Page 1

Alumni Magazine of the Fashion Institute of Technology

volume 2 | number 1 | fall 2008


Departments

2 The Ask Tell us, shoppers, your best (or worst) experience

Features

6 Show Me the Bunny Playboy’s Aaron Duncan ’94 explains why this rabbit is rich 8 Faculty Portfolio Five Art and Design teachers share their unique visions 14

Going for Brocade Lisa Versacio ’81 furnishes Hue with a great story

16 To Die For A gothic portfolio by Roxanne Lowit ’64 is a dark victory 24 Adding Smart to Art Debut of an online art history “textbook”

4 Hue’s News Recent developments at and related to FIT 13 27/7 Question asked on West 27th: What would you have for your last meal? 23 Artifact One gothic gown that’s bloody gorgeous 25 I Contact This Home Products Development student doesn’t just blend in 28

Alumni Notes Find out what your classmates are up to

31 Sparks Cheetah Girls author Deborah Gregory ’76 likes her fashion fierce covers: front Anastasiya Karter in 18th-

24

Trading Spaces New teaching facilities to open

26 The Revolutionary Costume Crazy? Maybe. But Grey Gardens continues to fascinate

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 Advancement and External Relations, Seventh Alumni Magazine of the Fashion Institute of Technology

Avenue at 27 Street, Room B905, New York City  10001-5992, 212 217.4700. Email: hue@fitnyc.edu

volume 2 | number 1 | fall 2008

Address letters to the editor, Hue Magazine. 

century-inspired gown made of recycled materials by Leonid Gurevich, Fashion Design ’04. Necklace by Michael Spirito, Jewelry Design ’95 and Advertising Design ’93. back Laura Mina, Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice ’10, in Body Worship corset and synthetic wig with Pellon ruffled skirt draped as a hat, by Gurevich.

Vice President for Advancement and External Relations Loretta Lawrence Keane Assistant Vice President for Communications Carol Leven

Editor Linda Angrilli Managing Editor Alex Joseph Staff Writer Greg Herbowy Editorial Assistant Vanessa Machir Art Direction and Design Empire Design Studio

Hue magazine on the web: fitnyc.edu/hue  

2


Letter from the Editor Ever since we unveiled Hue last year, we’ve been hearing from many of you who are excited about the magazine. While we plan to keep doing what alumni magazines do—cover college news and stellar graduates—we also want to try new directions, offering opportunities for all of you to work together and be inspired by each other. We want Hue, like FIT, to be a place for our community to share ideas and get involved in creative projects. We know of no other alumni magazine that does this, so we’re taking Hue into uncharted territory—exactly where it should be. Take our cover story, “To Die For,” which celebrates The Museum at FIT’s trendsetting exhibition, Gothic: Dark Glamour. Instead of just reporting on the show, we brought together alumni, students, and the museum for a series of images by noted fashion and celebrity photographer Roxanne Lowit ’64. The photos are cool. But the spirit of collaboration behind them is even cooler. As you read this issue, we hope you’ll be thinking of imaginative ways to get involved with Hue and your fellow alumni. After all, Hue is for and about you. Some of it should be by you as well.

Linda Angrilli

Sitings

On FIT’s website, www.fitnyc.edu, and elsewhere online

Go to fitnyc.edu/hue to answer The Ask, tell us what inspires you (Sparks),

Continuing and Professional Studies: fitnyc.edu/continuinged

or update your alumni info.

FIT job openings: fitnyc.edu/jobs Gallery of student work: fitnyc.edu/studentgalleries Gladys Marcus Library: fitnyc.edu/library The Museum at FIT: fitnyc.edu/museum To view videos about the college, go to: youtube.com/aboutfit Email the FIT Alumni Association: vicki_guranowski@fitnyc.edu

www.fitnyc.edu/hue

3


FIT’s Newest, Largest Residence Hall Dedicated

“A shopping bag is a walking

In the last issue, we asked: How does your life now compare to what you envisioned when you were at FIT?

What was your best (or worst) shopping experience— either in a store or online?

Mazzotta, vice president of sales and marketing services at Elizabeth Arden. “If the design and execution are appealing enough, a woman will carry it with her everywhere

Design, chaired by Associate Professor Brenda Cowan, on a

christened George and Mariana

student competition to create a

Kaufman Hall. An FIT Board of

holiday-themed shopping bag for

Trustees member since 1982, George

the retailer’s newly reopened

Kaufman, a real-estate developer,

flagship Fifth Avenue store. The

acted as an advisor on the building’s

winning design, by Chen Lin He

acquisition. He and his wife, Mariana,

(also an Interior Design BFA ’06

are longtime friends of the college.

grad), depicts the store’s façade on

a wintry day.

Opened to students in fall 2006,

Kaufman Hall is FIT’s fourth

residential building and, with a

showing of their designs in the

capacity of 1,100, its largest.

store this past May; all entries

Architects, community board

remained on display for two weeks

representatives, and Dormitory

thereafter. In addition to having his

Authority of the State of New York

winning design produced, He

officials—all of whom worked

received $5,000 to attend the

together on the project—joined the

exclusive Gravity Free Design

Kaufmans, Board of Trustees

Innovation Conference in Chicago

members, and President Joyce F.

next June. “Every young designer

Brown for the ceremony, which

dreams of attending,” he says.

included an unveiling of a plaque

“Thanks to this competition, I will

honoring the couple.

experience this dream.”

Students looking to hone their written communication skills have a new resource at FIT—the School of Liberal Arts’s Writing Center, Scott Stoddart, dean for Liberal Arts,

or send it to the Editors at Hue Magazine.

and directed by Brian Fallon, former

FIT, Footwear News, Nine West Choose

assistant director of the writing center at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the center offers consulting resources for faculty.

hue | fall 2008

Students were feted at a private

School of Liberal Arts Opens Writing Center

and workshops for students, and

4

graduate program in Exhibition

hall at 406 West 31st Street was

Email your story to hue@fitnyc.edu,

in a future issue, and may be edited for clarity and content.

partnered last spring with FIT’s

On September 25, FIT’s residence

opened this fall. Established by Dr.

Submissions will be considered for publication

she goes.” With this in mind, Arden

Jusil Carroll’s winning design.

Jerry Speier

At FIT, I had visions of working for a major department store, then opening a boutique and traveling all over the world on exotic buying trips. I started working in advertising right after graduation. I didn’t do much exotic travel, but I learned a lot. Ten years later, I burned out and became a massage therapist. While other therapists struggled to create a niche for themselves, I had branding, marketing, everything. Since then, my husband and I have started a barter exchange. What I learned at FIT has made our business a major success. – catherine napoli- cohen, marketing: fashion and related industries ’86, fashion buying and merchandising ’84

advertisement,” says Mary Beth

Laura Lou Levy

I thought I’d still be living in the fashion mecca of New York City. I graduated in December 2001, a difficult time for a new college graduate. I’d interned at Harper’s Bazaar and was offered a position upon graduation, but it fell through. I returned home devastated and not sure what to do. The good news is I found a job immediately in Washington, DC, as a contractor for the U.S. Coast Guard, supporting an admiral. Talk about a night-and-day change from Harper’s Bazaar! What made me laugh was that the admiral was familiar with FIT, and hired me because of its reputation. I now work for a defense contractor as a corporate marketing communications manager. It’s a completely different industry than what I thought I’d be in, but the knowledge and skills I developed at FIT helped me climb the ladder quickly. – melissa nelson, advertising and marketing communications ’01, fashion merchandising management ’00

Grad Student Designs Arden’s Holiday Shopping Bag


Patternmaking Certificate Program Launches

Last November, Accessories Design

This fall, FIT began offering a

and Fabrication students were

five-course evening and weekend

invited to take part in Shoe Star, an

certificate program in Pattern-

eight-month shoe design competi-

making. Formerly an AAS degree

tion sponsored by Footwear News

program of the Jay and Patty Baker

and Nine West. From the initial

School of Business and Technology,

field of 29 FIT student applicants,

the curriculum shed its liberal arts

seven finalists were chosen and

requirements, making a pattern-

winnowed over a series of six

making specialization more

challenges until, this June, Melanie

accessible to both interested

Maggio ’08 stood alone. Her prize:

students and working professionals.

a $50,000, yearlong internship with

Robert Vassalotti, associate professor

Nine West plus a guaranteed

of Fashion Merchandising

signing bonus should they hire her

Management, is serving as acting

full time.

coordinator of the program.

