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Alumni Magazine of the Fashion Institute of Technology

volume 2 | number 3 | summer 2009


6 Model Citizen Stan Munro ’92 builds a city out of toothpicks 9 Class of ’09 Takes Center Stage Commencement ’09: Happy day, big names 10 The Tell-Tale Art Forensic artist Stephen Mancusi ’81 is a “Wanted!” man 14 View Finders Insights from four famous photographers


16 Up with MFIT A hit movie uses textiles from FIT’s museum 17 Meet Locally, Eat Globally International students break bread and share culture 20 Fashion Fur-ward A fashion show goes to the dogs 22 One Smart Cookie Carolyn Kremins ’83 and the world of magazine publishing

6 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:

volume 2 | number 3 | summer 2009

Address letters to the editors, Hue magazine. 

24 Brini’s Big Day Magical shopping surprises, featuring Ben Sander ’93

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 Gregory Herbowy Editorial Assistant Vanessa Machir Art Direction and Design Empire Design Studio

Hue magazine on the web:  



4 Hue’s News Recent developments at and related to FIT 8 Hue’s Who VIPs at FIT events, from September to May


15 I Contact An AMC student strikes the perfect work/school balance 16 Faculty on… What’s involved in creating a fashion business? 28 Alumni Notes Find out what your classmates are up to 31 Sparks Isabel Toledo sees beneath the surface


Front cover: Babs, a French bulldog, wears a sweater by Rose Ann Warner, a student in FIT’s new certificate program in Pet Product Design and Marketing. Photograph by Paul Whicheloe Back cover: The La Seu Cathedral in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (in toothpicks), by Stan Munro ’92. Photograph by Leif Zurmuhlen

17 Sitings

On FIT’s website, Continuing and Professional Studies: FIT job openings: Gallery of student work: Gladys Marcus Library: The Museum at FIT: To view videos about the college, go to: Email the FIT Alumni Association: Go to to answer The Ask, tell us what inspires you for Sparks, or update your alumni info.


Isabel Toledo and Fashion & Politics at The Museum at FIT

Hue, Other FIT Materials Win Awards

Nancy L. Zimpher made history this February when she was appointed chancellor of the State University of New York: She is the first woman to serve in the position in the institution’s 60-year history. This is her third such milestone. From 2003 through May 2009, she served as the first female president of the University of Cincinnati, where she increased its national rankings and student satisfaction, retention, and graduation rates. Prior to that, she was the first female chancellor of the University of WisconsinMilwaukee.

Two new exhibitions have recently opened at The Museum at FIT, and they’re not to be missed. In the Special Exhibitions Gallery is Isabel Toledo: Fashion from the Inside Out, which runs through September 26. The exhibition celebrates the work of the Cuban-born designer, recipient of the Couture Council’s 2008 Award for Artistry of Fashion, and features the first up-close public viewing of Michelle Obama’s Inauguration Day ensemble, loaned by the First Lady herself. It also includes mannequins and drawings by Toledo’s husband and collaborator, Ruben Toledo. (See page 31 for more on Isabel Toledo.)

At its annual conference this spring, the SUNY Council for University Advancement, an organization of the statewide system’s advancement and communications professionals, honored Hue magazine with its best-of-category Award for Excellence for full-color magazines, and FIT’s Communications and External Relations Office with a best-of-category for its 2008-09 continuing education ad campaign. This marked the latest in a string of recognitions for the magazine and its parent office, which, in addition to producing all college publications, oversees FIT’s marketing, public and government relations, and website. Earlier in the academic year, the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations awarded Hue first place in the magazine categories for both its national and District 1 (northeastern United States, eastern Canada, and the UK) competitions; Communications and External Relations won District 1 gold and silver advertising awards. For the 2009 Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Awards, FIT’s 2008-10 Viewbook won silver in the nationwide competition for best individual student recruitment publication. Hue took home three CASE honors: a regional gold in the four-color, community college magazine category; a national silver for general interest magazine; and a national grand gold (that’s one better than gold) for magazine improvement.

Chancellor Zimpher began her tenure with SUNY on June 1 with a web video address and New York Post op-ed announcing a summer listening tour that will take her to each of the university’s 64 campuses. These visits constitute the first step in a systemwide strategic planning process, set to begin in September. Her stop at FIT, which included a campus tour and meetings with administrators, deans, and students, was on June 18.

In the Fashion and Textile History Gallery, visitors can explore the intersecting roles of Fashion & Politics. On view through November 7, the show demonstrates how fashion has

Food relates to culture in subtle and often surprising ways. (See feature, p. 17.) What’s a dish that reminds you of home—and how?

conveyed and furthered political and social ideologies by addressing nationalism, feminism, ethnic identity, subcultures, and significant historical events. More than 100 garments, textiles, and accessories drawn from the museum’s permanent collections are on display.

William Palmer

what’s happening on campus

SUNY Appoints First Female Chancellor

Isabel Toledo’s double-tier pagoda dress, blue and white brocaded cotton and silk, fall/winter 1996-97.

Submissions will be considered for publication in a future issue.


hue | summer 2009

Irving Solero

Email your story to, or send it to the editors at Hue Magazine.

From Fashion & Politics, Mars of Asheville’s Nixon paper dress and James Sterling’s Hubert Humphrey paper dress, 1967-68.

Actor Wears Alumna’s Fashion Design BFA Show Pendant to Oscars

QU I CK RE A D >> FIT’s first men’s and women’s swimming teams were launched this academic year. Seven swimmers and one diver qualified for and competed in March’s NJCAA nationals at Erie Community College in Buffalo. >> On April 21, FIT’s Diversity Council hosted an all-day Diversity Expo in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre and John E. Reeves Great Hall. Speakers included civil rights activists, a Holocaust survivor, students,

what’s happening on campus

© Andrew Ross/Corbis

This year’s Fashion Design BFA show, FIT on the Catwalk, marked the debut of menswear in the event, with that department’s graduating class showing its work alongside children’s wear, intimate apparel, knitwear, special occasion, and sportswear. Here are some of the outfits seen on the runway at John E. Reeves Great Hall, April 27.

academics, artists, and a New York Times journalist. For the full roster, Afife Gobelez, Sportswear, python leather vest with ironwork detail, bustier, silk pants.

Mickey Rourke at the Independent Spirit Awards, wearing Wassermann’s pendant.

>> FIT’s Mike Kerr has won the 2008-09 Basketball Coach of the Year Award for NJCAA’s Region XV. This is the second consecutive year he’s claimed the title. Shooting and point guard Anderson Labase, Advertising and Marketing Communications ’09, won Region XV Player of the Year, and the team finished the season in first place for the region. >> The Educational Foundation for the

Sung Hee Bang, Knitwear, hand-knit black leather strip coat, gray intarsia sweater, black leggings.

Fashion Industries and FIT hosted their fifth annual Golf Classic at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale Pamela Ruiz, Menswear, black herringbone knit shirt and cropped riding trousers.

on June 1. The event, which benefits the Educational Development Fund, grossed $216,000.

Lorenzo Ciniglio

In February, when actor Mickey Rourke’s Chihuahua died, Betina Wassermann, Photography ’84, empathized: Her Chinese crested had also just passed. Wassermann, who owns a small crafts business, Wickedworld, says, “I knew [Rourke] was a dog lover like me. I’d seen him carrying around Loki for 15 years.” Inspired, she used an image of Loki, a microscope slide, and copper foil to create a pendant. Through friends, she located the email address for Rourke’s publicist. Wassermann says, “Within ten minutes, she wrote back: ‘Can you get it to my West Village office tonight?’” Rourke, up for an Academy Award for The Wrestler, wore the piece to the Oscars, where it got noticed on the red carpet. Wassermann, a marketing coordinator for H&M, has since received a deluge of requests for similar pendants. The media blitz surprised her. “I really only made that piece because I love dogs,” she says.


Arnaz Bhujwalla, Intimate Apparel, pink bustier and panty with lace details, black chiffon robe. Sylwia Siedlecka, Children’s Wear, neutral multitone chiffon party dress.


