experience pales compared to stepping inside an actual room. Unfortunately, most interior design students don’t get to build out their visions until after graduation. So when Rockrose, a real-estate developer and management company, offered FIT’s Interior Design students the opportunity to create model rooms for its new Linc LIC rental apartment building in Long Island City, 40 fifth-semester students jumped at the chance. Students were given a $10,000 budget to furnish a studio apartment. Based on their renderings, department faculty winnowed the entries down to 12. Rockrose picked three finalists—Gregory Bardwell, Paola Barraza, and Katherine Stec—and furnished model apartments according to the students’ specifications. Prospective tenants touring the building can vote on their favorite, and the winner will be announced in early 2014. All three finalists will win cash prizes, but the designs have already made an impact. All the apartments in the same lines as the models rented first. And the students had an experience they’d only dreamed of. “You have this vision for months,” Stec said, “and to be standing in the space, it’s unreal.” Top: Katherine Stec imagined a Wall Street type living in this sophisticated, traditional apartment. She shopped at Crate and Barrel and West Elm to find reasonably priced furnishings in neutral colors and with luxurious finishes, such as leather chairs and a microsuede sleeper sofa. The ceiling, painted with faux silver leaf, brightens the space, and the wide, painted stripes lend the room a soothing masculine feel. Middle: Paola Barraza took inspiration from the electric feeling of the neighborhood and the creativity of 5Pointz, an outdoor graffiti-art gallery nearby. She commissioned an LED divider that changes color to separate the sleeping and living areas, and had the walls painted in bright white and blue. For the quirky furniture and accessories, she relied heavily on

Smiljana Peros

Bottom: For this cheerful, retro apartment, Gregory Bardwell spent most of his budget on this Bo Concept coffee table that becomes a dining table in a pinch, as well as a Jonathan Adler bench, in the foyer, that served as color inspiration for the wall stripes. For privacy, he hung curtains from the four-poster bed. “Mid-century has always been my aesthetic,” he said. “I couldn’t go completely mid-century, though, because Long Island City is much more industrial.”

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Must- See

Cinema Michelle Handelman’s Ten Favorite Visually Spectacular Films

Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954) by Kenneth Anger This is quite possibly my favorite film of all time. No

plot, just visual decadence, wrapped in saturated colors and set to an operatic score, by a master of mise-en-scène. It features artistic and literary luminaries Anaïs Nin, Curtis Harrington, and Marjorie Cameron. Everyone was asked to come “dressed as their madness,” and they appear in a hallucinatory riot of color and costume: feathers, jewels, nymphs, and demons. The result is pure visual desire.

Michelle Handelman, associate professor in FIT’s new Film and Media BS program, launching next fall, recommends ten classic movies with entrancing imagery. “These are the films I continually revisit to inspire me in my own filmmaking,” she says, “films that remind me what’s possible when great artists—director, cinematographer, actors, and more—come together and break the rules. In short, films that are visionary.”


La Dolce Vita (1960)


by Federico Fellini Fellini was a master at

A Clockwork Orange (1971) by stanley kubrick Kubrick is one of the few filmmakers whose work is both stunning and deeply political. Based on Anthony

combining cinematic precision and chaos, and surely any of his

Burgess’s dystopian novel, lead character Alex and his “droogies”

films could be listed here, but this was his

personified the social unrest of post–Carnaby Street London, a time in

career-defining foray into existential

the UK when the Labor Party was being bludgeoned by the ruling

investigations of glamour and fame. I love

Conservative Party. The cool, futuristic setting of the Milk Bar and the

Marcello Mastroianni’s ever-cool sunglasses,

molded plastic erotica contrast sharply with the architectural despair

Anita Ekberg’s embodiment of haute couture,

of the run-down council flats. And Alex’s iconic lower false eyelash has

and of course the Greek chorus of paparazzi

become an eternal emblem of restless youth.

flash bulbs, all set against the spectacular ruin that is Rome. Most spectacular is Fellini’s dizzying camera lens traveling from one scrumptious moment to the next. Not a single frame is wasted.


The 10th Victim (1965) by Elio Petri Surface runs deep, and this film is all surface. It’s set in a future where the big-

gest form of entertainment is “The Hunt,” a game where the first contestant to kill ten people becomes a superstar. The design, full of ’60s mod Italian style, is pure pop art. Each of Ursula Andress’s outfits is sexier than the last, and the scene of her in a black-and-white shooting gallery with a high-powered rifle and a hot-pink backless pantsuit

Suspiria (1977)

is to die for.


by Dario Argento Serious horror fans know the great stylist Dario Argento, another Italian master of

color and form, whose classic compositions are shot through with vibrant primary colors. Argento paints with light, presenting scenarios both frightening and illuminating. The opening scene in the girls’ dormitory plays out as contemporary shadow theater, backlit with blue and red. The scene where Pat, the expelled student, crashes through a pane of stained glass, falling onto an Art Deco– inspired black-and-white floor, is beyond description.


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hue | fall 2013

11/25/13 9:13 AM


The Holy Mountain (1973) by Alejandro Jodorowsky After the art-house success of Jodorowsky’s masterpiece, El Topo, this film found financing in

America by none other than John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Touted as a metaphysical masterpiece, halfway through you’ll find yourself wondering what this film is about, but it won’t matter, as each scene is constructed as a contemporary mystical ritual. Loosely based on the tarot and one man’s journey to enlightenment, The Holy Mountain doesn’t disappoint lovers of fantastical costumes, highly symmetrical sets, and breathtaking artifice.

Les Vampires (1915)



Salomé (1923) by Alla Nazimova Made in the mid-’20s by the Russian dancer-

by Louis Feuillade Full disclosure: My latest project is based on the lead

turned-MGM movie star Alla Nazimova,

character from this film, so yes, I’m a huge

this film is a rediscovered piece of queer history. The film is

fan. The title characters aren’t really

a flamboyant adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s one-act play

vampires but a gang of jewel thieves led by

Salomé, featuring sets based on the original Aubrey

the dark and mischievous Irma Vep, the first

Beardsley illustrations of Wilde’s play. Nazimova was the

cinematic vamp, a prototype catwoman.

grande dame lesbian of old Hollywood, known for hosting

It’s a classic cops-and-robbers caper with a

bacchanals at her Sunset Boulevard mansion, The Garden

subtext of class warfare. Irma Vep spends

of Alla, and for arranging two “lavender” marriages for

much of the film slinking around Parisian

Rudolph Valentino. The wigs and makeup are exquisite,

rooftops and darkened hallways in her black

and the whole piece is wicked fun.

catsuit, striking an unforgettable silhouette.

Kill Bill: Vol 1. (2003)


Part cartoon, part postmodern painting, every film Tarantino

makes (with the possible exception of Jackie Brown) is a visual feast, but the last scene in this film is my favorite. After the spectacular blowout in the nightclub, The Bride (Uma Thurman) and O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) step out into a stunning Japanese garden with cherry blossoms covered by falling snow. Thurman’s yellow jumpsuit contrasts with Liu’s snow


Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)

FIT’s New Film and Media BS Program

by Quentin Tarantino

white robe, and the whole scene—set to the flamenco music of the Gipsy Kings—gets painted with red. It’s genius!