The ‘cover’ page for this summer’s issue of Museo, designed by Jasper Pope.

The Museum at FIT Unveils Online Collection

History of Art Professor Edits Online Art Magazine

came with its own guest judge to

This summer, The Museum at FIT

“A lot of artists feel a distance from

supplement the team of Ellen

debuted its latest accessory—a

mainstream, or critic-based, art

searchable online database of more

magazines,” says David Shapiro, a

than 350 of its holdings. Made

History of Art and Civilization

possible by a $25,000 grant from the

adjunct faculty member. “They’re

National Endowment for the Arts,

not really rooted in the studio

the online collection project was

reality.” Shapiro aims to bridge this

Even those well acquainted with

overseen by Tamsen Schwartzman,

divide with Museo (museomaga-

FIT might be surprised to hear that

museum media manager, and

zine.com), his online contemporary

tennis is among the many pursuits

created by Gallery Systems, a

visual arts quarterly, which

its faculty and students excel at.

content-management company

released its third issue this fall. A

Fortunately, the National Junior

whose clients include New York’s

revamp of a printed annual that ran

College Athletics Association has

Metropolitan Museum of Art and

1997–2004 (which Shapiro also

been paying attention: This May, at

Museum of Modern Art. Special

edited), the relaunched Museo

their national championships in

features include Zoomify, which

capitalizes on its new-media format

Tucson, AZ, retired coach Lenny

allows the user to view images up

with an emphasis on “primary-

Rapkin was inducted into the

close, in superior resolution. “Since

source documents”—high-quality

NJCAA Women’s Tennis Hall of

August,” Schwartzman says, “we’ve

images and video of artists’

Fame. Rapkin’s coaching career,

received more than 2,000 unique

work—and on interviews rather

which ended in 2004, spanned

visitors from 58 different countries.”

than the more traditional essays

nearly 20 years. He coached both

and reviews.

the men’s and women’s teams,

visited at fashionmuseum.fitnyc.edu.

what’s happening on campus

FIT, FN, Nine West Choose Next “Shoe Star”

Each Shoe Star challenge posed

a different design hurdle, and each

Goldstein, Accessories Design chair; Michael Atmore, Footwear News editor in chief; and Fred Allard, Nine West creative director.

Former Tennis Coach Inducted into NJCAA Hall of Fame

Challenges included designing “green,” designing for the red carpet, and designing a full collection; guest judges included designers Mark Badgley, James Mischka, and Steve Madden and stylist Patricia Fields. The contest was covered in Footwear News, and videos of the challenges were aired on the websites of the publication and Nine West, and on BravoTV.com. A second Shoe Star contest is now under way.

The online collection may be

championship. In 2002, his women’s team placed second in the

Shapiro has enlisted fellow

History of Art faculty as contribu-

accruing eight regional titles and one men’s individual national

The MFIT Online Collection is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

tors, including Chad Laird, Shana Lindsay, and the department chair, Richard Turnbull. Interview

nationals. A longtime Health and

subjects have included artists

Physical Education faculty member,

Vanessa Beecroft, Tanyth Berkeley,

Rapkin also taught the sport.

and, in the current issue, Omer Fast, winner of the 2008 Whitney

Maggio’s “Modern Art” wedge.

Biennial’s Bucksbaum Award. This December, Museo will be an exhibitor at the New Art Dealers Alliance Art Fair in Miami.

www.fitnyc.edu/hue

5


Products with Playboy’s rabbit logo earn $850 million a year. Aaron Duncan, Menswear ’94, tells how it’s done

The magazine is a touchstone for the products, and Duncan searches old issues for inspiration. T-shirt graphics evolve from old Playboy covers. (Note the bunny logo reflected in the water.)

Novel Graphics

The logo appears in some form on all branded merchandise, from T-shirts to jewelry to dog dishes. It’s recognizable even in part—the ears are on the back pocket of women’s jeans, the bow tie on men’s. The full logo can’t be reversed, nor its proportions altered. It can, however, be camouflaged, as in the leopard print on the bra shown below.

The Rabbit

not the

hue centerfold


www.fitnyc.edu/hue

7

Portrait By Leif Zurmuhlen

old women. “Women are fascinated with Playboy,” Duncan says. “It’s a guilty pleasure for them. They don’t relate it to sex.” The Playboy Foundation fights for First Amendment rights, but the firm’s support of free speech, choice, and gay rights is probably not what draws women to the brand. “It just says ‘pop culture’ to them.” Soon after Playboy re-launched its product lines in 1999–2000, Sarah Jessica Parker wore a rabbit charm on Sex and the City. Her appeal helped the brand reach fashionable women. Each season, Duncan and his team of eight designers produce a look book, including a series of phrases to set the mood. Past buzzwords include “American dreamer,” “Eighties excess,” and “young and loaded.” Color choices follow, with an eye to what’s on-trend. At times, branding can be more abstract. In September, the company launched four men’s fragrances with city themes—Hollywood, Malibu, Las Vegas, and Miami. The packaging incorporates the logo, but how does something smell like Playboy? Duncan says, “When you spray it on, you feel like you’re relaxing at the mansion.” Even price is a branding consideration. To make the Playboy experience attainable for the young consumer as well as the mansion-dwelling magnate, products are available at different price points. The upscale Playboy Icon line offers a cocktail dress at $600 and menswear starting at $200. At the other end of the spectrum is merchandise licensed for the chain store Hot Topic, so everyone can afford Playboy’s idea of the good life.

70 percent of Playboy merchandise is bought by 18-to-25-year-

“We’re not a subtle brand,” says Aaron Duncan, who, as senior vice president and creative director of global licensing, develops branded fashion and accessories for Playboy Enterprises International. Few would disagree— and most would allow that the company is brilliant at extending its brand through its merchandise. Today, Playboy product licenses earn $850 million in retail sales and are sold in more than 150 countries. More than 150 firms manufacture Playboy products, and Duncan makes sure they understand the brand’s fun-loving, hedonistic image—and its limitations. Revealing lingerie, for example, is branded, but sex toys aren’t. “We’re a heritage brand. That means we have a history. The licensee has to understand that, and contemporize it without going over the line.” When Duncan was hired as design director ten years ago, he was charged with extending the brand into women’s. “We relied on Aaron’s strong sense of marketplace trends and consumer desires,” says Christie Hefner, chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (and daughter of founder Hugh Hefner). “He has a unique ability to translate the Playboy brand and iconography into products that appeal to smart, fashionable consumers worldwide.” His creativity, she adds, is limitless. The magazine, launched in 1953, appeals chiefly to men; but surprisingly,

Fuzzy dice, air fresheners, and other “trashy” items Playboy did in the ’70s were discontinued because they “cheapened the brand.” Also rejected: Paddles for fraternity hazing rituals, and branded sex toys: “We do sexy, but not sex.”

Flash, But No Trash

Playboy’s founder is a key reference point for the brand. “Hugh is the consummate entertainer. He stands for a fun, active lifestyle.” The Hef Peecol “action figure” is a collaboration with Kidrobot, noted creator of designer toys. A Hef bobblehead is also available.

Hefner, the Icon

Electric guitars and other “lifestyle” merchandise, like martini glasses, black satin bedding, and golf club covers, make the cut. But not paint: “The brand’s more suited to a dorm room than to home and furniture.”

The Playboy Lifestyle

Lingerie, sleepwear, cocktail dresses, and footwear for women; sportswear and underwear for men. No-nos: The Eddie Bauer-type look, or anything with a missy silhouette—“Not sexy enough,” Duncan says. And no skull-motif prints, even when trendy: “Playboy’s about life.”