Leif Zurmuhlen


hue | summer 2009


isitors to the Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse, NY, are witnessing the construction of something weirdly wonderful. With Elmer’s glue and ordinary toothpicks, Stan Munro is creating Toothpick City II, an assemblage of more than 40 scale reproductions of iconic towers and sacred buildings from around the world. Standing on a 24-by-28-foot platform, the “city” includes Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, London Bridge, and the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The work will be completed in December. Munro says the four million picks he’s using (nearly twice that used in Toothpick City I) will make it the largest toothpick structure in the world. “Hopefully, I’ll beat the record by a cool million.” “I feel like I have to be toothpicking all the time. It’s probably a disease,” the Rochester native explains. He was doing it before he came to FIT in 1988, but the avocation turned vocation in 2003, when his wife, a podiatrist, asked him to make the Chrysler Building. “At first I thought, ‘I can’t do it; it’s too big.’ But then I thought, ‘No, I have to do it because it’s so big.’” It took half a year. Every few months, Munro orders a quarter of a million toothpicks from a wholesaler. He gets the buildings’ dimensions off the internet. Construction times vary. The Washington Monument was built in a day, but not Rome— or at any rate, Vatican City, which took two months. Toothpick City I, a collection of skyscrapers including the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower, was a two-year endeavor. The sequel, whose crowning achievement is a 19-foot version of the Dubai Tower, will take four. “It’s slow,” Munro says, “but that’s part of the allure.” Munro’s career has always been unconventional. He spent a year driving around the country, researching and writing stories about murder for True Detective magazine. He also wrote about athletes with disabilities for Sports and Spokes. Later, he got a job at a TV station as a Chyron operator, typing in identifying names and titles of talking heads on newscasts. He worked his way up to a slot in the morning news lineup of 13WHAM-TV in Rochester, as their go-to guy for unusual features. In one, he rode a bull; in another he burned rubber with a gang of women motorcyclists who were raising money for breast cancer research. Though his wife contributes the more reliable paycheck, Munro says that when Toothpick City I sold to the House of Katmandu museum in Mallorca, Spain (where it remains on display), he made four times his annual salary at WHAM. When Munro talks about his current project, he focuses on his effort to be precise: “I don’t want it to be artistic, I want it to be right.” He’s not sure what’s to become of Toothpick City II—yes, it’s for sale—but there’s a possibility that he’ll open a museum of his own and keep on toothpicking. Or maybe he’ll move on to something else. Given his career so far, it’s hard to imagine what that might be.

Model Citizen Stan Munro, Marketing: Fashion and Related Industries ’92, finds a higher purpose for six and a half million toothpicks By Alex Joseph


VIPs at FIT events this academic year

2 1
















Alumni Star Salute: 1. John R. Jones*, FIT Alumni Association president, 2. Mark Pnini†, Say What, American Attitude, 3. Tom Nastos*, Endurance LLC, 4. Gloria Maccaroni,* Alumni Association board, 5. William Frake*, Blue Sky Studios, 6. Joseph DeAcetis*†, 7. Daymond John, FUBU, 8. Barrie Blue†, COOGI.




FIT’s Educational Foundation Fundraising Gala: 1. Fern Mallis, IMG Fashion, 2. Bill Cunningham, The New York Times, 3. Carolina Herrera, 4. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, 5. Steve Sadove†, Saks, 6. President Joyce F. Brown.

The Museum at FIT’s Couture Council honored Isabel Toledo with its Artistry of Fashion Award at the Rainbow Room. 1. Jake Shears, singer, 2. Ingrid Sischy, Vanity Fair, 3. Matthew and Caridad Rivera Modine, 4. Isabel*† and Ruben Toledo, 5. Narciso Rodriguez, 6. Simon Doonan, 7. Hamish Bowles, 8. André Leon Talley, 9. Candy Pratts Price*, 10. Yaz Hernández and 11. Liz Peek, members, FIT Board of Trustees, 12. Toledo, 13. Glenda Bailey, Harper’s Bazaar. International Trade and Marketing Breakfast: Donald Baum†, Polo Ralph Lauren.



Other VIPs at FIT events this year: 1. Diane von Furstenberg, 2. Bobbi Brown, 3. Tommy Hilfiger, 4. Valerie Steele, 5. Francisco Costa*.


Home Products Breakfast: 1. Doug, Mike, and Stanley Kahn†, Croscill, Inc., 2. President Joyce F. Brown, 3. Paulette Cole†, ABC Home Furnishings. 2





International Trade and Marketing Economic Forum on India and China Business: 1. A.M. Gondane, Consulate General of India, NY, 2. Andrew Choy, Asia Pacific Business Group, 3. Subash Midha, Global Strategy Advisor (India), 4. Aru Kulkarni, Jones Apparel Group, and 5. Shoba Purushothaman, The NewsMarket.












*FIT alumna/us; † honoree 8

hue | summer 2009


Left to right: Commencement speakers and honorees Chi, Allen, Leibovitz, Taube, SUNY Trustee Edward F. Cox, President Brown, FIT Board of Trustees Chairman Edwin A. Goodman, Zarakas, and Bartlett.

Matthew Septimus

designer John Bartlett, Menswear ’88, and Warner Brothers’ senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Maryellen Zarakas, Marketing: Fashion and Related Industries ’86. In her remarks, Leibovitz shared memories of legends she’s encountered at peaks in their careers—a fearless Hunter S. Thompson, in the journalist’s ’70s heyday; track star Carl Lewis, physically and mentally conditioned to near-perfection for his final Olympics. She recounted how, in her early career, what she saw as her technical shortcomings were championed by critics as artistic strengths, and noted the intertwined roles of serendipity, openness, and diligence in a creative life. “It’s important that you not be afraid,” she advised the graduates. “I can’t help but feel you have the advantage here.” Or as President Joyce F. Brown said, “Class of 2009, you will be the ones who lead us.”

Heekyung Hur, Illustration MA ’08

At FIT’s 64th commencement ceremony, held May 19 at Radio City Music Hall, traditions were upheld and solemnity observed, but the excitement of the 2,500 graduates was palpable. This year’s commencement speaker was celebrated photographer Annie Leibovitz, best known for her work with Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. Leibovitz also received an honorary SUNY Doctor of Fine Arts, as did actress and knitwear entrepreneur Karen Allen—who studied at FIT in 1969, left to act (Animal House, Raiders of the Lost Ark), and returned in 2003 when starting her business—and restaurant designer Tony Chi, Interior Design ’79. Ruth Taube, director of the Henry Street Settlement Home Planning Workshop, a nonprofit sewing center on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, was given a Lifetime Achievement Award. Alumni Association awards went to

Jerry Speier

Class of ’09 takes center Stage


Self-portrait by forensic artist and retired First-Grade Detective Stephen Mancusi, Illustration ’81.

Stephen Mancusi, Illustration ’81, helps put the bad guys behind bars By Robin Catalano

Postmortem Reconstruction

Dead men, it seems, do tell tales.

This is the lesson that Stephen Mancusi has learned in 27 years as a forensic artist with the New York Police Department. The recently retired detective has seen enough of the strange, the macabre, and the unbelievable to fill volumes. In 2007, he helped collar the man who gunned down orthodontist Daniel Malakov in a Queens playground. Malakov had just won custody of his four-year-old daughter in a bitter divorce dispute, and was taking her to visit her mother, internist Mazoltuv Borukhova. The gunman shot him, using a silencer made from a bleach bottle and duct tape. A witness who had been walking her dog in the park described the killer to Mancusi, who started to make a composite sketch. “At first, this witness was reluctant to talk because she had been threatened. There was some speculation that [Borukhova] was ‘connected,’” Mancusi says. “When the detective first brought the witness in, she said she didn’t know much, but as we went through the process, it turned out she knew a lot more than she thought.” Mancusi is fascinated by the art of creating composites. “It’s not a sketch of the bad guy—it’s an illustration of the witness’s perception of the bad guy,” he says. “How do the witness’s words relate to what you draw?” Sometimes it’s simple. “If a witness says the guy had wavy hair or a round face, that’s obvious. If they say he had almond-shaped eyes, those are normal eyes. But if they say ‘bulging eyes,’ or ‘frog’s eyes,’ I can get at least three clues from that: The eyes will be clearly defined, larger on the face, and set farther apart.” Other times, the direction is vague, and Mancusi has to be careful. If a witness mentions a suspect’s race, for example, he has to interpret. “Someone might say, ‘He was Native American.’ I’ll start by asking, ‘Did he have straight black hair?’ If the witness says no, the suspect might turn out to be Latino instead.” Soon after the sketch of Malakov’s killer was completed, Borukhova’s cousin was arrested; fingerprints on the makeshift silencer (found at the scene) matched his. Mancusi was gratified when he saw the killer’s face: “That profile was pretty good,” he says. Borukhova and her cousin were found guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy. In April, they were sentenced to life without parole. Mancusi, a Brooklyn native, discovered drawing at an early age and attended FIT in preparation for becoming a professional illustrator. He credits the program with developing