The Film and Media program, launching in fall 2014, will offer one of the few comprehensive undergraduate degree programs in the country that combines film production with film and media studies. Students will explore all genres—including big-budget action flicks, indie art pieces, horror classics, and documentaries—both as budding filmmakers and media historians. Specializations in areas such as storyboarding and character design, film history, and national cinema provide opportunities for in-depth study. Graduates will be prepared for careers in a wide range of fields, including digital and new media, advertising and marketing, journalism, and the arts. Learn more at

by Russ Meyer

Michelle Handelman is associate professor of Film and Media

The first 20 minutes of this

at FIT. She is a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and has received grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, New York Foundation

know about action cinema. Three tough

for the Arts, the MAP Fund, and many others. Her work—mostly

women are out for some fun, and set

large-scale, multiscreen video

against the stark landscape of the Southern

installations—has shown in the

California desert, Meyer has transformed

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris;

black-and-white film into finely etched

Institute of Contemporary Art,

charcoal. His camera defined the tough-girl

London; American Film Institute,

look of the ’60s, and the female body is

Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum

presented as a landscape with all the

of Modern Art; Museum of Fine

requisite clichés of sharp curves, deep

Arts, Boston; Museum of Contempo-

valleys, and large peaks. But this is no simple

rary Art, Chicago; and on PBS. Her

exploitation film. The entire beginning is

latest project, Irma Vep, the last

shot with low and oblique angles, compress-

breath, is now on exhibit at the Eli

ing and expanding space as only a great

and Edythe Broad Art Museum at

cinematographer can do.

Michigan State University.

F72447.indd 11

Erica Lansner

film will teach you everything you need to


11/25/13 9:14 AM

Does This Dress Make Me Look Gay? A groundbreaking exhibition at The Museum at FIT “outs” the history of fashion

By Alex Joseph


he fashion industry

cross-dressers known as “mollies” were arrested

famously welcomes gay people,

in London, and in the 19th century, Oscar Wilde

but that wasn’t always the

sported tight suits with a green carnation as a

case. Designer Rudi Gernreich

sartorial signifier of his sexuality. Both are rep-

cofounded the Mattachine

resented in the show. Also featured are some

Society, the first gay-rights

impeccable jackets and trousers worn by Marlene

group in America, but he was never out in his

Dietrich. (Her look inspired Yves Saint Laurent’s

career. “It’s bad for business,” he explained.

famous suits for women, Le Smoking, one of

Chanel reportedly said that gay designers “dream

which is displayed nearby.) Dietrich donned a

of being women, so they make real women look

tux, complete with top hat and pocket square, and

like transvestites.” The former publisher of

smooched a female fan in Morocco (1930), but she

Women’s Wear Daily, James Brady, wrote in a 1974

ended up pursuing Gary Cooper. In the exhibition,

memoir that one designer could recall the days

her bisexuality remains an implacable fact.

“when pederasty [sic] was unknown in couture and designers were notorious womanizers.” Today, designers’ same-sex unions are celebrated on TV shows, in magazines, and in the Weddings/Celebrations section of The New York Times. (Mazel tov to FIT alumni Dennis Basso ’73, who married longtime partner Michael Comin-

Above: In 18th-century England, foppish men who dressed and acted in an outrageous, sometimes effeminate manner were called “macaronis.” Right: Gianni Versace’s leather evening dress from autumn/winter 1992 is one of Steele’s favorite pieces in the show.

LePere!) It’s the perfect time to celebrate alternative sexuality, and a show at The Museum at FIT does just that. A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk, cocurated by Valerie Steele, the museum’s director and chief curator, and Fred Dennis, senior curator of costume, is the first fashion exhibition dedicated to the contributions of gay culture and designers. “We thought it was really overdue,” Steele says. The word “queer” encompasses “lesbian-gaybisexual-transgender-queer” or LGBTQ, yet it also has a political flavor. The exhibition provides an alternative history, making overt what was once encoded. “We’re reclaiming the gay and lesbian past,” Dennis says. In the 18th century, flamboyant


F72447.indd 12

Courtesy of Fashion Group Foundation

The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University

otto, and Michael Kors, now wedded to Lance

hue | fall 2013

11/25/13 9:14 AM

Far left: Ensemble from fall/winter 2000-2001 by John Bartlett, Menswear ’88.

Art Resource, NY

Left: Jean Paul Gaultier, orange shirred velvet dress with cone bust and back lacing, 1984, France.

Reclaiming queer history is an idea that’s been around since at least 1990, when Hidden from History, a groundbreaking collection of essays about the LGBTQ past, was published. Scholar George Chauncey (Gay New York) coedited that book, and served as an advisor for this show, which for the first time presents designers in a gay context. “No one wants to label someone, but it’s also not about keeping people in the closet,” Steele says. Dennis adds, “If you don’t acknowledge it, it’s like saying there’s something shameful about it.” The fun lies in the show’s artful juxtapositions. Closeted designers Geoffrey Beene, Dior, and Mainbocher stand beside the out-loud-andproud Tom Ford and Gianni Versace. RuPaul’s The Museum at FIT

red vinyl bustier and towering heels might seem like a no-brainer, but a slim-fitting suit by austere Belgian designer Jil Sander is a far less intuitive inclusion. Everyone knows Jean Paul Gaultier’s cone bra that Madonna made famous, but there’s also a superb outfit from the ground-

(overalls, plaid flannel), and Gernreich’s own

Barneys, and satirist Fran Lebowitz. What has

breaking collection of clothes for “bears” (stocky,

caftans, a unisex take on clothes. Instead, the

surprised Dennis, who proposed the show, and

bearded gay men) by John Bartlett ’88. A coat

curators say, their historical approach reveals

Steele, has been the overwhelmingly positive

created by Miguel Adrover from the discarded

a long-standing and widespread interest within

response from the media. Dozens of publications

mattress ticking of defiantly homosexual dandy

the queer community, which has used the semi-

have paid tribute, from the French Le Monde to

Quentin Crisp (1908-99) stands beside one of

otics of fashion to both conceal (from a hostile

London’s The Guardian to prominent articles in

Crisp’s own suits. Visitors shouldn’t miss—

world) and communicate (to those in the know)

The New York Times and online sources including

though how could they?—Gaultier’s spandex and

their sexuality. and The Huffington Post. A related

neoprene sailor outfit in shocking pink. Dennis says, “Nothing says queer like a pink sailor.”

Yale University Press published a sumptuous

website,, offers videos,

companion volume, edited by Steele and featuring

syllabi for queer studies courses, and contacts

“There is no gay gene for fashion,” Steele

contributions from fashion historians Christopher

for anti-bullying organizations.

says, and the broad range of LGBTQ talent makes

Breward and Elizabeth Wilson. In November, the

The show seems to be meeting its social

generalizations impossible. Noël Coward and

museum organized a symposium of prominent

agenda. One day, an FIT student told Steele,

Tom Ford represent an understated approach

talent to speak on the topic, including Simon

“Everyone says they’re so proud that this show

to gender; but there’s also “diesel dyke” style

Doonan, creative ambassador-at-large for

happened here.”

F72447.indd 13


11/25/13 9:14 AM

Beauty in a

Digital World Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management students predict the future of the beauty industry By Alex Joseph

Students in FIT’s Master of Professional Studies program in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing

Big Data Is Big News

and Management serve as a think tank for the

By 2020, according to the students’ research, knowl-

beauty industry. They’re more than students;

edge furnished by Big Data will transform every aspect

they’re seasoned pros, selected by the prestigious companies they work for—Chanel, L’Oréal,

of the beauty industry. Many associate the phrase with the internet, and it’s true that every time you search for a book on Amazon, Google a designer’s name, or

Unilever—to advance their careers through study

“like” an organization on Facebook, you’re leaving a

in the program. Every year, for their capstone

trail for marketers. But Big Data refers to new capa-

projects, students present original research into

bilities for collection and analysis of information that

key industry issues to an audience of top executives. This year, more than 140 national and

can be gathered anywhere. Brick-and-mortar stores study shopping patterns. Pharmaceutical companies develop pills that track ingestion time, heart rate, and

international outlets, including The Wall Street

temperature. In the future, sensors on products will

Journal, Women’s Wear Daily, ABC News, and

let beauty brands know how a product is being used,

CBS News, covered their findings. They were also invited to give the presentation again to the national merchant and marketing team at Macy’s corporate headquarters in New York, the HBA

“beyond what people can verbally express,” the research shows. For example, “In a recent survey, consumers claimed that they apply five strokes of mascara to each eye. But when counted during actual usage observation, it was closer to 50.”