Hot or Not


FIVE ART AND DESIGN FACULTY members TALK ABOUT THEIR WORK


Faculty Portfolio

Ken Collins To many, writer Larry Kramer is less known for the artistry of his work—which includes plays like The Normal Heart and the bestselling controversial novel Faggots—than he is for its outraged moralizing, and for his outspoken AIDS activism. Couple this reputation with his gruff mien, and a dead-on portrait of the man can seem less like a moment of fellowship with its viewers than it does an unkind appraisal of them. So when Ken Collins, instructor of Photography, shot Kramer at his Connecticut home, he took a counterintuitive tack, setting his subject in his pastoral, serene backyard and encouraging disengagement. “I told him to look away,” he says. “He has such a beautiful head, such a strong face. It’s a testament to his power that he doesn’t need his eyes to establish a presence.” Kramer (“Sweet as can be,” Collins says) not only obliged, he predicted the photo Collins would choose, marked with an X on the contact sheet shown here. “It was a thoughtful moment,” Collins says. “He’d retreated into his own world. After I took the picture he said, ‘That’s it. That’s your shot.’ He was right!” The photo appears in In Their Company (Umbrage, 2006), a collection of portraits and interviews of 62 American playwrights, by Collins and writer Victor Wishna. During the eight-year, self-funded endeavor, Collins—who’s shot for ArtNews, The New York Times, and Newsweek—accrued a near-encyclopedic list of subjects, including Edward Albee, Tony Kushner, Suzan-Lori Parks, and August Wilson. The book has received honors from the Independent Book Publishers Association, selected portraits were exhibited last winter at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and Craig Lucas, who’s featured, has praised its “strange melancholy.” An avid theater fan, Collins is considering a follow-up, on British playwrights. He sees a kinship between his field and his subjects’: “We work in opposite directions, but for the same purpose.” —Greg Herbowy

Oil on canvas, 72 x 72 inches

Harriet Korman The abstract paintings of Harriet Korman, who teaches in the Fine Arts Department, are far more than celebrations of color. Her compositions of intersecting shapes, filled in with dynamic hues, challenge viewers to adopt a whole new way of seeing. Her brilliant quadriptych, Can Be Joined Any Way (2002), takes this notion one step further. The piece comprises four square canvases that can be arranged in hundreds—if not thousands—of different ways. “I love how abstraction means different things to different people,” says the Forest Hills native. “My paintings are very philosophical that way. If someone purchased this painting, they could change it as frequently as they wanted to; they can participate.” Korman’s creative process is organic and improvisational. “I paint multiple pieces at a time, moving back and forth between them,” Korman says. “A painting has to grow. You change it, modify it. The best thing is when a surprise occurs. It happens all the time.” She has taught drawing and painting at FIT for nearly 20 years, which could be described as mutually beneficial: “Teaching makes you more immediate and more spontaneous—those things really help an artist,” she says. Her renown has continued to grow. She has appeared three times in the Whitney Museum of Art’s Biennial and once at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, and she showed her most recent work this year at Lennon, Weinberg, the Chelsea gallery that represents her. A review by Ken Johnson in The New York Times placed her work in the company of Klee, Miró, Kandinsky, and Mondrian. It concluded, “To sit and gaze at [her work] is to remember that one of art’s purposes—and not the least one—is visual pleasure.” —Dan Rubinstein

www.fitnyc.edu/hue

9


Faculty Portfolio

Steve Brodner “The face that politicians present to the public is a mask,” says Steve Brodner, a faculty member and thesis advisor in FIT’s graduate Illustration program. “Everyone knows it’s a mask. The mask is what political cartoons comment on. You’re never drawing the person; you’re drawing the persona.” So no offense, Bill Clinton, that Brodner turned you into a baboon for The New York Times. Don’t take it hard, John McCain, that Brodner’s depictions of you are, as the illustrator says, “becoming more and more like a potato.” And President George W. Bush, whom Brodner has caricatured as a hapless, Mickey Mouse apprentice (à la Fantasia), a man belching mushroom clouds, and one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? “I covered George Bush’s gubernatorial reelection campaign for Esquire and spent a lot of time with him,” Brodner says cheerily. “He was a very nice, affable guy.” Politicians have never hesitated to tar their opponents, and neither have their satirist contemporaries: Nuance rarely packs a punch in mass communications. And over his 30-plus-year career—which includes illustrations for

10

hue | fall 2008

Harper’s, Playboy, and Sports Illustrated; honors like the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism; and genre-benders like his recent “Naked Campaign,” a series of election-themed videos for the New Yorker and the Sundance Channel—Brodner has proven himself as nothing if not a masterful visual communicator. “To my students, I always frame it as ‘It works,’ or, ‘It doesn’t work,’” he says. “You’re making something that has a function.” Still, as he notes, the best illustrations transcend function, approaching the “beauty and ambiguity” of art. Take his piece above, “McCain Turns Out the Lights,” done earlier this year for a New Yorker feature on the death of conservatism. The squashed visages of that movement’s standard-bearers—William F. Buckley Jr., Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Newt Gingrich, Ronald Reagan, and Rush Limbaugh—make it clear that Brodner, an unabashed progressive, won’t mourn its passing into history. Yet the domestic, late-night setting invests the scene with pathos. If their beliefs don’t merit a second look, the illustrator seems to say, their humanity, at least, does. —Greg Herbowy


Faculty Portfolio

Dennis Lee For many designers working in the traditional wing of the decorative arts, artistic interpretation is unwelcome. But for veteran textile designer Dennis Lee, Interior Design ’78, true design doesn’t just copy the past; it reinvents it. Lee, an instructor of Fabric Styling and Textile/Surface Design, owns Tyler Hall, a 14-year-old boutique company in Hell’s Kitchen that produces whimsical traditional wallpapers and fabrics to the trade—all designed by hand— under its own label, as well as licensed work for renowned top-shelf brands. Among the firm’s clients are noted designers Mario Buatta, David Easton, and Matthew Patrick Smyth, Interior Design ’80. For each collection, Lee draws inspiration from a single locale. “I act as a new set of eyes examining a period of history or cultural capital,” he says. In the pattern Summertime, for his Vieux Carré collection, inspired by the American South, he deftly mixes eras and motifs synonymous with the region. Figures in dress of different periods cavort and lounge in idealized settings, painting “a romantic memoir” rather than an exact historical reproduction. “If I’m going to install wallpaper in my home, I don’t want anything dark,” Lee says. “I like things that are lighter and a little frothier.” While his designs are fanciful interpretations, Lee’s colorways are historically grounded, which makes them not just accurate, but commercially viable. “I aim to please myself when it comes to designs. But for colors, I have to think about the customer,” Lee says. “I’m not a beige person, but believe me, I make sure to include it as an option.” —Dan Rubinstein

www.fitnyc.edu/hue

11


Faculty Portfolio

Bil Donovan In an age where casual dress is the norm and not the exception, noted fashion illustrator and faculty member Bil Donovan is something of a throwback—and a proud one at that. “The age of elegance is gone,” Donovan laments. “There was a time when a woman wouldn’t dare to leave the house without makeup and the right gloves.” This old-school devotion to classic glamour led Donovan to illustrate a new adaptation of a book by legendary Hollywood costume designer and proto-stylist Edith Head. In The Dress Doctor: A Prescription for Style from A to Z, icons and themes of Head’s era are brought to life in vivid works, including this sultry Gloria Swanson rendered in brush and ink, inspired by her role in Sunset Boulevard. “Growing up in South Philadelphia— not exactly a capital of fashion—movies that featured [Head’s] work were my only outlet,” says the artist, who works in a variety of media, from graphite and acrylic to glitter and pastels. “These films were like Christmas presents. As a kid, after seeing all this glamour on screen, all I wanted to do was run home and draw what I had seen.” Donovan moved to New York at 19 and studied drawing and illustration all over the city, from the Art Students League to the School of Visual Arts, before receiving his AAS in Fashion Illustration at FIT in 1978. At 30, he spent time abroad in Milan and elsewhere—including a stint in Paris as a shoe designer. He added numerous enviable credits to his resume, which now includes Vogue, L’Uomo Vogue, and Italian Elle. He has taught at the college for 15 years. Donovan isn’t just an artist, but a budding scholar as well. He’s writing a textbook on fashion and lifestyle illustration to be published next year. And though fashion illustration may not be as prevalent as it once was, that didn’t stop the editors at InStyle magazine, who commissioned him to illustrate Meg Ryan wearing Calvin Klein for their October cover story. Edith, eat your heart out. —Dan Rubinstein