When an unidentified body or set of skeletal remains is found, police investigators sometimes call on a forensic artist. Using in-person observation, study of morgue photographs, and/or information from a medical examiner (or, in the case of skeletal remains, a forensic anthropologist), the artist produces a digital sketch or clay model of the deceased’s facial features to approximate how he or she looked in life. The less tissue present on the bone, the more subjective the rendering becomes. Curators at the Metropolitan Museum of Art wanted to know whether a certain mummy portrait— a painted “head shot” affixed to the outside of a mummy— was accurate. They asked Mancusi to draw the face based only on a CAT scan of the mummy, without seeing the portrait. His reconstruction, above, drawn directly on the image of the skull, showed that the portrait, left, was indeed fairly accurate.


his high level of technical skill, and fondly remembers his teachers. “Mr. [Robert] Baxter gave me the illustrative process—how to do the research, how to create and develop the sketches,” Mancusi recalls. “I have some images I did in Morton Kaish’s class that I still hang in my studio for inspiration. And Mr. [Alvin J.] Pimsler, I kept up a little friendship with him over the years.” One summer, several of Mancusi’s friends signed up for the civil service exam, and on a whim, he took it, too. He did so well that the police department started trying to recruit him. “I had no intentions of ever being a police officer,” Mancusi says in his New York accent. “I wanted to be an artist. But it’s not easy to get work.” With a young family to support, he succumbed to the lure of a steady paycheck. He went through police academy training and walked a beat. Within two years, a position opened in the composite art unit, and it wasn’t long before Mancusi became part of a select group of full-time forensic artists—he estimates there are fewer than 50 in the country—and one who is highly respected. Although composite art is the best-known type of forensic art, the field has expanded to include a variety of artistic renderings (see sidebars). Over the years, Mancusi has created age-progression renderings of kidnap victims and suspects, postmortem reconstructions of unidentified murder victims, and demonstrative evidence for court presentations. Though the technology used to produce the work has advanced dramatically, creating a composite sketch requires a subtlety that Photoshop and Illustrator can’t capture, so Mancusi begins — Stephen Mancusi with a pencil and paper. The time-consuming process tests interpersonal skills as much as illustrative ones. Often, he’s had to interview the victim of a crime committed only hours before. Kenneth Calvey, retired commanding officer of the NYPD Latent Prints Section, who worked with Mancusi for 20 years, says, “Steve has the natural ability to relate to people and make them feel comfortable. Some of these cases are horrendous, but he is always able to be friendly and calm down the witness in order to get the information. It’s a rare talent.” Mancusi’s technical skills and warm, jocular nature—he’s like a favorite uncle with a really, really interesting job and plenty of stories to tell about it—have been called on in a variety of high-profile cases. One of the most famous involved the Stuyvesant Town rapist, who attacked several women at knifepoint in the East Side apartment complex over

“A composite isn’t a sketch of the bad guy; it’s a witness’s perception of the bad guy.”

Composite ART Used to create a single image from individually described parts, composite art requires skills in both drawing and police investigative work. Through careful questioning of the witness, often over several hours, the artist creates a facial rendering of a suspect. In the 1994 case of the Stuyvesant Town rapist, a victim’s memory of the attacker helped Mancusi create the sketch that eventually led to the arrest and conviction of Anthony Monagas.


hue | summer 2009

a three-month period in 1993 and 1994. Mancusi’s interview with a victim led to a composite sketch that was printed on a wanted poster. A Miami assistant district attorney spotted the poster, noticed the startling resemblance to her half brother, and turned him in. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Interest in the lab side of crime scene investigation has exploded since the advent of CSI and other procedural TV shows, but Mancusi says students are not signing up in droves to become forensic artists. The field isn’t glamorous enough. “The DOA stuff is gruesome—no doubt about it. And sometimes it’s hard to see, let alone work with, a victim who’s still injured from something only a few hours earlier,” he says. He pauses, and his tone softens. “But creating an image that can help get a suspect into custody, that’s huge. You feel a lot of accomplishment there.” Throughout his career, Mancusi has also freelanced as a commercial and fine artist. He’s used acrylics to paint mystery-novel jackets (such as A Ghost in the Window and The Cellar, both published by Holliday House), oils for posters of vibrant retro-style street scenes, pastels for portraits, pencil sketches and 3D imagery for History Channel shows, and digital art for print companies. “I needed to have a lot of different oars in the water to make money,” he says. “I wasn’t really a master at anything. Instead, I let the media govern the way my images came out.” Now that he’s retired from the force, Mancusi, whose home and art-crammed studio are in Peekskill, NY, would like to get

age progression

For this type of image modification, the artist alters a photograph, using knowledge of the effects of aging, to show what a subject might

Mancusi’s acrylic painting, Take Cover, appeared on the cover of the NYPD’s magazine, Spring 3100. The image illustrated a story about how police tuck photographs of loved ones inside their caps.

look like some years in the future. It is often used in child kidnapping cases, or in situations when an

back to the kinds of inventive pieces he made in college. Still, forensic projects for the NYPD—which he refers to as his “Medici family”—continue to be the main focus of his work. He offers courses in composite art, and a book publisher recently approached him to write a how-to guide. The irony of all these unusual opportunities isn’t lost on him. “If you want to be an artist, you have to be ready to work. Most people can’t just prop up a canvas and, boom, art—like Peter Max. That’s one of the problems with art today: People

have stepped past the process, and are going for the impact. You’ve got to learn traditional art, how color works, form, composition. Then maybe you can be Peter Max.” He pauses thoughtfully, smiles, and says, “I don’t know if I’ll ever get there, but I know I’ll never be bored.”

outstanding arrest warrant exists for a subject who hasn’t been photographed for several years. There are also less serious uses for the technique. Mancusi’s age progression of Michael Jackson was originally commissioned for an ABC network segment on the singer’s

For more information on Mancusi’s work, visit

45th birthday. The journalist wanted to see how Jackson might have aged without plastic surgery.


View Finders Four prominent photographers visit the college This spring, four prominent photographers of varying backgrounds and aesthetics gave talks in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre, and visited Photography classes for Q & As and critiques of student work. The events, which were part of a series sponsored by FIT’s Diversity Council, were organized by Photography faculty members Jessica Wynne, Brian Emery, Sean Fader, and Allison Wermager, chairperson Deborah Klesenski, and Erika Muhammad, assistant dean for the School of Art and Design. Here, a quote from each photographer’s talk, along with an image he or she provided.

NIKKI S. LEE “More and more people are going to feel that they have multiple identities…. Some people ignore what they have [inside of them].” L ee, Photography ’96, is known for provocative examinations of identity. For her “Projects” series, she costumed herself to fit in with different cultural groups—Korean schoolgirls, yuppies, a rural community (shown here)—and had her photograph taken. Her work is in public collections such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Ohio Project (7), 1999

She, 1992

lorna simpson “I wanted to create images where the viewers didn’t get everything they wanted, and they had to discern through the text what it is I’m talking about.”  impson’s art, tackling issues of S gender, race, and history, includes photography, film, and mixed-media works. In 2006–07, her midcareer retrospective was shown in The Museum of Contemporary Art, in Los Angeles and The Whitney Museum in New York.

Meat (Mick-O-Matic), 1971

STEPHEN SHORE “I only take one photo per setup. It forces me to decide what I want.”

Jada, Sugar Camp Road, Saxton, PA, 2003

KATY GRANNAN “I sometimes wish my photos were half as interesting as my experiences making them…. They sometimes felt like short-lived affairs, since [my subjects’] parents or friends would’ve disapproved of them participating.”  rannan’s portraits explore loneliness, self-delusion, G and transgression. Her work was recently shown as part of Into the Sunset, a group exhibition at MoMA.

 hore, a pioneer in the use of color S and the snapshot aesthetic in fine-art photography, has been active since the 1960s when, still a teenager, he sold three photos to New York’s Museum of Modern Art. He is chairman of Bard College’s photography program.