Global Expo at the Javits Center, CosmoProf North America in Las Vegas, to 200 luxury and digital executives at the Luxury Interactive conference in New York in September, and at a SUNY conference on the theme of Big Data in October. Here are some highlights from their presentation.


F72447.indd 14

hue | fall 2013

11/25/13 9:14 AM

We Like You, and We Want to Know You Better When the presentation was given at FIT in June, the keynote speaker was Joe Rospars, CEO of Blue State Digital, which masterminded social media strategy for both Obama campaigns and Vogue. Rospars said companies often make the mistake of addressing their audience as one undifferentiated group; instead, they should be approached as individuals. For Vogue, Rospars asked creative director Grace Coddington to write subscribers an email about the first time she picked up an issue of the magazine, and how it made her feel. Readers responded in kind, he said, “describing their personal relationship with the brand”—a major boon to marketers. “Essentially, the challenge is always this: How will your brand engage people in a social way?”

Three teams of students presented

Digital Commerce

research on the following topics:

It’s Infinite Now that you can shop anywhere on

Digital Analytics

your phone, brands should “be more seam-

Digital Marketing

less between the physical stores, online,

The More You Know…

Call It “Human CeNtered”

In 2020, “there will be 31 billion devices

In traditional advertising, brands

iPad at the register. Facial recognition tech-

used by the 4 billion people connected

addressed large demographic groups,

nology and predictive analytics will provide

to the internet,” student research shows.

but the new marketing model creates the

a completely personalized experience.

The data from all this activity will help the

illusion of one-to-one interaction. “Human-

“Installations at the counter will recognize

beauty industry know what types of prod-

centric marketing,” as the students’ study

and synthesize your consumer profile,

ucts to develop and precisely monitor the

refers to it, means brands will focus their

based on publicly accessible information,”

supply chain. By 2015, one in six people in

strategy by micro-targeting influential

the study says. “They can then recommend

the U.S. will be over 65. “As a result,” the

consumers. Micro-engagement refers to

products that will work for a consumer’s

research shows, “the nation’s anti-aging

the way brands will come to know consum-

unique beauty needs.” Online retailing, on

market is projected to skyrocket to $144

ers intimately by interacting with them

the other hand, will be more like being in

billion a year.” Brands will use biometrics to

“where they want, when they want” across

a store, with consumers able to browse

evaluate individuals’ skin health and data

the brand’s “touch points,” or places they

virtual shelves and even “visit,” say, the

about habits like how much exercise or

interact with them, both online and in

Chanel flagship in Paris. Same-day delivery

sleep they get combined with measurable

person. (“Touch points should be personal-

will provide near-instant gratification.

stress factors in the environment like UVA

ized, timely, and barrier-free; if they aren’t,

People already flood the internet with

rays and pollution, to offer consumers

your brand is irrelevant,” the students

digital images; in their study, students say

“hyper-personalized recommendations to

say.) The result will be highly personalized

brands should enable consumers to pur-

minimize the effects of aging.” To make the

micro-marketing campaigns: “You’re not

chase any product they photograph in their

best use of Big Data, the students’ study

asking how effective your commercial was,

daily environment. They call this ambitious

says, “The beauty industry needs to start

but how effective your 4:12 pm interaction

concept “Beauty on Demand.” It signals

recruiting, acquiring, and developing data

with the individual consumer was.”

“infinite opportunities for commerce,”

and mobile channels,” the students say in their research. For the in-store experience, that means much more than having an

some of which will soon be realized with

scientists now.”

such existing technology as Google Now and facial recognition in video and photos.

F72447.indd 15


11/25/13 9:14 AM

Stephen Burrows, Fashion Design ’66, helped define 1970s disco style. This year, he was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York

On his time at FIT: I met a lot of friends who I still see—Roz Rubinstein, former manager of the O boutique and Stephen Burrows, Inc.; Don Sayers; Frank Leo; and Vy Higginsen. Also my great professors [Margaret] Negro, [Lyena] Dodge, and [Marie] Edelstein—my senior teacher. On the last day of class I said to her, “I’ll see you at the Coty Awards.” I was just being futuristically

By Alex Joseph

optimistic. But then I did. Above: Burrows and Rubinstein the day the Bendel’s boutique opened.


F72447.indd 16

There’s nothing like a room full of Stephen Burrows designs

fashion design at FIT from 1964 to 1966 and opened his first

to make you feel like dancing. Maybe it’s the slinky jerseys,

boutique, O, opposite legendary nightclub and artist hangout

sleek fits, and juxtapositions of hypnotic colors that call to

Max’s Kansas City, in 1967. Not long after, filmmaker Joel

mind disco divas like Grace Jones. This is not an accident:

Schumacher (Ghost), then visual director for Henri Bendel,

Burrows, the winner of awards from the Coty American Fashion

discovered Burrows and his fashion on Fire Island, and

Critics and the CFDA, has always found inspiration in music,

introduced him to Geraldine Stutz, president of Bendel’s.

particularly “anything from Motown, and girl groups like Sister

Burrows opened a boutique in the store in 1969, the first

Sledge and the Pointer Sisters,” he says. (He’s dressed both

African-American designer to do so.

acts.) Designing for Diana Ross was a career zenith. Miles Davis

and Mick Jagger wore him, too. In the spring, the Museum of

“Battle of Versailles,” a fashion show that pitted Paris haute

the City of New York did fashion lovers a favor with a well-

couture against high-end American sportswear. For the first

named show of Burrows’s work from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s:

time, critics say, Americans outshone the French. No designer

When Fashion Danced. A huge photo of Grace Jones greeted

embodied that spontaneous, irreverent moment more than

visitors at the gallery entrance.

Stephen Burrows. As the fashion scholar and curator Richard

Martin wrote, “Burrows was the quintessential fashion

Although the exhibition focused on Burrows’s heyday,

In 1973, his designs were showcased in the legendary

he still has a line, worn by such notables as Chelsea Handler

expression of the 1970s in a disestablishment sensibility,

and Oprah. Michelle Obama is also a fan. “She wore my

young nonchalance, and unfailing insistence on looking

dress twice! I couldn’t believe it,” he says, in his typically

beautiful.” Martin also said that Burrows’s color blocking

modest manner.

and “lettuce” edging can be “recognized as hallmarks of a

truthful, youthful culture that demanded no deceit in dress

Burrows credits his father with introducing him to music.

“He made watercolor caricatures of major figures in Harlem

and a return to basics.”

nightlife—Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan—

at places like the Renaissance Ballroom. And I would be there,

‘couturial’! He was a really inspiring guy.” On this spread,

sitting in his lap.” Burrows’s mother inspired his color sense—

we offer a few more reflections from Burrows, and some of

“She liked coloring books and saturated colors.” He studied

his fabulous fashions.

Hearing that quote, Burrows laughs. “Richard’s so

hue | fall 2013

11/25/13 9:14 AM

On his color sense: They had at least 30 fabric colors in stock at Jasco, and I’d just put them all together and start grabbing. The clothes were like adult toys, so I liked them bright and humorous.

On his famous “lettuce” edging: It was a mistake that a sewer made in a sample. I liked it and kept it. I called it lettuce ’cause it looked like lettuce! On jersey: My partner introduced me to matte jersey in 1969. It doesn’t have any static. It’s natural, nice to feel, and it’s a knit! I have a predilection for knits, because they don’t need a lining and they fit to the body.