12

hue | fall 2008


What would you have for your last meal? I’m South African, so I’d choose African comfort food: steamed bread with lamb stew and beans. —Deliwe Kekana, administrative aide, Office of the President Is this my last meal because I’m dying of old age or because I’m on death row? I feel like that would affect my answer. But in all seriousness, I would gladly eat my mother’s Chinese chicken wings, my grandmother’s wontons, brown rice, southern style green

one question, many answers

We asked one question on campus and at fit events around town, to take the community’s pulse, as it were:

Filet mignon with mushroom risotto and roasted sweet potatoes… it would fill me up. —alexandra allinson, home products development ’09

A Corona or Presidente, with lime. And one lengua asada taco—that’s fried tongue. One lobster tail, one green papaya salad, one good budaechigae [soup]. And for dessert a piece of durian [fruit] and some flan. —Shaun Shishido, Toy Design ’10

beans, and ice cream. Hey, I’m going to die, I might as well be a bad vegetarian and enjoy some Chinese comfort food. —Kira Eng-Wilmot, Fashion and Textile Studies ’09

I’d have my grandma’s lasagna, made by her. Since she died eight years ago, I guess that means I won’t. —Vincent Sassone, film production and training specialist, IT

Pizza. I mean, we’re in New York–it’s the best pizza there is.

—Diandra Hansen, FMM ’11

Either Maryland blue crab or Chick-fil-A. I grew up on Maryland blue crab, and Chick-fil-A is the best fast food ever. —Deana Kapiskosky, AMC ’10

Ralph’s apple crumb pie sherbet, salmon with lemon pepper, key lime pie, coconut cake, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, broccoli, sweetened iced tea, water at room temperature, cranberry couscous, jalapeño hummus…

It would be at some fabulous locale, with a group of intimate friends. The restaurant at the InterContinental Hotel in Hong Kong has spectacular views of Victoria Harbor. I’d have the seafood tower, which arrives on a pedestal dish and consists of prawns, crab claws, scallops, calamari, and other cold seafood. And with it? A f lute of champagne, of course! —N.J. Wolfe, director, Gladys Marcus Library

—Deborah Payton-Jones, counselor assistant, Student Life

Smith & Wollensky steak with mashed potatoes, spinach, all the sides. That would be a pretty unforgettable way to go. —Hannah Samala, Continuing and Professional Studies student

I’d be sitting cross-legged on a pillow in Morocco, eating couscous and curried lamb, and getting henna tattoos.

Pepperoni pizza from Modern Apizza in New Haven, CT, and a hot lobster roll, because those are my favorite foods from home, and a giant dish of coffee ice cream, chocolate mousse, and cheesecake. I’m lactose intolerant, and if I’m about to die, it won’t matter if my belly aches! —Larissa Shirley, Fashion and Textile Studies ’11

—Melanie Reim, chair, MA in Illustration

www.fitnyc.edu/hue

13


Going for Brocade The founder of West Elm, Lisa Versacio, Fashion Buying and Merchandising ’81, charts her own course with a new venture

by Greg Herbowy

On a business trip to Miami a few years ago, Lisa Versacio took a look around her boutique

hotel room and wasn’t happy with what she saw. “It felt cold and angular,” she recalls. “I kept thinking it needed something warmer, or softer.” This reaction must have been somewhat surprising to her. She had, after all, created everything in the room. At the time, Versacio was senior vice president of West Elm, a Williams-Sonoma home furnishings company she founded in 2002 as a hipper, more affordable alternative to the company’s Pottery Barn brand. It was her second such venture. She created the first, Elements, in 1998 as a higher-end spin-off for the catalogue giant, Spiegel. (Prior to that, she’d worked in apparel, most notably for Liz Claiborne, where she ran Elisabeth, a plus-size line.) Both West Elm and Elements were well received—West Elm, in particular, enjoyed great success, growing from a catalogue-only business with an initial mailing list of 600,000 to a $100-million-plus enterprise with more than 40 stores in the U.S. But Versacio felt she was bumping against Williams-Sonoma’s narrow parameters for the brand, and decided it was time for a change. “They kept saying West Elm was edgy,” she says. “And it was edgy, compared to what they do. But it wasn’t edgy, compared to the whole universe.” So when competitor Restoration Hardware called not long after her Miami trip, wondering whether Versacio might do for them what she’d done for Williams-Sonoma and Spiegel, she had a proposal: a more decorative, feminine take on modern furniture. The result, launched in 2006, was Brocade Home, billed in papers like the Los Angeles Times and New York’s Daily News as part of a culturewide return to Victorian excess and elegance, and linked to events like Sofia Coppola’s film, Marie Antoinette. But in reality, Brocade is more complicated than a straight throwback. It’s actually something of a design paradox. By her own admission, Versacio—who has no design background (“I literally can’t draw”) and directs her creative team through idea boards and close oversight—favors “clean, refined lines,” and “uncluttered, open spaces,” largely drained of color. “White helps me think better,” she says. Elements and West Elm were paradigms of this sort of design, a look The New York Times called “haute urban.” Even Versacio’s

14

hue | fall 2008

personal style follows this code—minimal makeup and jewelry, and a muted, unfussy wardrobe—as does her lifelong passion for dance. “Black leotards, not boas and frills,” she says, counting the work of Judith Jamison, choreographer and artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, among her favorites. “I definitely prefer pure dance, not the costume-y stuff.” Brocade’s experiment is to pair the seemingly incompatible, matching Versacio’s Zen-simple instincts with a baroque aesthetic. The results run the gamut. There are austere chairs, so seamless and glossy they seem to be made of some space-age compound, instead of the bent hardwood they really are. There are damask-print bedspreads and curving, crystaldripping chandeliers. Then there are hybrids, like the laser-cut bed frames, cabinets, and mats that look like paper cut-outs, preserving baroque patterning and silhouettes while maintaining sleek, flat façades. It’s an idiosyncratic look, and perhaps risky for a mass market that largely favors blandness and interchangeability. But it’s clearly a style Versacio believes in: This September, she bought Brocade from Restoration Hardware, assuming total control of the brand. For someone accustomed to working within a larger corporate framework, it’s a big step, if one she’s been edging toward for years now. “I’ve been very lucky in that, with Williams-Sonoma and Restoration Hardware, I was able to be extremely autonomous and entrepreneurial,” she says. “My question was always, ‘How do I operate within this box


Portrait by Leif Zurmuhlen, Brocade photography by James Merrell

Clockwise from above left: Brocade furnishings, including lasercut felt rugs, tufted sectional sofa, steel-and-brass table, and ruffle-edged frame; crystal chandelier; Versacio in Brocade’s office. Facing page, wood table with turned pedestal base.

without being restricted by the box?’” After an unsatisfying experience relocating to Chicago for Spiegel, Versacio negotiated to establish both West Elm and Brocade’s offices in New York, far from their parent companies’ California bases. She hand-picked close-knit staffs, and her aesthetic control extended beyond product to encompass the look and layout of catalogues, websites, stores, and even the workplace. (The message discipline paid off—West Elm’s website won honors from Communication Arts, and its DUMBO office space got a full layout in Interior Design.) With the staff, office, and look of Brocade Home already established, Versacio’s present task at hand is rescaling the business to reflect its new independently owned status. She’s

ceased production on Brocade’s catalogues, which were expensive and time-consuming, the better to focus on online sales and opening retail locations. She’s also busy furnishing space in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s latest location, on Manhattan’s Mercer Street; future annexes, in London and San Francisco, will be Brocade-appointed as well. “I make no bones about the things I don’t have a head for,” Versacio says, acknowledging her newness to business nitty-gritty like e-commerce platforms and payroll. But what’s guided her career this far has been strong faith in her own instincts. It was an off-putting experience in a hotel room, not a close study of market trends or falling sales, that led her to leave West Elm and create Brocade Home.

