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: email@example.com
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: fitnyc.edu/hue
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
On FIT’s website, www.fitnyc.edu Continuing and Professional Studies: fitnyc.edu/continuinged 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Go to fitnyc.edu/hue 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.
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
Email your story to email@example.com, 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.
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.
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
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
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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.
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
Class of ’09 takes center Stage
Self-portrait by forensic artist and retired First-Grade Detective Stephen Mancusi, Illustration â€™81.
Stephen Mancusi, Illustration ’81, helps put the bad guys behind bars By Robin Catalano
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
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 www.forartist.com.
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
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
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,
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.
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.”
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
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
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.
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,
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.
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.
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 â€™93 (Brini) Photographs by Bradford Noble
hue | summer 2009
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.
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: felixpopuli.com. 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: www.coupdecoeurny.com. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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
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 mytinycloset.com. 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.
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 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,
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-
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.
helping to develop gift bags, gift wraps, and party
mindy beacher nirenberg ,
dana chin, fashion merchan -
rosemarie campano auleta ,
kelly thomas, fashion
news from your classmates
toy design, fine arts ’97,
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
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
of Opportunity Network.
2002 alissa frazer, jewelry design
and illustration, is owner
of Agrigento Designs, which produces both a couture
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
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
the Manhattan logistics
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
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
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 email@example.com
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volume 2 | number 3