On Miles, Jimi, and Mick wearing his women’s wear: Miles [Davis] would just wear [his wife, the singer] Betty’s things. (I met her dancing at the Palladium.) And Jimi Hendrix wore his girlfriend’s things. And Mick Jagger wore it because Jerry Hall bought it. I also did tie-dyed shirts and pants. Anyone could wear those. And

On the future: Hopefully more awareness of my

tunics—they were like a dress but

product, and some freestanding stores. Fashion’s

guys wore them.

all about real estate now.

F72447.indd 17


11/25/13 9:15 AM

Story of a

Lifetime Four business students win an international retail competition in Paris For the past five years, student teams from colleges the world over have competed in the Retail Futures Challenge, a contest to cultivate store innovation, at the World Retail Congress, a forum of more than 1,300 boardroom-level decision makers. This year, for the first time, the FIT contingent took home first prize. Preparations lasted eight months. In February, Assistant Professor Robin Sackin, chair of Fashion Merchandising Management, hand-picked four high-achieving, eloquent students from the Jay and Patty Baker School

local shoppers, the costs of operating a store in Paris, and other factors. All in 48 hours. Sleep was out of the question. They raced around Paris, interviewing shoppers and retailers. They zeroed in on Le Marais—a district known for its galleries and cafés, much like Chelsea in New York. They chose a store location, calculated the cost of the lease, and found locally crafted merchandise to sell. Each student brought her own strengths—in product development, accounting, technology, and marketing—to create a compelling business plan. Their presentation drew cheers and whistles from the audience. The three judges were harder to win over, but the team used the criticisms as a chance to explain their ideas in a deeper way. Their diligence, creativity, and teamwork won them a trophy. “By the time we presented, it wasn’t about winning,” Alexis Katsafanas, Fashion Merchandising Management ’14, remembers. “It was about four strangers coming together and really becoming friends.”

of Business and Technology. She coached them all spring and summer.

Jaime Duncan, Fashion Merchandising Management ’13, from Massapequa, NY; Alexis Katsafanas, Fashion Merchandising Management ’14, from Pittsburgh; Eleanor Ayre, Advertising and Marketing Communications ’14, from Toronto; and Wen Zhao, Textile Development and Marketing ’15, from Sydney.

The students were advised to study an innovative retail concept before traveling to Paris in October for the competition. They picked Story, a shop in Chelsea that presents its merchandise in a series of themed shows, much like an art gallery. The store uses heat and motion sensors to track shopping patterns, and it sells mostly on consignment, leaving very little inventory to liquidate once each story has ended. Popular in-store events generate both buzz and revenue. “We think it’s the future of retailing,” Wen Zhao, Textile Development and Marketing ’15, said. “Story creates dialogue in the store and encourages people to spread the word using technology.” On October 7 in Paris, the students were given their assignment: to adapt the concept to the Parisian market, taking into account input from

Breaking the

Glasses Ceiling

An eyewear company’s journey to capture a portion of the $65 billion global market

of retro-style prototypes, build a website, and

bit of baptism by fire,” Blumenthal said. Their

retain a public relations firm. They learned a

success is due partly to cutting out the middle-

lot from impromptu focus groups with friends,

man—markups on glasses are some of the highest

for example, that people were most likely to buy

in the retail universe—and partly to imaginative

the glasses for $100, no more and no less. But

marketing campaigns. During Fashion Week,

$95 seemed like a sexier number. They went

they positioned models wearing Warby Parker

through 2,000 possible names before stumbling

in the main reading room of the New York Public

upon two characters, Warby Pepper and Zagg

Library and invited editors to visit. They also

Parker, from Jack Kerouac’s journals.

created quirky pop-up shops, including an assemblage of yurts erected in a garage and a

When they launched in February 2010, 15 styles sold out in four weeks, and 20,000 customers

Warby Parker, the groundbreaking eyewear

success to their company values. For every pair

company that offers designer specs for just $95,

sold, they give a pair to someone in a developing

started after David Gilboa, about to begin at

country. And it’s not about helicopter-dropping

Wharton business school in 2008, left a $700 pair

a crate of remainders destined for the landfill.

of glasses in an airline seat pocket and couldn’t

They work with a nonprofit to provide glasses to

justify buying another.

optometrists in styles that people in those countries want to wear.

So related Neil Blumenthal, one of the four

The company’s current initiative might sound

cofounders of Warby Parker, when he spoke at

counterintuitive for an internet success story:

Entrepreneurship Department and the Enterprise

brick-and-mortar stores, placed in high-traffic

Center. “Eyeglasses technology has been around

retail districts like Soho in New York and Newbury

for 800 years, and there are no rare metals in

Street in Boston. But so far, sales per square foot

them,” Blumenthal said. “We saw this massive

are higher than at Tiffany & Co.

Kristina Fetkovich

FIT on September 26, an event sponsored by the

opportunity to sell them for much less.” Blumenthal and Gilboa, as well as Andrew Hunt and Jeffrey Raider, invested $120,000 of their own money to hire designers for a collection


F72447.indd 18

souped-up school bus. Blumenthal also credited some of their

were waiting for them to restock. “It was a little

Warby Parker cofounder Neil Blumenthal talks with students.

“Stores are an amazing marketing tool and a great way to attract customers,” Blumenthal said. It was the most astonishing revelation of the night.

hue | fall 2013

11/25/13 9:15 AM

The history AND art OF tattoo

By Jonathan Vatner Photographs:

Nick Parisse ’09 Photo assistant: Joseph Caraccio ’09

left : Chris Torres, Illustration ’97, a Brooklyn-based tattoo artist, shows off his ink.

Tattoos, once the almost exclusive domain of sailors, punks, and sundry other rebels, have become as mainstream as designer clothes. A 2010 Pew Research Center study showed that one in five Americans—and twice that for twentysomethings—has at least one. News breaks almost every day about a celebrity’s new ink: Angelina Jolie, Marc Jacobs, Rihanna. And the most recent edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette suggests that it may not even be necessary to cover up your tattoos for a job interview.

“Starting in the 1960s, but coming together in the early ’80s, you had all these different social movements—New Age, self-help, feminism, gay and lesbian, environmental—that involved selfreflection and personal growth,” says Margo DeMello, author of Bodies of Inscription: A Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community, as well as an upcoming two-volume encyclopedia of tattoo. “At the same time, you had a handful of mostly

Some of this is due purely to exposure. The past few years have been a golden age for reality TV shows

American tattooists coming out of the art world.

about tattoo artists. For example, there’s Ink Master, a competition on the Spike channel in the vein of

They found an audience to accept an artistic,

Project Runway, now approaching its fourth season; NY Ink, a behind-the-scenes look at a New York City

experimental form of tattoo. And it just kind of

tattoo shop, airing on TLC; and Tattoo Rescue, in which a veteran artist gives business advice to ink shops.

exploded. Tattooing became a way to express

Kat Von D, an artist from the show LA Ink (which ran from 2007 to 2011), has become a household name.

personal identity and inner narratives.”

Some believe the rising popularity of tattoo reveals a broader cultural change, a move away from puritanical concepts of body propriety and toward self-expression.

F72447.indd 19

DeMello explains that people get tattoos to express their uniqueness or their spiritual beliefs,


11/25/13 9:15 AM

Mariners’ Museum, Newport News, VA New York Public Library

help them achieve personal growth or control over their lives, or remind themselves and others of the sacredness of their bodies. Tattoos can be literal or New York Public Library

symbolic; for example, one might get a portrait of a lost loved one or an image of an animal that represents that person. On the other hand, some just want to decorate their bodies with something beautiful. “A lot of people who aren’t artists think you’re getting a tattoo as a rite of passage or an act of rebellion,” says Janine Intervallo, MA Illustration ’11, BFA Illustration ’01, whose master’s thesis, Tattoos:

from left : “Habit of a Pict” by Gijsbert van Veen, 1590; the Picts were a Celtic people of ancient Scotland. Tattooing a sailor aboard the USS New Jersey, by Lieutenant Commander Charles Jacobs, 1944. Japanese tattoo art fueled the current American obsession with ink. Photo circa 1895.