Katy Grannan image courtesy of Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, New York; Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco; Salon 94, New York. Nikki S. Lee image courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Lorna Simpson image ©Lorna Simpson.


hue | summer 2009

a student in first person

work/Study Kurt Bell Advertising and Marketing Communications AAS ’06, BS ’10

You’re enrolled in FIT’s evening/weekend

but any kind of emergency, you name it.

managerial work—getting people together

degree program. How do you spend your

Whether it’s a severe heat wave, a construc-

and coordinating things. I let the kids have


tion crane collapsing, or someone who calls

the flashier roles, getting in front of the

I’ve worked all through my education. I’ve been

and says his lights got turned off, but he’s

camera and stuff like that.

working for the city since 1997. First, I was a

asthmatic and needs the electricity for his

clerk for the Department of Citywide Admin-

respirator. Even that airplane that landed in

You can’t leave all the fun to the 18-22

istrative Services. Then I was a liens special-

the Hudson River. Though I was at the dentist

set, though. Do you find time for any

ist, looking into people who’d received public

that day.

student activities?

Matthew Septimus

assistance for an injury, but who’d also won

Oh yes. I’m involved with the Gospel Choir.

settlements in personal injury lawsuits, to see

Sounds like a pretty solid career.

Student Life gets U.S. Open tickets, and I’ve

if we could maybe reclaim some funds. Now

Why bother with an AMC degree?

been going for the past few years. We’re up

I’m the principal administrative assistant to the

The city has a communications department

in the nosebleeds, but for really good matches

director of Emergency Intervention Services.

that runs events, ad campaigns, public

like the semifinals. Oh, and I was in Guys

awareness campaigns.... I’d like to get involved

and Dolls! That was a great experience. It

What sort of emergencies would your

with that, not necessarily on the creative end,

was maybe three years ago. I played the

office intervene in?

but working to make those projects happen.

newspaper salesman and danced in all the

Right now we’re working on the coastal storm

My classes here, especially the group projects,

big numbers.

project, preparing for hurricanes and so forth,

have helped me find out I’m really good at


Up with The Museum at FIT

Mario Federici, Chair, Production Management: Fashion and Related Industries

FIT’s supporting role in Pixar films

© Disney Pixar

What surprises my students the most? How much they have to think, solve problems, and work at it. The core of the major is learning how to set up your own company. I teach two capstone courses, one about the engineering side and one about the business side. For engineering, they start by creating a blueprint for a factory to make 10,000 units—5,000 shirts, 5,000 pants. The project includes a lighting layout, and a plumbing layout for steam to do the under-pressing and finishing. Each garment requires about 35 to 40 separate operations, and students have to learn each one. The objective is for them to be able to source domestically and globally, and know immediately what can be produced at a facility based on the available resources. The business capstone teaches everything from drafting corporate papers—certificate of incorporation, bylaws, and type of ownership— to shipping and marketing the garment. Students have to coordinate production schedule and cash flow, forecast how many units they’ll ship, and know how many stores they need to ship to in order to stay in business. Some students end up starting their own companies; others show their projects during interviews. What we teach here is exactly what the industry does, so when I get calls from graduates to thank me, they usually add, “I can’t believe I’m doing what you and the other instructors showed me in the labs. I should’ve paid more attention in class.”

Fabrics in Pixar’s Up—like the clothes and upholstery seen here—were based on samples in The Museum at FIT’s collections.

Matthew Septimus

insights from the classroom and beyond

The Factory Factor


hue | summer 2009

As assistant collections manager for textiles at The Museum at FIT, Lynn Weidner was used to handling research requests from design houses and scholars. Then, in 2003, Pixar called. The California-based animation studio was working on The Incredibles, their latest feature for Walt Disney Pictures, and looking for fabrics and patterns they could adapt for their character and set designs. The museum proved so useful that Pixar was back in 2006, this time for work on Up, their current, critically acclaimed release. To gain access to the museum’s textile collection, which has some 300,000 swatches, Pixar utilized the Design Membership program, through which researchers can visit the archives, otherwise closed to the public, and borrow up to 30 samples for 30 days at a time. “We let them leave with the fabrics,” Weidner says, “which in the museum world is unheard of.” An individual membership costs $425 per year; a corporate membership, providing access for up to three people, is $1,250. For Up and The Incredibles, Bryn Imagire—a Pixar art director who describes her work as “being an interior and fashion designer” for the studio’s fictional worlds— made multiple visits. With Weidner and other Pixar art directors, she set aside the hundreds of swatches that inspired the color, pattern, and texture of everything from one character’s capri pants to another’s couch upholstery. Though Imagire’s work has taken her deep into the Venezuelan wilderness and on tours of historic California neighborhoods, she reserves special affection for her time at The Museum at FIT. “It’s one of my favorite parts of the research,” she says. “Just sitting there and going through all these fabrics…. I love it.”

Meet Locally

Globally Four students, four countries, four meals Text and photos by Greg Herbowy

FIT boasts a rare sort of college town, one that provides nearly all comers with one of the great comforts of home— its food. This academic year, nearly 800, or eight percent, of FIT’s students were internationals, citizens of 64 countries, from Angola to Vietnam. No matter how far they traveled to get here, few, if any, found themselves far from a restaurant or grocer selling the foods they grew up with. The college’s 365 South Korean students were just a few blocks from the barbecues of Manhattan’s Koreatown, and a Bangladeshi or Pakistani student (FIT enrolled one and four, respectively) could hop the 7 train to Jackson Heights in Queens for a dish of biryani or dal.

This spring, with the help of Arnaldo Vidal, head of the Office of International Student Advisors, I asked four students from four corners of the world to share a meal with me. We would eat the food of their country, and they could switch roles from visitor to host, introducing an outsider to their culture and personal history.

One offered to cook. Another expressed

doubts that his country’s food was sold outside its borders. One, newly arrived, asked me to find a place that served her favorites. Another had a favorite spot already in mind. In company and cuisine, I traveled the world, but each encounter was an experience distinctly of the city, and of FIT.


Trinidad & Tobago Kayran AbAsali Production Management: Fashion and Related Industries ’09

Belarus Andrei Prakurat Graphic Design ’10

“Can my friend ride with us?”

In a Russian grocery in Brooklyn’s

Kayran Abasali is taking me to

Brighton Beach, Andrei Prakurat

Sugarcane, a Trinidadian restau-

looks over the beverages, picking

rant in Brooklyn, and Dominique,

out a tar-colored drink called kvass.

her childhood friend, lives just off

“In my town,” he says, “there was a

the subway line that takes us there.

woman who sold this on the street.

Of course, I say, and the two

She had a tank of it on wheels and

spend the trip telling me all about

one glass that everyone drank from.

their Caribbean country: how its

It was so good.”

abolition of slavery created a labor

He puts the bottle back. “Well,”

vacuum, drawing indentured

he amends, “good for Belarusians.”

servants from India; how Tobago,

Prakurat is from Belarus, an

the smaller of the republic’s two

Eastern European country and

islands, is the tourist destination,

former member of the Soviet Union.

whereas Trinidad has more

tuition money, and how she’s torn

He was eight when the country

he says of his native country, but

industry; how Trinidad has the

between pursuing a bachelor’s

became independent, and all he

it’s clear it’s no longer his home.

world’s largest tar lake.

degree in international trade or

remembers changing in everyday

We leave the grocery for the

Sugarcane is full. Abasali takes

in political science. Trinidad and

life were its objects—police cars a

nearby Ocean Café. Prakurat

in the scene. Spotting another

Tobago’s government, established

new color, well-made Russian

appraises the menu, skeptical.

friend from home, she excuses

in 1962, is young, she explains, and

textbooks swapped for error-riddled

“There are some American things

herself to say hello. She returns,

there’s a lot of opportunity to make

Belarusian ones, different money.

on this.” But doubts are allayed

recognizes the manager, and dives

a difference.

Some years back, his sister married

with the arrival of hearty bread

back into the dining room. Once

Outside the restaurant, we pass

an American, settling in New Jersey.