It’s a confidence that’s won her industry recognition—including an FIT Alumni Association Star Salute Award and profiles in Time Out, The New York Times, and the Washington Post—and she credits her alma mater with helping to bolster it. “One of the things I liked about FIT was that they taught people like me, who had that creativity but maybe not the technical drafting or sewing skills, how to express their creativity in other ways.” Through her own work, she sees the opportunity to do something similar. “People who don’t hesitate to take risks with their clothes can be very hesitant when it comes to furnishing their homes,” Versacio says. “I want to create idea factories.” www.fitnyc.edu/hue

15


Inspired by The Museum at FIT’s show gothic: dark glamour, Roxanne Lowit ’64 shoots Hue’s first fashion photo series

Midnight! In a medieval castle, a masked ball climaxes, and the festivities pause. A mysterious figure in a red mask advances.... With a scene from Poe’s classic gothic tale “Masque of the Red Death” as a starting point, the museum became our set, and our revelers were played by a crop of models that included an alumnus, two students, and on this spread, museum Director and Chief Curator Valerie Steele. The result? A haunting portfolio of alumni and student work, more poetic than literally Poe, though a sinister, masked figure does appear—in a sheer gown by Jean Yu ’95.

Styled by rebecca weinberg

16

hue | fall 2008

|

Conceived and written by alex joseph


| raine ’08: Skin Graft leather vest and Lost Art leather top hat. | valerie steele: Comme des Garçons. | in coffin: Thierry Mugler dress in black silk velvet, 1981. | All jewelry in this feature by Michael Spirito ’95 unless otherwise noted.


| anastasiya: gown by Leonid Gurevich ’04 | stitch: Craig Robinson shirt, Lost Art alligator cape, Skin Graft holster. | danielle ’10: Altered Tyme corset, bustle by Leslie Lynne Darling ’65, Kambriel choker; designed the skirt. 18Daniellehue | fall 2008


| raine: Lost Art leather mask and skirt, pants by Serious. | laramie: Gurevich taffeta, chiffon, and leather top, Norma Kamali ’65 parachute skirt. | laura m ’10: Body Worship corset, Vivienne Westwood hoop skirt, Gurevich headpiece. 19 www.fitnyc.edu/hue


| laura w: Lost Art deconstructed dress and belt, hat by Stitch. | raine: Arkivestry top coat, Lost 20Art leather huemask. | fall 2008


| anastasiya: sheer silk gown by Jean Yu ’95, mask and veil from Gothic Renaissance. | laura w: Craig Robinson bonnet.


Noted photographer Roxanne Lowit ’64 has shot fashion and celebrities for Vanity Fair, Glamour, Dior, and Vivienne Westwood. Rebecca Weinberg styles celebrities, fashion shows, television, and movies, and won an Emmy for her work on Sex and the City. Assistant stylist Paula Lauriano, Advertising Design ’87, studied Image Styling through Continuing and Professional Studies; works as a stylist for CBS Watch! magazine. Michael Spirito, Jewelry Design ’95, Advertising Design ’93, creates jewelry for his company, Exhibitionist, on the Lower East Side. Leonid Gurevich, Fashion Design ’04, designs eveningwear for a private label and collaborates with performers to create stage costumes. His 18th-century-inspired gown made of recycled materials, page 18, has panniers made out of sofa cushions. His headpiece, page 19, is a synthetic wig with Pellon ruffled skirt draped as a hat. Raine Anakanu, Accessories Design ’08, Jewelry Design ’06, is FIT’s resident goth. He’s a freelance designer and an Accessories Design lab technologist at FIT. student models: Laura Mina, Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice ’10, and Danielle Smith, Fashion Design ’10. models: Anastasiya Karter and Laura Waidlich, Click Model Management. hair: Pierra Lortie, Rona Represents. makeup: Alexsandra Byrne and assistant Karen Lanyi. Gothic Renaissance, a store in Lower Manhattan, lent clothing, accessories, and props for this feature. Manager Stitch Azintime and employee Laramie Wilcox served as models. Photographed in the lower gallery of The Museum at FIT. Many thanks to Ann Coppinger, Rebecca Kelly, and Thomas Synnamon of the museum for their patience and assistance. digital technician: Matt Willkens, Industrial Color. photography assistants: Anton Svensson and Derek Frampton Davis.

22

hue | fall 2008


object: Hand-dyed silk tulle evening dress with sequin appliqué and mohair

a captivating object from FIT’s collections

chosen by: Molly Sorkin, associate curator of costume, The Museum at FIT

date: 2008 origin: usa acquisition: Purchased by the museum in 2008

Rodarte, Fall/Winter 2008–2009. Photograph: Dan Lecca. Courtesy Rodarte.

This dramatic evening dress was created by Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy for a collection they say was inspired by an “obsession with Japanese horror as seen through Kabuki theater and modern Japanese horror films.” The hand-dyed fabric intentionally evokes blood in water, capturing the essence of rich color as it mixes with clear liquid. This mottled effect resembles Shibori, the ancient art of Japanese tie-dye. The fabric is draped and layered to create a flowing silhouette that gracefully echoes the idea of gently swirling movement. The themes of beauty and horror are further connected through deconstructed elements such as a bodice that recalls a diagonally wrapped bandage and uneven, frayed tulle panels that float softly around the shoulders. Slashes of black add a graphic edge to this diaphanous gown. The Mulleavy sisters’ burgeoning career began in 2005. Though they are untrained as fashion designers and work in California, their outsider status has only enhanced their place in the fashion world. To achieve their otherworldly vision, the sisters rely on the very earthbound art and craft of dressmaking, employing couture-worthy techniques to create their fantastical clothing. The subtle addition of mohair and sequins to this tulle confection adds texture and demonstrates their focused attention to detail. This dress is featured in the Strange Beauty section of Gothic: Dark Glamour, which credits the Mulleavys’ “strange sources of imagery” for their inclusion in this exhibition that explores “the dark side” of fashion. See this and about 75 other gothic-inspired ensembles by designers including Alexander McQueen, Ann Demeulemeester, and Christian Dior in The Museum at FIT’s exhibition Gothic: Dark Glamour, on view through February 21, 2009. For videos and interactive media about the exhibition, go to fitnyc.edu/hue.

www.fitnyc.edu/hue

23


Adding Smart to Art

Trading Spaces New teaching facilities to open in fall ’09

Faculty create new website to enhance art history studies

Harris and Zucker avatars float under the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Harris’s outfit reflects her specialty, 19th-century art.

It’s one thing to study the Sistine Chapel in a textbook. It’s entirely different to see it in a 3D virtual world, explained by art historians who fly right up to Michelangelo’s frescoes and point out specific details. This new experience can be had on the award-winning site, smARThistory.org, created by Beth Harris, assistant professor, History of Art, and Steven Zucker, dean of Graduate Studies. The site, more than three years in the making, was designed to augment or replace traditional art history textbooks. With works explained in real time, students don’t have to look back and forth between

image and explanation. Further, art books, though beautiful, are expensive and heavy. In podcasts and videos, the two experts discuss art in a relaxed, conversational style, unlike conventional art history writing, which “can be as rarefied as wine reviews—and intimidating,” Zucker says. Contributors include FIT faculty David Drogin, Shana GallagherLindsay, and Chad Laird, and Matthew Postal of the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission. The new format is a hit with FIT students, educators, visitors from more than 100 countries, and museums, including the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Zucker and Harris discussed the project on NPR’s Studio 360. Last summer, the site received a $25,000 grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, which promotes appreciation of European art history. Harris and Zucker hired Charlotte Meijer, an information architect from the Museum of Modern Art, and Mickey Mayo, a web designer, to give the site a more book-like layout. This fall, smARThistory won the International Council of Museums’s highest award in the web category. The revamped site launched October 15.

SmARThistory has a book-like format with drop-down menus.

24

hue | fall 2008

Architects’ rendering of Cosmetics and Fragrance Development lab.