Living Art, explored the development of the industry. “Artists look at it in a more aesthetic way.”

stylized wind-and-water backgrounds of the

Indeed, permanent body art is now seen as a

Japanese aesthetic. Don Ed Hardy, who studied

legitimate creative medium. While you still can

under Collins, Sparrow, and the Japanese tattoo

walk into a tattoo shop and choose an image from

master Horihide, is credited with setting up the

a book of pre-drawn designs called “flash,” talent-

first American custom tattoo shop, in San Fran-

ed illustrators and painters are expanding the

cisco in 1974. His large-scale works of body art set

boundaries of the genre with personalized, dimen-

the stage for contemporary tattoo culture. DeMello

sional artworks designed to fit the curves of the

argues that these Japanese styles and motifs drew

body. Tattoos can mimic just about any style of

attention away from the heavily stigmatized sailor

painting, including trompe l’oeil and watercolor.

tattoos, making Hardy’s tattoos palatable to mainstream America.

Tattooing stretches back millennia, to ancient

tattoo styles American traditional: Updated versions of sailor tattoos: anchors, swallows, pinup girls, nautical stars Biomechanical: A fantastical style, inspired by H.R. Giger’s Academy Award–winning visuals for Alien, that seems to implant machinery into flesh Celtic: “Knotwork,” especially crosses,

Egyptian and Greek cultures, but we probably owe

keep diseases, such as hepatitis, from spreading.

our current obsession to Japan and the South

Tattooing was perceived as a threat to public

Pacific. On a 1769 visit to Tahiti, Captain Cook

health: after a hepatitis outbreak, the New York

interwoven lines

heard the practice called “tattow”; his journals,

City Health Department banned the practice in

published in 1893, represent the first instance of

1961. Though tattoo culture was still alive and

Chicano: A mostly black-and-gray Mexican-

the word in print. American seamen also discovered

well elsewhere in the country, the ban wasn’t

the practice in Polynesia, and beginning in the

repealed until 1997, 36 years later. (Also, a 1962

19th century, tattooists set up shop in the U.S. to

ban in Massachusetts wasn’t repealed until 2000.)

ink religious and military symbols, as well as other

After that, licenses were issued, and the New York

simple designs, onto the arms of sailors. Britain’s

tattoo community became a flourishing art scene.

King Edward VII (1841-1910) was a noted ink lover, often getting a tattoo to commemorate his travels. In America in the mid-20th century, a handful

These days, tattooing is a lucrative career for some FIT alumni, entrepreneurs who have carved out space for a thriving small business. It’s estimated

of artists, such as Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins,

that the tattoo industry in the U.S. grosses more

who developed pigments and motifs still used in

than $2 billion annually. Though the field is very

tattooing today, and Phil Sparrow, a former univer-

competitive, successful tattoo artists earn upwards

sity professor and friend to Gertrude Stein, created

of $100 an hour. In the following pages, five grad-

more artistic, colorful tattoos that brought in the

uates show off their work.


F72447.indd 20

Hardy also improved hygienic standards to

Glossary of

shamrocks, and trees, made from

American style often incorporating religious imagery and ornate script Japanese traditional: Colorful representations of Eastern imagery, including tigers, koi, dragons, and Buddhas; also called “irezumi,” the Japanese word for tattoo Religious: Images of the crucifixion, praying hands, Bibles, lines from scripture, angels and devils Tribal: Complex black patterns seen in indigenous cultures, especially in the South Pacific

hue | fall 2013

11/25/13 9:15 AM

Alumni Tattoo Artists

Vincent Castiglia Illustration ’04 Owner, Arcanum Studio, Manhattan Years of experience: 13 Specialty: Black-and-gray figurative and biomechanical


above : Castiglia in his Financial District studio.

See his heavily tattooed torso on page 3. above right : Tattoos of Lady Justice and the Coney Island Cyclone. right : A biomechanical image punctuated with an eyeball on the client’s shoulder.

incent Castiglia’s insanely detailed tattoos turn flesh into metal, or peel away layers to reveal sinew and bone. Demonic characters, surrounded by lush, imaginative backgrounds, are by turns thrilling

and terrifying. He’s also a talented figure painter, with realistic, nightmarish work. In 2008, H.R. Giger, who won an Oscar for the visual effects in Alien, offered him a solo

exhibition in Switzerland. “It was a monumental event in my life as an artist,” he says. His work has also been featured on the National Geographic Channel. But for someone drawn to such dark themes, Castiglia is gentle and thoughtful. Before attempting painful rib work, he numbs the area with lidocaine. He takes photos of each client’s body curvature to eliminate the guesswork in fitting the tattoo to the body. He’s also well aware of the permanence of tattoos, and, therefore, the danger of making mistakes. Not everyone is disciplined enough to wield a tattoo gun, he says. Many people looking to enter the field “are more attracted to the idea and persona of a tattoo artist than committing to the responsibility of altering people’s skin permanently. The average person is not ready to take that on.”

F72447.indd 21


11/25/13 9:15 AM

Johann Florendo Fine Arts ’98 Partner, Mean Street Tattoo, Queens Years of experience: 15 Specialty: Asian imagery


decided early on to specialize in the Japanese aesthetic. He creates large-scale tableaux of serpents and samurai, beasts and Buddhas, that fit together like a puzzle.

n the Edo period of Japan (1600-1800), “The fire

which runs from neck to legs, is a tiger, representing the year

department would fight fires almost naked,” Johann

of his birth in the Chinese zodiac. It took five years to finish.

Florendo explains. “They got tattooed on their whole

“Everything on me has meaning,” he says. For example, a rooster

body to protect their modesty.” More recently, tattoos

represents the Philippines, where he was born, and Rangda

Many Americans have long been attracted to these brightly

masks from Indonesia offer supernatural protection. Almost his entire body is tattooed, but he waited to have

colored Japanese bodyscapes: dragons, tigers, koi, and Hannya

his neck done, because it’s visible no matter what he’s wearing.

masks, which portray the spirits of dead jealous women, back

“Some kids turn 18 and want their neck, hands, or face tattooed,”

to haunt their lovers. The figures are usually embellished with

he says. “I won’t do that. It would limit their life choices. I got

stylized waves and flowers.

my neck tattooed after buying my house—I felt I’d earned it.”


Florendo, in the black T-shirt, outside his shop with nine of his clients.

His own tattoos reflect the aesthetic, too. His back piece,

became a badge of honor for the yakuza, the Japanese mafia.

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Figuring that it would never go out of style, Florendo

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above left : Serpica in her shop,

Magie Serpica Illustration ’07 Co-owner, Milk and Honey Tattoo, Staten Island

Milk and Honey Tattoo. above : Serpica’s work on fellow alumna Christine Gibbons, Fine Arts ’97.

Years of experience: 11 Specialty: Portraiture and cover-ups


onsidering that Magie Serpica’s father is fully “sleeved out”—both arms are covered in tattoos—it wasn’t a surprise when she wanted a tattoo as a teenager. In 1997, the year the New York City Department of Health ban was lifted, her father

took her to get her first one. The new freedom in New York seemed to trigger, or coincide with, a revolution in the entire industry. “There was an influx of tattoo magazines, and you saw people putting things on skin that had never been seen before,” she remembers. “Companies were manufacturing new inks and needles, and artists were playing with texture and color. It’s all because of legalization.” While she was at FIT, a friend of her father’s taught her to tattoo, and she picked up the rest with practice. After befriending another female tattoo artist at Victor Modafferi’s Bullseye Tattoos, the two women opened Milk and Honey Tattoo to give themselves security and flexibility. The welcoming space, housed in a former barbershop, is painted in bright colors and gets fantastic light. They also use the studio for art shows. Cover-ups are a major part of Serpica’s business. It’s not usually about fixing drunken mistakes; tattoos naturally fade and blur with age, and they can be damaged by the sun. Also, a 20-year-old tattoo might not represent someone’s values anymore. Serpica creates a new design based on the contours of the original, leaving as much untattooed skin as possible to make the colors pop. She also gets a lot of business from women. “They often like to come to female artists. They feel more comfortable exposing their body, and they trust me.”