(U.S. bread, Prakurat frowns, is too

we’re seated, she sights a third

two men. I walk a few steps before

This qualified his retirement-age

often “all air”), cream-laden beef

acquaintance, also from Trinidad.

realizing Abasali has stopped to

parents for green cards and,

stroganoff, and a plate of fried

“Oh!” she says. “Do you mind if I

talk with one of them. Moments

recently, citizenship. Prakurat, who

mushrooms and potatoes, the last

go say hi?”

later, she catches up.

has been in the U.S. on a student

a staple growing up, he explains,

Abasali knows “maybe 150”

“I went to high school with

visa for seven years, was enrolled

because its ingredients could be

Trinidadians in the city. Many,

him,” she says, smiling.

at a New Jersey community college

foraged and farmed.

like her, are multiracial, compos-

when he discovered FIT, visiting

When we finish, Prakurat buys

ites of the island’s several ethnic

the campus with a girlfriend who

a tarragon soda for the trip back

groups, the result of centuries of

wanted to apply here. He is now

to New Jersey. On the train, he

trade and colonialism. Our dinner,

the only one in his family with a

shows me his class sketchbook and

accordingly, is a melting-pot mix:

Belarusian passport. “I miss a lot,”

talks about the paths to American

Spanish-style cod fritters with

citizenship. “U.S. immigration

tartar sauce; Creole oxtails,

laws,” he says, shaking his head.

macaroni pie, and callaloo, a thick

“They change every day.” He

soup of greens; plantains, a staple

cracks the soda, takes a tentative

of tropical climes; and roti, a West

first sip.

Indian flatbread encasing a curried

It’s just as he remembers it, he

chicken and vegetable stew.

reports, and good.

Abasali talks about her Eileen Fisher internship; about how Trinidadian designer Mei Ling, with whom she worked while in high school, recommended FIT to her; about her stint assisting Trinidad’s minister of transportation to earn


hue | summer 2009

Sugarcane’s macaroni pie and plantains.

Brighton eats: stroganoff and fried mushrooms.



Nadia Girsang grew up in

Festac Grill, named for a ’70s-era

Jakarta, capital city of Indonesia,

Nigerian festival, is in Brooklyn’s

a sprawling archipelago of 17,000-

East New York, a 50-minute subway

plus islands and the world’s largest

ride and seven-minute walk from

Muslim-majority nation. Her

FIT. For Olakunbi Oyelese, this

father is descended, she says, from

constitutes something of a trek. In

a fearsome Sumatran people. He

Lagos, her hometown and Nigeria’s

owns a printing press and works

capital, she’s accustomed to driving

for Indonesia’s government. Her

everywhere—no mass transit, no

mother, Javanese royalty, is a

walking. Since arriving at the

retirement-home caregiver in

college in January for a one-year

Seattle, where Girsang’s younger

program, she’s scarcely left

brother studies nursing. Girsang


Nadia Girsang Advertising and Marketing Communications ’10

studied there, too—one year of

Olakunbi Oyelese Fashion Design ’09

But then, she’s scarcely had time.

community college—before

American culture has limits, too.

Our lunch appointment is a rare

transferring to FIT in fall 2008.

She likes U.S. horror movies,

break for Oyelese, who’d normally

the largest West African ethnicities

“Seattle’s depressing,” she says.

but prefers those from Japan and

spend this Saturday afternoon as

and, she says, the most welcoming

“New York is like Jakarta, except

South Korea: “Much scarier.” She

she does nearly all her waking

to outsiders. Her family itself is

more ordered. Seven-year-olds

worries about the widespread

hours—working on assignments

exceedingly large—her father alone

smoke cigarettes in Jakarta. People

influence of Western standards of

for class. She was up until 3 am

has eight siblings, all of whom

hang off the sides of buses. You

beauty. And she’s largely unim-

the night before, making a dress.

Oyelese estimates have five children

can YouTube ‘driving in Jakarta’

pressed with the food—the appeal

A similar schedule is planned for

each. One cousin, American-born,

and see.”

of pizza, for example, is lost on her.

today. She kept long hours in

is an FIT graduate who introduced

One rainy day, Girsang invites

Lagos, too—earning a communica-

her to the college.

me to her Harlem apartment for a

tions degree, working jobs with

The waitress, ignoring me, bends

home-cooked meal. “Just prepare

a radio station and a beverage

to Oyelese’s ear, murmuring.

your stomach,” she warns. “It’s a

distributor—but has never been as

“Is it really spicy?” Oyelese asks.

bit spicy.” After a shopping trip to

dedicated to something as she is

The waitress shakes her head.

Chinatown—Girsang’s “treasure

to fashion. “All I want,” she says,

“OK. And some plantains.”

chest,” where $20 buys her a

“is to see someone on the street

Along with the plantains, we eat

week’s groceries—and a half-hour

wearing my design.”

chicken and jollof, or rice, cooked

in the kitchen, she lays out plates

In Festac, a TV blasts a Nigerian

in the same peppery, tomato-based

of sautéed kangkung, a leafy green;

movie. Oyelese watches for a bit.

sauce. “This is good, but I can do

ikan teri, or dried anchovies; and

“It’s so strange hearing my native

better,” Oyelese says, lamenting

language.” Oyelese is Yoruba, one of

rice. The kangkung, taste and

that her residence hall room,

texture, is like watercress, the

shared with a Colombian, lacks a

ikan teri unsurprisingly fishy, with

proper kitchen. She tried making

a jerky-like chew. Both are dosed

jollof once; the experience was

In Indonesia, Girsang earned

with enough garlic and red chilies

enough to put her off trying again.

money writing love-advice columns

to smelt iron.

Our plates are cleared. Oyelese

for a teen magazine and a romance

Girsang ignores the meal,

wonders if it would be hard finding

novel for a young-adult publisher.

half-watching an anime DVD as

a cab back to FIT. The waitress,

She is unaccountably blasé about

she picks her way through some

leaning again toward Oyelese,

these accomplishments, and claims

hot-wing- and blue-cheese Doritos.

whispers our bill.

both were exercises in frustration.

“Want the blue cheese?” She offers

Home-cooked Indonesian food in Harlem.

“Indonesian love stories always

the bag. “I only eat the hot ones.”

have happy endings. That’s not

For Girsang’s recipes, visit www.fitnyc.

how life is.” Her enthusiasm for


Chicken and rice, West African style.


hatever you do, don’t tell them they’re on a catwalk.” With this plea, Joan Volpe, managing coordinator of the Center for Professional Studies, unleashed a show of fashions for dogs that put the wow in bow-wow-wow. Eleven pups paraded in 22 creations by students in the center’s new certificate program, Pet Product Design and Marketing. Every type of canine couture— from raincoats to wedding gowns— appeared; only the cat’s pajamas failed to make the cut. Laugh all you want, but pet products represent serious money. The American Pet Products Association predicts annual spending will hit $45.4 billion in 2009, and Volpe says this niche seems recession-proof. Gucci, Prada, Ralph Lauren, and Kate Spade are among top brands already in the market. Further, FIT’s existing programs position the college to take advantage of this opportunity. (See sidebar.) “FIT graduates already have the right skills; they just have to adapt them to another species. That’s what this new program teaches,” Volpe says. “The materials, sizing, and production specifications are different. The pet’s ‘lifestyle’ matters. And there are different health and safety issues.” Embarking on a new venture is always a challenge, so the April 22 show received top-dog promotion from a special events class taught by Linda Finnerty, assistant professor, Advertising and Marketing Communications. Students branded the event by creating a theme (Bark Is the New Black) and designing a logo for posters and T-shirts. They wrote press releases, scripted and emceed the show, covered the runway with Astroturf, styled the dogs, and outfitted their dressing room with donated wee-wee pads. Students also created gift bags, and for one of the items to fill them, baked 400 cookies and iced them—with a paw-print, of course. 20

hue | summer 2009

Life is ruff: Designer Rose Anne Warner’s reconstructed and felted (human) vintage sweater with mother-of-pearl buttons and crocheted flower adorns Babs, a French (and très chic) bulldog.

A howl of a show announces FIT’s new program, Pet Product Design and Marketing By Alex Joseph Photographs by Paul Whicheloe

You can’t head off to the hydrant in just any old thing. Felix, an Italian greyhound, is dressed for evening in a dark brown stretch velvet shirt by Jana Duda, and beaded neck cuff by Margaret Nawrot.

Chihuahua Vanilla Salt sets tongues and tails wagging in Ada Nieves’ satin and hand-beaded lace gown and feathered top hat from the designer’s Moulin Rouge collection.