By fall 2009, the classrooms, offices, and catering kitchen of the David Dubinsky Student Center will be transformed. Instead, the third, fourth, and fifth floors will house ALABS—roughly 50,000 square feet of state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, studios, and offices serving eight academic departments. There will be a two-story Advertising and Marketing Communications broadcasting studio; two Jewelry Design laboratories, including polishing and casting rooms; footwear and millinery studios for Accessories Design; two leather workshops for Fashion Design—Apparel and Accessories Design; a Cosmetics and Fragrance Development laboratory; a Textile/Surface Design screen-printing studio; Textile Development and Marketing testing and dyeing labs; and a comprehensive lab and office suite for Toy Design, including a haptics lab (for the study of sensory experiences), sculpting and spray rooms, and a child-safe research workspace. New offices will also be constructed for the Educational Opportunity Programs and Disability Services. The architecture firm behind the project, shop, designed ALABS over two years, consulting with various groups at FIT. Why these particular labs in this particular place? Howard Dillon, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, says: “What many of these spaces have in common is a need for a good ventilation system, whether it’s to clear the air of leather fibers, chemicals and inks, or metal, plastic, and wood filings. The air ducts in the Dubinsky Center—built for the former dining facilities—are ideal for labs with superior fume, vapor, and dust removal.”   “At FIT, everybody listens,” shop’s Bill Sharples says. “The feedback we got was tremendous.”


a student in first person

Homebody Francesca Ofrias Home Products Development ’09, Fashion Merchandising Management ’07

You’ve just started your last year. How’d you spend that final, carefree summer vacation? I had a paid internship at Lifetime Brands, in Long Island. They have the licenses for KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Farberware.... I worked in moderately priced cutlery. It was a lot of updating spreadsheets, but I also got to research color trends for new Farberware packaging and product. Sounds right up your alley—you won a group competition last spring with a project on bejeweled and jewel-toned home accessories. So can we expect to see rhinestone-encrusted steak knives in the future?

No, thank God! Jewels and jewel tones are more for luxury brands, luxury items. I suggested a lot of blues—dark blues going into almost watery ice-blues, with some metallics. Speaking of color, was corporate OK with the pink hair? Nobody said anything. I mean, I was always dressed professionally. I get really bored with my hair, but I’m scissor-phobic. So sometimes I dye it. I don’t want to get a “big girl” haircut just yet. One of your upcoming class projects is identifying a consumer niche that’s been underserved, marketing-wise. Who could possibly be left? I’m doing “extreme chic”—girls who are into motocross

and other motorized sports, but who still like feminine stuff. I love motocross and all that, but I don’t really do it, so I’ll get to live vicariously through this project. Your AAS was in Fashion Merchandising Management, which had a graduating class of 690. Home

Matthew Septimus

Products enrolls about 20 students per year. How do you like being in a smaller group? We get along really well. We actually all signed up for the same liberal arts classes this semester, so we’re like this block of people, going from class to class. Any post-grad plans? I don’t know yet! I’m kind of figuring things out through process of elimination. I definitely plan on moving back to Long Island. I once heard that Long Island is the number one place where people who grew up there don’t leave; they stay forever. I have no problem with that.

25


m th e

R e vo l u t i o n a ry costume Why Grey Gardens inspires designers

M by Alex Joseph

“She’s the whole classic American look turned on its head—literally,” John Bartlett says. The style icon under consideration is Edith Bouvier Beale, eccentric first cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and subject of Grey Gardens, the 1975 film by celebrated documentarians Albert and David Maysles. Like many designers, Bartlett is a fan of Edie and her inimitable fashion sense. In the first scene, she says of her outfit, “This is the best thing to wear for the day. I don’t like women in skirts, and the best thing is to wear pants under a short skirt. You can pull the stockings up over the pants under the skirt. And you can always take off the skirt and use it as a cape.” Later, sporting a trench coat and, for a head scarf, a baby-blue terrycloth towel fastened with an enormous gold brooch, she says, in breathy, patrician tones that eerily recall Jackie, “In dealing with me, the relatives didn’t know that they were dealing with a staunch character.” For emphasis, she spells it out: “S-T-A-U-N-C-H.” Crazy? Maybe. But Edie’s paradoxical clothes concepts have been turning up in fashion ever since. Her turbans, trenches, and unique combinations of ready-to-wear have inspired looks—and even whole collections—from Marc Jacobs, Thom Browne, John Galliano, Miuccia Prada, and Philip Lim, among others. When the film was first released, critics called its approach voyeuristic and subject lurid. Little Edie and her mother, Big Edie Beale, lived in squalor on the outskirts of East Hampton, Long Island, in a ruined mansion populated by feral cats, roiling waves of fleas, and raccoons. They came to the Maysles’ attention after the house was condemned by the Board of Health, a move Big Edie called “the most disgusting, atrocious thing ever to happen in America.” Like a forgotten Tennessee Williams play set in an insane asylum, the film provided a warts-and-all portrait that some, including Jackie and her sister Lee Radziwill, found objectionable. RIGHT: Long’s design for the number “The Revolutionary Costume for Today” looks like an inside-out,

upside-down creation by Little Edie—but it isn’t. Long made the outfit by hand, and crafted a headpiece to accommodate star Christine Ebersole’s microphone. Pencil sketch, with gesso and ink.

26

hue | fall 2008


The sensational story of these eminently quotable women continues to fascinate, however. Big Edie died soon after the film was released. Little Edie sold the house two years later, and died in Florida in 2002. In 2006, the Maysles assembled additional footage of the Beales for a sequel. This fall, a fictionalized version, featuring Drew Barrymore as Little Edie and Jessica Lange as her mother, premieres on HBO. More than a dozen books related to the film have appeared. Perhaps its most improbable reincarnation was as a hit Broadway musical in 2006. In the show’s signature song, “The Revolutionary Costume for Today,” sung by Christine Ebersole as Little Edie, lyricist Michael Korie portrays her style as an act of defiance: You fight City Hall With a Persian shawl That used to hang on the bedroom wall Pinned under the chin Adorned with a pin And pulled into a twist […]

Little Edie and Big Edie, relaxing at home. Photo courtesy of Maysles Films.

he says. “Later, I saw that it was very respectful.” Long came to know Edie’s clothing intimately while designing costumes for the musical. They won him a Tony Award in 2007. And that’s the revolutionary costume for today. Long agrees, in part, with Bartlett about the origins of Edie’s looks. “She probably bought Subvert the Chris-Craft boaters, all those clothes at Bonwit’s and Bergdorf’s,” he says. “But once you eat too much ice cream [a those Nixon-Agnew voters. reference to a scene in the film], you can’t fit into them anymore.” But Long also thinks Edie Armies of conformity are headed created her assemblages to have fun. “She did it to entertain both herself and her mother,” he right your way. says. “It was a private fashion show. When you’re an arriviste, your clothes are worn as trophies, To make a statement you need not be but Edie was born arrived, so they were her toys.” In Boston Harbor upending tea. Simon Doonan, the creative director for Barneys, says that if Edie were alive today, he would And that’s a Revolution, to me. dress her in edgy outfits by Rick Owens. However, “Her best and most interesting looks would result from setting her free and letting her run Inspired lyrics, but is her style accurately amok through Lanvins and Balenciagas and “When you’re an represented—albeit ironically—as rebellion? watching her put it all together. I see her wearing Bartlett, Menswear ’88, discusses Edie’s looks mismatched shoes, among other things.” arriviste, your clothes on the Criterion Company’s DVD of the On a more serious note, Doonan says designers are worn as trophies, Maysles film. (Todd Oldham also offers an prize eccentrics because they’re transgressive. evaluation.) “Edie was brought up in New “They approach the art of dressing with no but Edie was born arrived, York society and had a very classic style,” preconceived ideas.” Bartlett agrees: “Anyone so they were her toys.” Bartlett explained recently, “but by the time who breaks the rules whether willingly or not — W i l l i a m I v e y Lo n g the film was made, she had turned all her nice allows a new perspective.” Asked to name a proper clothing backwards. She wore her favorite, Long cites society beauty C.Z. Guest, skirts upside down and sweaters on her head.” while Doonan says, “I have always loved Nancy Cunard, the ’20s–’30s heiress who cut her hair Hers may be the only cutting-edge sensibility short, smoked dope, rimmed her eyes with kohl, and hung out with jazz musicians.” arrived at through desperation. Long believes the Beales influenced the much-heralded Kennedy style. “Lee and Jackie Costume designer William Ivey Long, a must have gotten their bohemian flair from Big and Little Edie. They were the stars they looked friend of Radziwill’s, initially counted himself up to.” Further, he believes the ’90s trend of “deconstructed” clothing—torn or mangled-looking among the film’s detractors. “I felt it was an garments, their seams exposed—can be connected to her, as can the grunge look. invasion of privacy. It struck me as disrespectful,” Grey Gardens is, finally, a mystery. How did these two representatives of American royalty wind up in such reduced circumstances? The answers remain unclear, even to Little Edie, who “The Revolutionary Costume for Today,” music by Scott Frankel; famously says, “It’s very difficult to keep the line between the past and the present.” Designers, lyrics by Michael Korie. © 2006, 2007 by Staunch Music and Korie Music. Publishing and allied rights administered by Williamson however, see something hopeful in the women’s predicament. As Long puts it, “The movie takes Music throughout the world. International copyright secured. us inside the lives of two ladies who were sustained and elevated by their joy in clothes.” All rights reserved. Used by permission.