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Victor Modafferi Illustration ’94 Owner, Bullseye Tattoos, Staten Island Years of experience: 6 Specialty: Black-and-gray realism with religious themes


ome tattoo artists get into the business because they can’t imagine doing anything else. But Victor Modafferi’s entrée into tattooing came almost by accident. In 2000, when he was struggling to survive as an illustrator, a former FIT classmate

showed him how to make money drawing and selling tattoo flash to New York parlors. Together they signed licensing deals for stickers and Bic lighters, and their website,, became a huge sales engine. In 2006, his friend Shane O’Neill (who won the first season of Ink Master) suggested he try working on skin. “I underestimated how hard it is,” Modafferi says. “All the principles of art still apply, but there’s a steep learning curve. Try to paint when someone’s moving the canvas on you!” Now he oversees four staff artists at his in-demand Staten Island shop, Bullseye Tattoos. His pieces are as subtly shaded as pencil drawings yet bold enough to command attention. “I like it to look good from a foot away and ten feet,” he says.


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Chris Torres Illustration ’97 Co-owner, Chris Torres’ Red Legged Devils Studio, Brooklyn Years of experience: 17 Specialty: American traditional and lettering


hris Torres’s influences are as wide-ranging as comic books and Renaissance painters, from pinup girls to Picasso. “I might do a sailor tattoo but add a light source,” he says. “Or a koi with dimension.”

In 2011, a friend at a casting agency suggested that the Brooklyn-born Torres audition for NY Ink, a show about a tattoo shop in the Lower East Side. Thanks to his big personality and camera-ready looks, he made the cut. But he didn’t get along with the shop’s owner and was fired during the first season. Worse, he felt that the show made him out to be a villain. He tries to look on the bright side. “It was one of the most negative experiences of my life,” he says, “but I got paid a lot of money, and my name is now synonymous with New York City and tattooing. I take the good with the bad.” Torres has seen his share of both. In the mid-’90s, when he was trying to break into the business, his neighbor Tim introduced him to a Brooklyn tattooist who, it was rumored, made $1,500 a night. Trying to scare him away from a highly competitive industry, the tattooist pulled open a drawer, revealing a .25 pistol and said, “I’d use it on you too if Timmy didn’t bring you in.” The experience didn’t deter him. While studying at FIT, Torres read everything he could find about tattooing and practiced on friends for eight months in his parents’ basement. Then he went back to the shop where he got his first tattoo and was promptly hired. He bought the shop, Alphabet City Studios, two years later. Though he developed a steady clientele, he was a better artist than accountant, and he closed the shop six years later. But the story has a happy ending. He recently leased a new space next to the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, with space for eight or nine artists. He believes that when it opens

opposite : Modafferi has inked likenesses of Marilyn

in December, it will be the largest tattoo studio in New York. 

Monroe and Tenax Vitae , a sculpture by Rinaldo Carnielo. top left : Torres flaunts his Brooklyn pride. other images : Swallows, skulls, roses, and praying hands figure prominently in Torres’s work.

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I’ll Be Your r Mirror With her unerring fashion sense, stylist Leslie Fremar, Fashion Merchandising Management ’99, dresses the A-list

By Alex Joseph Portrait by Romer Pedron ’09 Hair and makeup: Yasmina Smith

Leslie Fremar wears Birkenstocks. That’s right: The woman The Hollywood Reporter named Most Powerful Stylist of 2013; the

to New York. She enrolled at FIT. Faculty counseled

woman who puts OMG dresses, swoony shoes, and

her to become a buyer, but she chose an internship

bespoke jewelry on the likes of Charlize, Julianne,

at Harper’s Bazaar. There, an FIT alum alerted

Reese, and Scarlett; this woman, Leslie Fremar,

her to a position at Vogue, assisting Anna Wintour.

might—just might—have a crunchy-granola side. In her gorgeous Tribeca apartment, she’s curled

thought that must be something really fabulous.”

ing her beginnings. Born in Toronto, she was

(It’s actually a sightseeing cruise around the island

destined for New York. “Fashion was always a part

of Manhattan, popular with tourists.) “I was

of me,” she says. “Even as a kid, if we went shop-

running around like a chicken with no head,

ping, I could spot the craftsmanship in a garment.”

saying, ‘What’s the Circle Line?’ At that moment,

Flare and modeled a little while getting a BA in

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“I didn’t know anything,” Fremar says. “Anna said, ‘Book me tickets on the Circle Line,’ and I

up on the couch in socks and owlish glasses, discuss-

She interned at Canadian fashion magazine


When her sister was interning at the Guggenheim, Fremar saw an opportunity to move

I felt like an outsider.” It was one of many Devil Wears Prada moments.

philosophy from Western University. Philosophy?

In fact, there’s a persistent rumor that the charac-

“That’s where the Birkenstocks come in,” she says.

ter played by Emily Blunt in the movie is based

She considers the pair parked beside the sofa. “I’ve

on her. At any rate, for her the job was a godsend.

worn that style since high school.”

“I found out who all the players were—designers,

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stylists, photographers, celebrities’ assistants,”

Reese Witherspoon in Louis Vuitton, Oscars 2013

she says. Vogue was starting to feature more celebrities,

“Originally it had an Empire waist but Reese is too petite for that. The cups were black but we covered it with blue and left the banding. She’d just had a baby. I think she looks pretty damn good.”

and the change suited her. “They have strong opinions. I have strong opinions,” she says, her steady gaze underscoring the point. “It’s not like working with a model.” The work was good preparation for her next gig, styling A-listers as the director of VIP relations for Prada. “Brands started to realize how important it is to work with celebrities,” she says. “I loved Prada. But I didn’t want to be loyal to one brand. I wanted to put my own spin on it.” She worked with Salma Hayek, and the star’s manager recommended Fremar to Julianne Moore. Soon after, Fremar struck out on her own. One major perk of Fremar’s status is that she works closely with some of the best designers in the world—Jason Wu, Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, Raf Simons at Dior. At Oscar time, they send Fremar sketches to pitch ideas for particular clients. Fremar shows the first draft to the celebrity and offers a critique. “I’ll say to my client, ‘That’s a

Maggie Gyllenhaal in Roland Mouret, Golden Globes 2010

beautiful idea, but…’ Sometimes [the client] just can’t visualize it like I can.” Tweaks follow, then more tweaks. “Designers are really open to collab-

Sometimes, the stylist’s job is less about crafting a designer’s vision into a suitable look than intuiting the star’s individual style, and providing the perfect solution in the nick of time: “She decided to go at the last moment. I said, ‘I have this Roland Mouret dress, and you’re going to wear it. It’s perfect.’ And she put it on, and it was perfect.”

orating,” Fremar says. “They want everyone to be happy.” Los Angeles can be stressful during Oscar season. “There’s so much critiquing in the media, it does put the pressure on. I’m lucky because I love all my clients, so it’s like getting them ready for a wedding.” There’s more to life than the red carpet. Fremar insists that any woman can look stylish, which is why she’s a brand ambassador for T.J. Maxx. She assembles looks from the store for magazine editorials and in-store events. “You’d be surprised what people wear, even very stylish people. It’s not all designer,” she says. Her life’s not all glam, either. With her partner, Jordan Lupu, Fremar’s busy raising two sons, Jonah, 3, and Leo, 10 months. She describes a whirlwind morning in which she dressed the boys as Spider-Man and Superman and took them to the park, while planning to cook for a ten-person dinner party and simultaneously arranging a Fashion Week celebration with Julianne Moore. “I don’t know how she does it,” laughs Fremar’s assistant, Molly. Fremar replies, “The gym helps.”