Do I scent couture? Designer Gladys Delgado-Garced repurposed a vintage silk shirt for Pierre the Maltese’s outfit.

Ask AMC faculty members and program co-facilitators Janet Brav and Deborah David about opportunities for FIT grads in the pet product market, and they’ll say you’re barking up the right tree. The six-course Pet Product Design and Marketing noncredit certificate program relates to many of the college’s offerings, such as:

Fur? Sure. Cherubino, a bichon frise, repels the damp elements in Gladys Delgado-Garced’s cotton and clear vinyl raincoat with blue cotton trim.

Put your paws together for Lily the papillon in Jennifer Schofield’s denim day dress and hoodie, with nylon ruffle, steel chain with plastic star charms, skull patch, and rhinestones.

Accessories Design…carry bags, hats, footwear AMC…marketing, PR, journalism Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing…scents, grooming products Direct and Interactive Marketing…internet and catalogue sales Fashion Design…apparel Fashion Merchandising Management… product development, merchandising, retailing, licensing Home Products Development…beds, bowls, mats International Trade and Marketing…sourcing, import/export Jewelry Design…collars, tags, jewelry Textile Development and Marketing… specialized fabrics and designs Toy Design…toys Opportunities also exist in Packaging Design, Interior Design, and Photography.


One Smart

Cookie Carolyn Kremins, Advertising and

Communications ’83, brings publishing expertise to a parenting magazine

By Alexander Gelfand


sk Carolyn Kremins, vice president and publisher of Cookie, Condé Nast’s lifestyle magazine for moms, about the publication’s audience, and you won’t get statistics, impressive though they are. (Median age, 35.3, median household income, $80,616: precisely the kind of demographic that advertisers love.) Instead, you’ll get a detailed portrait of a mother you might actually recognize—and one that Kremins knows intimately. “She had kids later in life,” says Kremins, herself the mother of two young daughters. “She wants to be beautiful. The magazine is about all the stuff she loves but no longer has time for—fashion, travel, beauty, food.” Before Cookie’s launch in 2005, most magazines aimed at mothers offered practical information on child-rearing (sibling rivalry, potty training). Cookie was different: a lifestyle magazine that treated mothers like women who also happened to have kids. A recent issue featured actress Salma Hayek on the cover and included articles on sexy weekend-getaway clothing and a 15-minute makeover that let a “style-starved mother of two” remember what it felt like to be “the only babe in the room.” Since taking the managerial reins in 2007, Kremins has helped increase circulation by 67 percent, and in 2008—an annus horribilis for magazine publishing—ad-page counts were up ten percent, and Cookie was number one on Adweek’s “Hot List” of consumer magazines. Not bad, considering other titles were enduring layoffs or shutting down;


hue | summer 2009

but not surprising, either, given Kremins’s history. In 1996, while serving as advertising director for Bon Appétit, Kremins helped Britain’s Dennis Publishing launch the American version of Maxim. Translating the quintessential British “lad mag” into a product for American advertisers was not an obvious assignment for a woman who was once the beauty director at Elle and House and Garden, but Kremins saw an opportunity. None of the younger men she knew actually read the more staid men’s magazines like GQ and Esquire, and Maxim’s irreverent style filled an unsatisfied need. “The currency between men is humor,” she says, and Maxim was funny, with a libidinous outlook that never quite crossed the line into porn. “Some women would be offended by it,

but I thought it was hysterical,” she says. A lot of men agreed, and before long, Kremins was group publisher of Maxim, Maxim Fashion, and Maxim Online. In 2002, when Maxim was number one on the Hot List, Dennis asked Kremins to run The Week, a compendium of stories culled from newspapers around the world. Launched in the U.S. in 2001, The Week hadn’t yet found its legs in the American market, and Kremins believed that it suffered from an image problem. “As an editorial product, The Week was perfect,” she says. “But the way it was marketed didn’t do it justice. Most people thought of it as Cliffs Notes.” So she repositioned it as a newsweekly with added value: “We likened it to a presidential briefing. That’s how we elevated the brand,” she explains. By 2006, it too had

leapt to the top of the Hot List. Kremins’s role at The Week exemplifies her view that a publisher should be primarily concerned with branding, marketing, and most important, raising revenue. Magazines depend on advertising: Subscriptions and newsstand sales are secondary and serve chiefly to attract advertisers through circulation numbers. Sometimes, the line between publisher and editor may blur, especially when both are trying to define the publication and find its ideal audience. “The editor has the ultimate choice about what goes in the magazine,” Kremins says. “But we are all business people, and you want to have a successful business.” When working on the launches of Maxim and Cookie, Kremins says, she and the editors worked as a team: While they conducted focus groups to find out what readers thought, she polled advertisers. “Why should advertisers pay money to be in your magazine? The publisher has to package the concept and market the magazine in a way that is attractive to them,” Kremins says. “There’s a huge responsibility for the publisher to build up the revenue stream.” If that sounds a lot like sales, it is. And Kremins knows how to sell. She came to FIT in 1982 to complete a special four-year program that earned her a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oneonta and an associate’s degree in Advertising and Communications from FIT. Growing up on Long Island, she had dreamed of working as an account

Cookie appeals to stylish moms.

“People say that print is dead. Honestly, it’s not.” — Caroline Kremins

executive on Madison Avenue. But a stint in the media department at Foote Cone and Belden persuaded her that the life of an ad exec wasn’t for her—and that sales might be more fun. “I always had the sales people coming in, and they seemed so happy,” she says. So she co-founded the New York sales office of Shape, selling ads for the fitness magazine out of an apartment at Madison and 31st. Four years later, she was beauty director for Elle, responsible for every piece of beauty advertising in the magazine. When Condé Nast offered her the same position at House and Garden in 1997, she didn’t hesitate. “It’s like the Ivy League of publishing,” she says of her current employer. When HG folded seven months later, Kremins landed her first management position as advertising director at Bon Appétit, a position that served as finishing school for her subsequent career in publishing. “When I got my first management gig, that was different,” she says. “You then have to learn the full trade.” For a publisher, the “full trade” includes the day-to-day task of overseeing ad sales around the country, along with broader issues like helping your publication find its audience. When she joined Cookie in 2007, it was “almost a W magazine for moms,” with a “niche, Madison Avenue focus.” Kremins and editor Pilar Guzman sought to cultivate a larger audience by broadening the range of products that the magazine covered to include both budget and upscale brands—or as Kremins says, from Target to Prada. Kremins also initiated Word of Mom, a “credentialing program” that allows readers to vote online for their favorite products and services, with winners receiving a Readers’ Choice seal that marketers can include in their advertising. Readers get to feel that they are part of a community whose opinions matter, and advertisers get a powerful sales tool. That approach helped secure Cookie a position in Adweek’s “10 Under 60 List” for 2009, which recognizes the top magazines with under $60 million in annual revenue—this at a time when most publications are being pummeled by a serious recession and a paradigm shift away from print and toward online media. Kremins believes that Cookie has fared relatively well in part because it carries such a broad range of advertising; magazines dedicated to homes or finance, for example, have collapsed along with those sectors. It also benefits from a website replete with online shopping opportunities and social networking tools (the magazine has its own Facebook and Twitter presence), one that complements rather than cannibalizes its print offering. According to Kremins, ads in the print magazine drive online shopping activity through the site—a good example of synergy. As a result, this serial entrepreneur continues to believe in the future of pulp and paper. “A lot of people say that print is dead,” she says. “Honestly, it’s not.” Given her track record, it’s tempting to give her the benefit of the doubt.


Written by Alex, with Linda and Ben ’93 (Brini) Photographs by Bradford Noble


hue | summer 2009

Hi, people.

I was

just chatting with Amanda Doll Sheppard ’04 and Lucia Tait ’04. They’re designing a marvelous private shopping excursion for me, Brini Maxwell. My new line of home products — including these darling pillows — debuts tonight, and I’ve got to be as glamorous as possible. But I’m a very lucky girl, because Amanda and Lucia’s business, Coup de Coeur, matches clients with the perfect designers, stores, and The Coup de Coeur gals have insider’s knowledge and an amazing network. They make everything so easy and luxurious! We’re off to my first appointment—to look at pearls!

services! Why didn’t you think of that?

The creations of Amy Kim-Araneo ’94, Mikimoto’s vice president of design, are so exquisite I’m all aflutter! Look at those South Sea pearls and diamonds. $255,000! I’d better get a second coffee can and start saving my pennies.