www.fitnyc.edu/hue

27


Hat Diva

1952 eileen goldburg olsen, millinery design, worked

as fashion

director for Dan River Mills, as head of fashion promotions freelance stylist for TV and print ads before moving from

At Harlem’s Heaven Hat Boutique,

New York City to Los Angeles in 1973. There, Olsen opened

owner Evetta Petty dispenses style

an antique shop specializing in jewelry; for 25 years, she

that leaves a lasting impression.

sold to the likes of Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, and Angelina

Topping her custom-designed hats

Jolie. These days she’s a Beverly Hills-based image consultant,

with colorful feathers and cascading

decorating theatrical offices and styling her high-powered

pearls, she imbues her bold collection

clientele.

with the mark of confidence. “I love to call my customers hat

1972

divas because they love hats, and they arlene gottfried, photography,

know that they look good in them.

recently published her third

They wear them with much attitude,”

book, Sometimes Overwhelm-

says Petty, who travels internationally

technology when she opened

ing (powerHouse), a photo-

looking for unusual trims—lace,

Laser Design Solutions five

graphic exploration of New

ribbon, beads, and stones—to create a

years ago. Giancontieri—

York City in the ’70s and

distinctive quality.

who previously ran Yellow

’80s. Her others are Midnight,

“My church hats are for those

No. 5, a Manhattan studio

a chronicle of a friend’s

lovely ladies who enjoy dressing up

that provided custom home

struggle with schizophrenia,

every Sunday morning,” Petty says.

furnishings and apparel

and The Eternal Light,

patricia giancontieri, textile design,

combined her design

skills with the latest

“My ‘At the Races’ collection is for

design—laser-etches

documenting the life of a

that hat diva going to Ascot or the Kentucky Derby who has to be noticed. My ‘Working

decorative images onto

gospel choir. Gottfried has

Girl’ hats are for the young modern career girl who wants that finished look. And my

stone, glass, wood, and

freelanced for publications

‘High Styles’ collection is for those special events and big weddings.”

acrylic surfaces, like shower

including The New York

Times, the Sunday Telegraph,

death in 2007. Now Petty’s husband, Sukhvinder Singh, fills this role, continuing the

Fortune, and Life.

boutique’s tradition as a family-run business. With managerial and technical assistance

doors and back splashes.

Petty opened the boutique 17 years ago. Her aunt managed the retail store until her

from The William Jefferson Clinton Foundation’s Urban Enterprise Initiative, Petty learned the importance of marketing her products. The Harlem program helped her launch a website, on which the designer’s popular “Red Hat” collection, her men’s line, and vintage accessories are all available.

“I am a small family business that has gone global,” Petty says. “We are very proud

of our journey so far and are so lucky to serve the community of Harlem—the home of creativity and awesome style.” —Andrea K. Hammer

1980 laura victore , display and exhibit design ,

Angel and Woman on Boardwalk in Brighton Beach, 1976 by Arlene Gottfried.

1975 steve citron , fashion buying and merchandising ,

is the

owner of The Perfect Dress, a three-year-old bridal, prom, and special occasion shop in Lawrenceville, NJ. He also

is celebrating the tenth year

Public Schools in Georgia. She offers curricular and

of Headpiece.com, her bridal

classroom support to K–12 art teachers. She’s also finishing

veil and accessories studio.

an MFA at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Victore

Hunt, who designed her own

was director for visual merchandising at Laura Ashley, and

bridal dress and veil while

taught art in New York and Connecticut before moving

still a student, designed bras

south two years ago.

for Playtex and ran a design studio out of her home before opening a showroom

Portugal and the UK. For two decades, he ran a tropical fish

in Pompton Plains, NJ. She’s

store, Aquariums Plus, in nearby Princeton.

been featured in Modern

1976

Bride and on VH1’s My Big Fat Wedding.

designed junior sports-

wear before attending the New York School of Interior Design and opening her own firm, New York Interior Design, in 1998. She specializes in residential design in Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester.

28

hue | fall 2008

marie hunt, fashion design ,

specialist in visual art for Savannah-Chatham County

sells online, and has filled orders from as far away as

evelyn lantos benatar, fashion design,

1983 is a teacher

Primary Block, oil on linen, by Laura Victore.

Evetta Petty photograph by Danielle Sullivan.

news from your classmates

for the Abraham & Straus department store chain, and as a

EVETTA PETTY, MARKETING: FASHION AND RELATED INDUSTRIES ’83, FASHION BUYING AND MERCHANDISING ’79


1986

1988

1992

denise d i grigoli amuso, marketing: fashion and related

tracey schuster , fashion

christine colella , packaging

melissa galit, marketing :

industries , fashion buying and merchandising ’84 ,

joined her

buying and merchandising ,

design , advertising design ’90,

fashion and related

husband, Troy, as co-owner of Troy Art & Framing in 1999.

owns and operates Style-

is manager of corporate

industries , fashion buying

Troy Art & Framing comprises an art gallery and frame

Expo.com, an online

branding at Sanofi Aventis US,

and merchandising ’90,

store in Fairfield, CT, an in-house division that helps people

showcase for independent

where she creates and

market specialist in Henry

personalize their homes, and a corporate division that helps

designers, and StyleExpo-

approves logos; designs ads,

Doneger Associates’ jewelry

companies choose art that will reflect their brand. Amuso is

Photography.com, which

events, and signage; and

division, where she

now looking for employees for their growing business.

provides product photogra-

selects artwork for corporate

evaluates market conditions

phy and web design services

headquarters in New Jersey

and provides trend data to

for big names like Donna

and six sales locations across

clients ranging from

Karan and Sean John, as

North America. Colella

specialty stores and mass

well as for sole proprietors.

recently won a Communicator

merchants to dot-coms and

Award for a Sanofi Aventis

TV networks.

is a

logo animation.

cool shoes, small footprint

Denise Amuso (left), her husband Troy, and staff framed this original Warhol. marcie jan bronstein , fine arts ,

published her first book, I’ll

Wait in the Car: Dogs Along for the Ride (Sellers)—a collec-

Charmoné shoes, left to right: Darjeeling, microfiber faux suede and faux leather; Dragonwell, microfiber suede and stretch fabric; Cezanne, microfiber faux leather or suede.

tion of hand-painted photographs of dogs in automobiles— this past spring, and has recently submitted the materials for Best Seat in the House, a follow-up featuring images of cats sitting in windows. Bronstein lives in Maine and exhibits her work in galleries locally and abroad.