Charlize Theron in Dior, Oscars 2013

Julianne Moore in Dior by Raf Simons, Emmys 2012 “The yellow was her idea. She spotted it in the line and said, ‘What about that one?’ I said, ‘Really? It’s just so out there.’ They remade the sweater in a thicker gauge so it was less sheer, and we built a corset underneath. Anyone will make her anything. She’s amazing.”

“Raf [Simons] made two different tops—originally this had spaghetti straps with a deep V-neck, but they took all the pieces apart and switched it around. Charlize said, ‘I really think we should use the bustier.’ We do a lot of V-neck because she’s got broad shoulders and it draws the eye in. She works with a makeup artist and a hair person. We all have a meeting as a team. The last look she wore at the Golden Globes was so feminine, we wanted something stronger.”

For the moment, though, the apartment is calm, styled in a delicious array of earth tones by All images this page: Corbis

Moore herself. (She designs interiors as a hobby.) Fremar says, “To be a great stylist, you need good taste, you need to be creative, but it’s also about being good with people, and knowing how to run a business.” For a moment she seems, well, philosophical. “It’s all about that balance.”

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The Perfect Fit

Myra Manning Goldick, Fashion Illustration, Millinery

Kurt Chang, Production Management: Textiles ’93

is a motivational author, public speaker, and painter, in Palm Beach County, FL. She hosts two internet radio shows, Never Say Impossible and Dancing on Our Disabilities. Her next book, which she describes as “a guide to happiness,” will come out in five installments in 2014. Goldick, who has battled Post-Polio Syndrome for most of her life, believes that happiness is a learned process. As she puts it, “Have you ever heard of a baby popping into this world laughing?”

news from your classmates

Certificate ’96,

Goldick’s “The Eye” painting on a recent book cover.


solution was full body scanners of the kind used in airports; computer-determined measurements would let consumers order custom-fit clothing, and the sizing question would become moot. In the ’90s, Chang raised $6 million to start a business that would put body scanners in malls, but when the dotcom bubble burst, his funding drained away. Chang shows off his MyBodyScanner software.

Body scanners simply weren’t going to

work in the way he’d envisioned. A study showed that it would require 600 scanners to cover the U.S. market, and no clothing company was going to make that investment without demonstrated consumer demand. He took a job in quality assurance at Coach but never gave up on the dream of computerized fitting. Finally, he realized that the perfect solution was essentially free: a digital camera. of a body from two photographs, one frontal and one profile. Consumers upload their photos

has raised more than $30 million for breast cancer research through her charity, Play for P.I.N.K., which provides organizational services to more than 300 fundraising tournaments—golf, tennis, and other sports—nationwide. Every penny raised funds research. Neither she nor her board of directors has ever accepted a salary, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which handles the funds, doesn’t take a cut, either.

at his just-launched website,, and the software extracts 3D digital patterns


“By cutting out the middlemen, consumers can pay ready-to-wear prices for custom-


is associate dean of Smith College in Northampton, MA, responsible for academic advising, with a focus on studying abroad. She also teaches comparative literature. Before she entered academia, she produced and sold small runs of sweaters and designed knitting patterns for magazines. In her spare time, she runs a knitting group at the local library. Margaret Bruzelius, Fashion Design,

Liz Cutsinger Bushong,

is an author, chef, and TV personality who teaches women the art of home decoration and entertaining. Her trademark “sassyscapes” are A “sassyscape” by Bushong. elegant, easy-tomake tablescapes. Her cookbooks, Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories, “turn dessert into the fifth basic food group.” She has also been one of 100 volunteer designers selected to decorate the White House for the holidays. In 2010, she helped decorate the tree and mantel in the China Room, where the White House gingerbread mansion is assembled. Fashion Design,

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industry. Kurt Chang used to believe that the

Chang designed and patented software called MyBodyScanner that creates a 3D avatar

Laura Berger Lassman, Fashion Buying and


Proper fit has long challenged the fashion

from the avatar, then flattens them into 2D pattern pieces that reflect each person’s unique body shape. Once that’s done, customers can order perfect-fitting jeans, blouses, and cocktail dresses, designed and custom sewn by his partner factory in China. Prices are less than typical tailor-made clothes: a pair of jeans costs $159. Chang plans to market the service virally once the testing phase ends this fall. His next step is to expand the reach of his software. Whereas offers custom-fit clothing from one factory, is his marketplace, in development, that lets U.S. customers purchase custom clothing directly from myriad overseas factories, implementing his body-scanning program. The site also offers a money-back guarantee. made garments,” Chang says. “It took a few extra years to get to it, but we finally got there.”

1988 Deborah LaPearl Clark, Fashion Design, Haute

Diane Shewchuk, MA Museum Studies: Applied

Couture Certificate ’04 , created the Obama Legacy Coin to honor our nation’s 44th president, and handed them out to VIPs at his second inaugural ball. “In the ’60s, I dreamed there’d be an African-American president,” she recalls. “When I saw a picture of Obama the senator, I knew he was the one.” She is a freelance design director for jewelry company Lucoral and is helping launch a line of T-shirts and hats that light up to the beat of music. She also volunteers in FIT’s Academic Skills Tutoring Center.

Arts, is

LaPearl Clark’s Obama Legacy Coins.

director and curator of the Columbia County Historical Society in Kinderhook, NY. The current exhibition, Civil War Panorama: Columbia County 1860-1865, tells the stories of ten of the 2,738 soldiers from the county through primary sources, such as a soldier’s love letters written to a classmate and a steamboat captain’s diary of his struggles to bring his son’s body home. The exhibit also features a letter signed by President Lincoln. A Civil War–era printed cotton sign protesting slavery.

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A New Leaf

Tawnya Warren, Accessories Design, Marketing: Fashion and

Amy Hamberry, Illustration ’03

sells her line of heirloom jewelry, called Zoe, exclusively through Barneys New York. The understated, vintage-inspired designs combine large, brooding stones—mostly champagne and cognac diamonds—with micro-pavé diamonds set in oxidized platinum. Warren finds that customers buy the pieces more for themselves than as gifts.

Related Industries ’92,

On a hot summer day at The Kale Factory, dehumidifiers whir overhead as several workers massage a mixture of nuts and seasonings onto perfectly lacy leaves of kale. Trays of the leaves are then placed in a custom-built, walk-in dehydrator. The newly expanded factory can produce up to 1,500 tubs of chips each day, but that’s still not enough to satisfy the formidable demand. Amy Hamberry, co-owner of the company, never set out to become a healthHannah Whitaker/New York Magazine

Opaque and champagne diamonds set in oxidized platinum with white diamond pavé, $15,950.


is a graphic designer, art director, and fine artist who recently moved from New York to Los Angeles. His photographic portraits of abandoned bicycles in various states of dismantlement or embellishment resulted in two books, New York Bikes and Venice Bikes. “I’m from Europe,” he says, “and I never saw this kind of lawless urban disarray in a public space until I moved to New York.”

Michele Castagnetti, Advertising Design,

The cover of Venice Bikes.