There’s More...


When a girl needs to make an impression, she’s got to hit just the right notes. Bettina O’Neill ’91, the vice president and divisional merchandise manager of cosmetics for Barneys, has a genius for scent. She recommended Carrière by Gendarme—lemon and lime, bergamot and lavender that dries down to warm jasmine and gentle lilac. She said, “It’s very clean and fresh, while being very feminine. There are a lot of green notes, but with a powdery finish. It’s a very ladylike scent, with a no-nonsense attitude. The finish is very warm and sexy.” Perfect!

“If you want an unusual hat, something that really says wow, your must-see milliner is Gretchen Fenston ’92,” Lucia told me. She was right. We could have sampled chapeaux all day.

Dramatis Personae Stylist for Brini: Hagen Linss

Photography assistants: David J. Barron and Elizabeth Waugh Ben Sander, Fashion Design ’93, is Brini Maxwell, a character he created in 1995. A domestic guru à la Martha Stewart who celebrates all things midcentury, Brini starred in her own show on the Style Network. Her book, Brini Maxwell’s Guide to Gracious Living, provides tips, hints, and recipes so readers can emulate the Brini lifestyle. Sander’s home decor line is available through his website: Lucia M. Tait, Advertising and Marketing Communications ’04, and Amanda Doll Sheppard, Fashion Merchandising Management ’04, are Coup de Coeur, a company that creates customized private shopping excursions in New York: Amy Kim-Araneo, Jewelry Design ’94, is vice president of design and product development at Mikimoto America. Jewelry designed by Kim-Araneo: White South Sea baroque cultured pearl bracelet with diamonds in 18k white gold, $46,000.


hue | summer 2009

White South Sea baroque cultured pearl ring with diamonds in 18k white gold, $30,000. South Sea and colored freshwater cultured pearl necklace with diamonds in 18k white gold, $255,000. Bettina O’Neill, Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing ’91, is vice president and divisional merchandise manager of cosmetics for Barneys New York. Gretchen Fenston, Fashion Design ’81 and Museum Studies: Costume and Textiles ’92, creates custom millinery. Prices upon request:

Facing page: Brini’s wool and cashmere

winter-white, fit-and-flair coat is from the fall ’08 collection by George Simonton, Fashion Design ’65. Simonton’s line sells at Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, and Saks, and on QVC. Simonton has taught Fashion Design at FIT for 25 years. Thanks to Gil Neary for the use of his vintage Rolls-Royce, and for appearing in the last photo.

All dressed up and ready for my big night. It might be chilly, but I’m warm and confident in my luxurious coat by George Simonton ’65. My future looks bright and I’m striding boldly into it. And imagine: So many people who helped me today were FIT alumni, just like me!


1975 delbra miller, fashion design,

runs Delbra Miller Designs,

a custom gown design shop catering to a predominantly

Kid Stuff Sandra Stollar, Apparel Production Management ’86

Arab clientele in Syracuse, NY. Miller began making prom and wedding gowns on her own 12 years ago. She also teaches at Syracuse’s Peterson Sewing School. lisa diez stein, textile technology,

designed knitwear and

sportswear in New York City for ten years before moving to Atlanta to establish L.A. Stein Jewelry. Today, Stein’s the world, adorning celebrities like Jessica Alba and Usher.

Michael Keel

news from your classmates

hand-forged gold-and-gemstone pieces are sold around

Stollar’s daughter Cailin (center) designed this dress and the character, Wonowi.

Necklaces by Lisa Stein: Crystal quartz with diamonds on a gold chain (left), gold “Queenie” crown heart pendants.

In 2003, Brittany, then eight, didn’t much like the girls’ wear on offer. So she turned to her mother, who was working in real estate but had 20 years of experience in the garment


industry, and said, “Mommy, let’s start something!”

gerri giovanelli bauer, advertising and communications,


And so they did. Brittany and her friends dreamed up a series of characters—Sour-

a communications specialist and PR web editor at Stetson

puss, Tardy Turtle, and Guppy Puppy—that Stollar embroidered onto a handful of items.

University, in DeLand, FL, where she edits and writes for

Stollar then reached out to the contacts she had made working in technical design,

university publications, works with external media, and

product development, and quality control for companies like Macy’s and Maggie London,

helps plan PR strategy and initiatives. Prior to joining

and Igloo Island was born. Brittany and her younger sister, Cailin, chose the name: To

Stetson, Bauer enjoyed a 27-year career in journalism.

them, “igloo” hints at the Russian heritage of their father (Mark Stollar, who has taught

1987 and merchandising ,

marketing at FIT), while “island” refers to Stollar’s Jamaican roots.


kim dankner, fashion buying


lila julian, textile develop ment and marketing ,


The company remains a family affair. Stollar works out of their Manhattan home,

designing comfortable, fashion-forward clothes for girls aged four to 14. Her primary market is the tween set. Her daughters both play an active role in the design process,

in the music, film, and

at a textile mill and sold

and Stollar credits them with helping her craft fun, wearable outfits that allow young

talent industries in New

office furniture before

girls “not to look like little kids, but still be kids.”

York and Los Angeles

founding The Julian Group,

before attending Columbia

a manufacturer’s represen-

will wear,” Stollar says. “For the most part, they are the market.” The girls and their

University for a BA in Eng-

tative firm focusing on

friends model for the line’s promotional images (Brittany, now 13, dances in the Alvin

lish. She’s now a certified

commercial interiors, eight

Ailey Junior Troupe, while Cailin, 9, has acted alongside Denis Leary in the popular

human resources profes-

years ago. She now sells her

FX show Rescue Me), and their pals also participate in informal focus groups.

sional providing consulting

clients’ environmentally

services to companies like

sustainable fabrics and

plush hoodies and sweats. Igloo Island is available in shops from Florida to Illinois, and

Fandango and Teleflora.

furnishings to architects

online at Prices range from $49 to $150. Stollar plans to offer a few

and designers working in

boys’ items this year.

healthcare and hospitality settings.

“They tell me what they think is hip, what they think isn’t, and what their friends

The fruits of their collaborative efforts include colorful dresses, ruffled skirts, and

1993 lisa puslinelli-vote, fashion design,



It wasn’t Sandra Stollar’s idea to design children’s wear. It was her daughter Brittany’s.


—Alexander Gelfand

1994 kathleen baldwin, marketing: fashion and

launched Mixed Greens, an online

related industries, fashion buying and

patrice lasky brancato, marketing: fashion and related

eco-boutique designed to meet the

merchandising ’92 ,

industries, fashion buying and merchandising ’85 ,

is global

is merchandise manager

growing demand for fashion-driven,

for the Ann Taylor factory stores. Baldwin

marketing manager for Sun Microsystems. She started

environmentally friendly products. The

establishes seasonal strategies, scouts new

in retail and worked for a handbag manufacturer before

shop offers a wide range of clothing,

store locations, and helps drive $92 million

joining the tech giant, where she oversees advertising,

accessories, and lifestyle products with

worth of business in sweaters, knits, and

events, and websites relating to its servers and storage

a focus on sustainability, local manufac-

accessories. She’s also a member of the FIT


ture, and fair-trade practices.

Alumni Association’s board of directors.

hue | summer 2009

1995 justin borucki, photography,

Following the Threads

is a Brooklyn-based photogra-

Babi Gill Ahluwalia, Textile Development and Marketing ’96

pher and former photo editor for Guitar World and

Sachin Ahluwalia, Fashion Design ’96

Revolver magazines whose work encompasses CD covers (My Chemical Romance), magazine spreads (Time Out

Ankasa, a firm known for the high-end linens and

New York, Rolling Stone), and promotional materials (MTV,

home furnishings it sells in its Manhattan store and 400

PETA). This October, Borucki’s images will be on view

outlets worldwide, started out in a small loft near FIT.

alongside photos by Richard Avedon, Mick Rock, and more

Combining their concentrations in fashion and textiles,

in Who Shot Rock, a Brooklyn Museum exhibition.

husband-and-wife team Sachin and Babi Ahluwalia began creating specialty fabrics for upscale fashion houses. “What we do is surface texture,” Babi says.