Lauren Carroll, Marketing: Fashion and Related Industries ’91, Advertising and Communications ’89, Photography ’88 In the vast expanse between earthy-crunchy sandals and high-end Stella McCartney slingbacks, little exists in the way of fashionable and affordable eco-friendly footwear. Lauren Carroll hopes to bridge that gap. She and partner Jodi Koksella, through their two-year-old company, Charmoné (charmone.com), create a variety of stylish, animalfree, and earth-conscious shoes and sell them at $150 to $250, prices that won’t break the average woman’s bank. And with a wealth of styles, from Darjeeling, a faux-suede ankle boot with crisscross straps and braided trim, to Cinnamon, an old Hollywood-style d’Orsay pump with a petal-like satin ruffle blooming at the edges, there are plenty of choices. Carroll, a former Silicon Valley executive, was inspired to make the leap to fashion after vegetarian and vegan friends bemoaned the lack of shoe choices. With a growing family of her own, she also knew the time was right to both go the entrepreneurial route and, as she puts it, “find a way to leave the earth a better place.”

Keeping the Driver’s Seat by Marcie Jan Bronstein.

Charmoné’s flats, boots, pumps, and sandals are made with Italian microfibers that

are similar to leather in structure, durability, and breathability, and with animal-free, water-based glues. The eye-popping patterns on some designs are digitally printed, rather

karron english , fashion design ,

owns and operates English

than dyed, on organic cotton, causing less pollution. They even use recycled wood heels,

Design Laboratory, her four-year-old fashion design school

and work with small, family-run manufacturers—primarily in Brazil—who are committed

in Kennesaw, GA. English previously designed young men’s

to the responsible use and disposal of chemicals.

and girls’ clothing for companies like Bugle Boy and The

Limited, and worked in apparel licensing at Coca-Cola. She

create the entire line—mostly classic silhouettes with an Art Deco flair, all very wearable

now helps teenagers build art and design portfolios for

yet sexy—themselves. “I try to focus on adapting trends that I really want to wear, but

college applications. Two former students are currently

making them more earth-friendly and comfortable,” Carroll says. “Women don’t want to

enrolled at FIT.

walk in five- or six-inch heels. It’s not practical. Our customers care about the environ-

Carroll and Koksella employed a design consultant during their first year, but now

ment, but want something they can wear for hours to work or nice occasions.

“Still,” Carroll says, “we really want people to be attracted to the shoe, and then love

the message.” —Robin Catalano

www.fitnyc.edu/hue

29


1993

1995

2001

dana pusateri denberg ,

lisa collier hayden , advertis -

nathalie kirsheh , graphic

marlene magila , advertising

advertising and communica-

ing and marketing communi-

design , illustration ’97,

design ,

is a senior copywriter for Dixon Schwabl, an advertising, marketing, and PR firm. Denberg develops brand identities and campaigns for clients like Macy’s and Tavern on the Green, and has written everything from direct mail pieces and web copy to TV and radio spots. She also freelances for publications such as Teen and Fit Pregnancy.

is wholesale events planner for Eileen Fisher. Hayden plans all events— whether to benefit a women’s charity, like the Breast Cancer Care and Research Fund, or to promote the new fall and spring lines—at department stores nationwide. Her assistant, Veronica Rado, is a Fashion Merchandising Management ’08 grad.

recently won a gold medal for publication design from the Society of Publication Designers and an award for general excellence from the Type Directors Club for her work as art director at Condé Nast’s W. Kirsheh, who worked at Harper’s Bazaar, Nylon, and Details as a student, redesigned Seventeen and was art director for Popular Science before joining W.

news from your classmates

tions ,

gina la morte , fashion buying and merchandising ,

recently launched Boho, a fashion magazine that celebrates an environmentally and socially conscious lifestyle. La Morte is editor in chief; Margo Helliwell, Fashion Merchandising

Management ’95, is fashion director. Boho is green in both form and content: It’s printed on 100-percent post-consumer waste paper, and features eco-friendly celebrities, products, and companies. It can be found at Barnes & Noble and Whole Foods.

1994 staci barrocas coelho,

2003

cations ,

2007

1996 joanna siegel gover , fashion buying and merchandising ,

is senior art director of Palio Communications, a pharmaceutical marketing and ad agency in Saratoga Springs, NY. Magila works on both branding new products and rebranding established companies, using market research that targets medical professionals. She joined Palio this year, after several years’ ad design experience in New York and Los Angeles.

is

alyssa erdman , fabric

the owner of Buka, a women’s clothing boutique in Shaverton, PA. Established in 2005, Buka offers casual high-end—think Citizens for Humanity and Seven for All Mankind—with an emphasis on denim, and bohemianstyle jewelry, some of which she designs.

styling , display and exhibit design ’05 , is a bath designer at Universal Home Fashions, helping to create shower curtains, lotion and soap dispensers, bedding, rugs, and more. Erdman plans to return to FIT in a few years to study Global Fashion Management.

2000 erica maher silverman , advertising and marketing communi-

is a PR manager at Chanel, Inc., in Manhattan. She handles all fashion editorial requests for U.S. media, manages seating at their four annual Paris runway shows (two for couture, two for ready-to-wear), and monitors Chanel’s press coverage. Previously, Silverman was a PR manager at Allure. cations ,

2008

fashion buying and merchan -

is the senior copywriter at Bliss, a spa and beauty products company. Space pens nearly all of Bliss’s copy, whether for catalogue, website, point-of-sale, direct mail, signage, spa menu, or packaging. The job’s best perk? Free samples of each new product. Space’s husband, Patrick, is also an FIT grad, Advertising Design ’98, working in display and graphic design at Tiffany & Co.

julie goldhor space , advertising design ,

Bliss photograph by Keate

dising , is drafting a business plan for her own apparel store in her hometown of Glastonbury, CT. Coelho has worked as an apparel buyer for retailers such as Caldor, Ames, and Weathervane, and has developed products for Bob’s Stores, an activewear chain.

A promotional piece for Architectural Digest by Selena Chen. selena (zi ying) chen , graphic design , has worked in art promotion at Architectural Digest ever since interning for the department three years ago. Chen helps design ad sections for clients like Qantas and MasterCard, along with newsletters, email blasts, and event invitations.

Products by Bliss, where Julie Space works as senior copywriter.

30

hue | fall 2008


sources of inspiration

Wild, Child Deborah Gregory Fashion Design ’76

My commitment to the wild began when I was around 11 years old. I bought some cheetah cotton fabric and cut it out and made my first dress. Because I didn’t have a sewing machine, I hand-stitched the dress. It came apart in school in class and my bloomers were showing. I was so mortified. At 12, I finally got a sewing machine. As an adult, I discovered Josephine Baker, and she became a muse for me. She had a pet leopard! My line is, “I don’t care what Vogue says—cheetah prints are always in.” The animals are eternal—although they are on the endangered species list—and so is cheetah style. As a matter of fact, cheetah is a color in my book.

What inspires you? Email the editors at hue@fitnyc.edu

Deborah Gregory is the author of “The Cheetah Girls,” a book series for fashionable young adults, which Disney has adapted for television and film. In June, she published Catwalk, the first of a new young adult book series, also focused on fashion.

www.fitnyc.edu/hue

31


Environmental Savings for this Issue (20,000 copies)

334.62 trees preserved/planted 275.57 lbs waterborne waste not created 40,538 gallons wastewater flow saved 4,485 lbs solid waste not generated 13,298.79 lbs net greenhouse gases prevented 67,598,800 BTUs energy not consumed Printed by Monroe Litho Inc. Monroe Litho is certified as a Chain-of-Custody supplier by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and as an EPA Green Power Partner operating on 100% renewable, nonpolluting windpower. Printed on Monadnock Astrolite PC 100 FSC-certified, 100% post consumer waste reclaimed/recycled, made with 100% renewable energy; manufactured carbon neutral and chlorine free; certified ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management System. Please recycle or share this magazine.

Seventh Avenue at 27 Street New York, NY 10001-5992 return service requested

32

hue | fall 2008

y golonhceT fo etutitsnI noihsaF eht fo enizagaM inmulA

Hue Fall 2008  

volume 2 | number 1

Hue Fall 2008  

volume 2 | number 1