Hamberry and her kale chips.

food entrepreneur. Raised by a single mother in Park Slope, she didn’t even eat healthfully. “I never cooked, my mom never cooked—I grew up on the standard American diet,” she says. “Bagels, shepherd’s pie, and junk food.” But as an adult, Hamberry, who also illustrates children’s books and used to

teach kindergarten, started to become interested in healthy eating. “It was probably out of desperation,” she says. “I was always tired, always had a little extra weight to take off, and it just wasn’t coming off by exercising.” One day she stopped by a Park Slope health-food store called New York Naturals to buy some fresh juice and met Joe Orr, the owner. “Angels started singing,” Orr says with a smile. The two got married, and Hamberry began helping out in the store. At the time they were selling kale chips made in California; they wanted to switch to a local brand but couldn’t find one. So Hamberry did some online research and taste-testing, tweaked a recipe she liked, and started making the chips and selling them under the name New York Naturals. The chips were a major hit while overall sales were declining, so Hamberry and Orr closed the store and created The Kale Factory, an umbrella company that makes the New York Naturals brand (and none other at the moment). They came up with four new flavors— including Bombay Ranch and Spicy Miso—again by experimenting with recipes found

facilitates cultural exchange through printmaking, between children in New York and in developing countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, and Bolivia, as well as on Native American reservations. She makes three postcard-size prints from each child’s design, one for the budding artist to keep, one to give to a child across the world (or on a reservation), and one to sell at an annual art show in New York to benefit the villages she visits. Nancy Gialella Quin, Restoration,

online. Hamberry designed labels for the boxes and did the marketing; Orr handled the day-to-day factory operations. Kale chips must be made from whole leaves with enough crinkles to hold seasoning and create a satisfying crunch. From the beginning, the two found themselves throwing away whole shipments of flat kale. So they came up with ways to use the imperfect leaves, including Greenola (a sweet combination of kale bits, fruit, and nuts or seeds) and kale powder (for adding a green boost to smoothies). They also work with local farmers to source the perfect leaves. “We would eventually like to have our own farm,” Hamberry says. “That would be a dream come true.” —Christy Harrison


“Follow the Cards” from Occupy Comics, Issue #3, illustrated by Reynoso.

is a cartoonist with a natural, expressive style. Recently, he drew a four-page comic in Occupy Comics, an anthological series about Occupy Wall Street that included entries from Alan Moore (Watchmen) and Art Spiegelman (Maus). Most of his work isn’t overtly political: his most recent project is a humorous piece that follows two siblings in the ’70s trying to stop an alien invasion. “Comics is a medium, not a genre,” he says. “The public thinks it’s all superheroes, but we can draw anything.” Frank Reynoso, Fine Arts,

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JOHN GAGLIANO, ILLUSTRATION, is co-owner and art director of the menswear brand Unruly Heir, “a bad-boy spin on preppy idealism,” sold in Bloomingdale’s and elsewhere. For spring 2014, the theme is American soldiers in Vietnam; the runway show began with a ten-minute reenactment of the final scene in Rushmore, in which the Jason Schwartzman character puts on a play about the Vietnam War. Gagliano, also a freelance illustrator, is compiling a book of drawings he made while working part-time in an off-track betting parlor.

L’Unruly Après Ski Flannel, fall 2013, $148.

BABY STEPS LEAH DUMIGAN, TOY DESIGN ’07 Leah Dumigan is supervising two major undertakings. One is her baby girl named—ahem—Hue, born in 2012. The second is Floor 4 Projects, a babytoy company that’s also in its infancy. Hue came about in the usual way. Floor 4 came about while Dumigan was working as a designer for Simply Fido, a dog-toy company. She started designing high-contrast pillows Sara Krulwich/The New York Times/Redux

news from your classmates


Dumigan sits atop her egg-shaped playmat with baby Hue.

see complex shapes. It was 2010, while the economy was still struggling, and a friend suggested she print humorous Depression-era sandwich boards for the pillow animals to wear. “The deeper narrative was for the

parents,” she explains. “With most products, you’re selling it to the person it’s intended for. Not with baby toys.”


chart with drawings of animal faces instead of letters, to be sold separately for the wall of

TreOrra, a customs brokerage and freight forwarder. She is licensed to clear other companies’ cargo into the U.S., collecting tariffs and keeping an eye out for counterfeit goods and hazardous materials. Her service is similar to FedEx, except her clients—food companies and fashion labels—fill ocean containers with their cargo and demand more control over how and when products are shipped.



cofounder, along with James Desantis (see 2013), of the Yantra Group, known for designing Attaboy, a Lower East Side speakeasy named one of Playboy’s best bars this year. Brasier has also renovated and styled homes for Genevieve Gorder’s HGTV shows and now draws up plans for Restaurant Divided, a new show on the Food Network featuring chef Rocco DiSpirito in which a struggling restaurant tries out two interior design projects to find out which is more successful.

Printing would be less expensive with a larger order, so she also designed a silly eye a child’s room or nursery. She submitted the eye chart to a design competition held by the Museum of Modern Art and scored a meeting with the store’s buyers—a week before she gave birth to Hue. Besides the pillows and eye chart, MoMA accepted two other toys: a stool with a seat shaped like a button and a fried-egg-shaped baby playmat that makes a crinkling sound when you touch it. Both were inspired by Claes Oldenburg’s larger-than-life sculptures of everyday objects. Considering that MoMA fielded 1,000 submissions for just 200 product slots, her accomplishment was a major one. But Dumigan quickly found that producing the toys was much harder than designing them. At first she fabricated everything in her home. When she started selling enough to require a factory, a bag of pillows came back looking sloppy, and a sample of the Button Stool was put together with industrial-looking hardware. “We gasped when we saw it.” She is now focusing on ramping up sales. The toys continue to move at MoMA, and she is working to find other online retail channels. Next summer, she hopes to show a small line at the New York International Gift Fair to get her product into more stores. And some of her work was selected to be sold in Story, a hot retailer in Chelsea. Her successes have been sweet. When a family friend bought one of her pillows, she says, “It was the first time his son ever laughed. That was a really nice feeling.”





is a compliance officer for the Textile Flammability Team in the Regulatory Enforcement Division of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. She enforces flammability standards for “general wearing apparel” and children’s sleepwear under the Flammable Fabrics Act passed in 1953. Children’s sleepwear, for example, must be flame-resistant and self-extinguishing, unless it is tight-fitting.


The interior of Attaboy.

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eyesight isn’t developed enough to



shaped like animals for babies, whose

runs the Yantra Group with Melissa Brasier (see 2011). For a blow-dry bar in tony Summit, NJ, the pair evoked Hollywood Regency style but added masculine touches, such as pickled wood flooring and bronze chandeliers. “It’s more Cary Grant than Marilyn Monroe,” he explains. Other projects include a two-story restaurant in Port Chester, NY, created by the owners of Attaboy, and a nightclub on Bleecker Street in Manhattan.

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12/20/13 11:50 AM

sources of inspiration

Track Changes Lakisha “Kilo Kish” Robinson Textile/Surface Design ’12

When I’m looking at visual art, I often like the pre-drawing or the underpainting more than the actual painting. But when you listen to music, you only hear the finished product—there’s no inbetween. I always want to know how the artist got there. That searching and working your way through something is really beautiful to me.

I wanted my last album, K+, to be about the

process of making an album. I wanted to highlight all the screw-ups and all the drafting that go into making a completed body of work. I saved email correspondence with my management and Skype conversations with friends and all the feedback on my songs. When I was writing lyrics, I incorporated some of those conversations. Also, in most of the songs, the original demo track that I made in my bedroom is tucked under in the final recording. If you listen closely, you can hear all these little mistakes from along the way. They’re super soft, but they’re still in the track. Kilo Kish is a rapper/singer who has been the subject of profiles in Complex magazine, The New York Times, and the Village Voice. K+ can be downloaded for free at or She plans to release an EP in early 2014.

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227 West 27 Street New York, NY 10001-5992 return service requested

Smilijana Peros

Passersby on Seventh Avenue were amazed by the work of 60 Illustration students who chalked murals onto the Pomerantz Center facade. Chalk! FIT took place in late October.

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Hue Fall 2013  

volume 7 | number 1

Hue Fall 2013  

volume 7 | number 1