The Ahluwalias, who met at FIT, grew up in India’s fashion industry. Sachin’s mother designed and manufactured saris in her Mumbai factory. Babi’s mother produced children’s wear in Delhi. Those same factories

Ankasa necklaces and readyto-wear are sold at Calypso and Fred Segal.

now turn out the sophisticated threadwork that is Ankasa’s signature. Oscar de la Renta was an early client; Beyoncé and Dr. Phil are fans. Sachin, who earned an undergraduate degree in business and economics in India before

attending FIT, says, “Because we control everything—design, dyeing, stitching, embroidery—we can bring things in at a lower price point.” Silk bedding is $1,200 a set; the same design runs $325 in cotton.

In late 2007, they launched Sachin & Babi for Ankasa, a ready-to-wear line, which

WWD hailed as “luxe attitude at a contemporary price point.” Tunics start at $200, longer pieces and caftans sell for up to $350. “Our clothing is made of silk, Italian linen,” Sachin says. “It’s very well priced.” The line is currently sold at Bloomingdale’s and high-end boutiques from Dubai to New York. Calypso is showcasing it in 18 stores this summer. Ankasa’s store is being renovated to make room for it, and the firm plans to open ten boutiques, selling both furnishings and clothing, in cities from Los Angeles to Atlanta by 2011.

Sachin is the “design maestro,” Babi says, and he returns the compliment: She’s

“my muse and ideal customer, a confident woman with a discerning sense of style.” They

Chris Cornell, photographed by Justin Borucki for Guitar World.

exchange ideas and make modifications until both are satisfied with a design. Sachin oversees production in India. Babi runs the New York operation during his absence.

1996 mary jo milchanoski, market-

enrique paz , advertising

ing: fashion and related


industries, fashion buying

production manager for

and merchandising ’94 ,


is a print and web

Is it hard to be partners in both business and marriage? (The pair have two young

daughters.) Sometimes they can’t stop talking about business, Sachin admits. “But it’s work we love, so it’s okay. This is the most exciting time of our lives.” —Kathleen A. Kelly

Baseline Design, a graphic

in retail merchandising and

communications firm in

field management at Pier 1

New York City, where he

Imports in California,

produces everything

training employees in

from brochures to websites

sales and customer service

for their Goldman Sachs

and overseeing seasonal

and Citi accounts. He also

merchandising and displays.

teaches in FIT’s Communi-

Milchanoski previously

cation Design program.

worked in publishing and was integrated marketing director for Wired magazine.

1998 jennifer skowronski olives, textile /surface design,


as a product manager for the “social expression” industry,

Sachin and Babi Ahluwalia design furniture and home furnishings, as well as jewelry and clothes.

accessories for national retail distribution. Before going solo, Olives developed similar products as a staffer at Glitterwrap and International Greetings USA.

Nevil Dwek

helping to develop gift bags, gift wraps, and party






mindy beacher nirenberg ,

dana chin, fashion merchan -

rosemarie campano auleta ,

kelly thomas, fashion

fashion merchandising

mechandising management,

news from your classmates

toy design, fine arts ’97,


dising management,


a senior designer at Cudlie

in retail management


Accessories, a children’s

(Lord & Taylor, H&M)

assistant to Abbey Doneger,

Brothers in New York City,

accessories company. She

and earned an MBA before

longtime friend of FIT and

working in events, philan-

designs baby apparel, bath

joining American Greetings

president of The Doneger

thropic outreach, and

items, packaging, displays,

as a sales analyst. Now an

Group, which provides

sponsorships—like outfitting

and more. An accessories

assistant product manager

market analysis and merch-

the cast of CW’s Gossip Girl.

veteran, she’s also created

for Christmas gift pack-

andising strategies for the

She’s also founder of the

sunglasses, jewelry, hair

aging, she’s responsible for

fashion industry. Auleta, a

young leadership committee

accessories, and stationery.

the creation, production,

former market analyst for

for Services for the

distribution, and promotion

ladies outerwear, prepares

UnderServed, benefit com-

of various product lines.

reports and financial data,

mittee co-chair for i.HUG

trains and supervises

(International Help Uganda

support staff, and handles

Grow), and co-chair of the young professional committee

customer relations.

of Opportunity Network.

2002 alissa frazer, jewelry design

and illustration, is owner

of Agrigento Designs, which produces both a couture

is executive

is a PR specialist for Brooks

Kelly Thomas (left) with A Chorus Line’s Jessica Lee Goldyn at a Brooks Brothers event.

line—sterling silver pieces coated in platinum or gold,


with genuine gemstones—and a costume line. Both are

lisa weiss, fashion merchandising management,

featured at the Fragments store in Manhattan’s SoHo.

début, a Manhattan boutique showcasing work by

merchandising management,

emerging designers, in May 2008. Each season, Weiss

got her executive assistant

features collections, one-of-a-kind pieces, and accessories

job at Sergio Rossi, a Gucci

by designers from Australia to Brooklyn, giving each his

Group footwear brand,

or her own dedicated space in the gallery-like shop.

through her FIT internship


emily brickel , fashion

advisor. In addition to serving as assistant to the president, CEO, and creative director, Brickel is office and showroom manager at Gucci’s Yves Saint Laurent building on Fifth Avenue. elizabeth zelinski, graphic design, communication design ’05 ,

is a graphic

designer in the marketing Jenny Ebert

and communications Ellis in New York City.

Alissa Frazer’s School of Fish necklace, sterling silver dipped in platinum with white jade pebble.

In addition to designing

gwendolyn houston, home

communications, Zelinski

Miami International

the Manhattan logistics

Jonathan Wallen

is an adjunct at


marketing , fashion merchan -


internal print and online

whitney ash huttig , fashion

products development and

dising management ’00 ,

University of Art and Design, teaching both

fulfillment supervisor at

hand-drawn and computer-

the Container Store.

aided fashion illustration.

Among her many responsi-

She was previously a

bilities, she writes training

designer at Excel Hand-

materials, leads training

bags, a Miami-based

is an assistant at PR Consulting in Manhattan. She assists

sessions, and trains other

private label company.

with public relations and marketing activities—product

Lisa Weiss’s boutique, début, is on Mulberry Street in Manhattan.

pher and videographer, shooting corporate headshots and videos for worldwide distribution.

alexandra de lara, advertising and marketing communications,

sample send-outs, event planning, and competitive

adjunct in FIT’s Home

intelligence research—for beauty accounts like Gucci

Products Development

fragrances and Dolce & Gabbana cosmetics.

hue | summer 2009

is the company’s photogra-


trainers. She’s also an



department at CB Richard

Elizabeth Zelinski crafted this logo for CBRE’s philanthropy program.

Inside Story Isabel Toledo sources of inspiration

Fashion Design

What inspires me is process—how a thing comes to be, not the thing itself. That’s why my designs are so technical. I don’t have fantasies or stories in my head, I have techniques. It’s not about images. I mean, of course I’m looking at art all day long and watching Ruben paint. That’s inspiring. But if I’m looking at a building, it’s not the shape that interests me; it’s, ‘How is that wall standing there?’ If I have to think about a human, I’m fascinated by its bones. If I’m looking at a stitch, I’m imagining how to use the stitch, not how the dress will look. It’s all about, ‘How do I put this together?’ I love puzzles. If I make a kite of a garment—big around the body—I’m thinking about the body of the woman, how she stands, how she moves. So I’ll anchor it from under the bust up to the shoulder. I’ll make the dress hug her. I think it’s very romantic, the craft of how things are made.

Toledo, who studied at FIT in the early ’80s, is the subject of a retrospective exhibition that runs through September 26 at The Museum at FIT. She and her husband, artist and illustrator Ruben Toledo, have worked together since 1984.

Photograph by William Palmer

Pictured: Apron dress, spring/summer 1997. Purple, azure, and blue ombré silk chiffon.

What inspires you? Email the editors at


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

Environmental Savings for Hue SUMMER 2009 59 trees preserved/planted 170 lbs waterborne waste not created 24,937 gallons wastewater flow saved 2,759 lbs solid waste not generated 5,433 lbs net greenhouse gases prevented 41,852,000 BTUs energy not consumed Printed by Monroe Litho Inc. Monroe Litho is certified by the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP), and is an EPA Green Power Partner operating on 100% renewable windpower since 2006. Printed on Mohawk Options PC100 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.

Hue Summer 2009  

volume 2 | number 3

Hue Summer 2009  

volume 2 | number 3