University of Fashion Blog

Category "Fashion Art"

Are you ready to design using Procreate?

(Preview of our Introduction to Procreate for Fashion Design lesson)

Not since the invention of the pencil have creative professionals and aspiring fashion designers been so excited about a tool. Launched on the App Store in 2011, Procreate is a raster graphics editor app for digital painting developed and published by Savage Interactive for iOS and iPadOS. Designed in response to the artistic possibilities of the iPad, fashion designers have taken to this technology as a method of getting their ideas down quickly and conveniently. The software is now offered in English, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese and Turkish.

(Preview of our Drawing the Female Frontal Croquis Pose in Procreate)

It is with great pleasure that we introduce Monica Merino. Monica teaches our three new beginner lessons in Procreate: Introduction Drawing the Female Frontal Croquis Pose in Procreate, Drawing the Female Frontal Croquis Pose in Procreate and Drawing the Male Frontal Croquis Pose in Procreate.

(UoF Instructor Monica Merino)

Monica Merino brings her unique professional experience to University of Fashion, as a designer of millinery, dolls, fashion apparel and as a high school and college educator.

Throughout her career as a New Jersey fashion design high school instructor, Monica’s students earned 85 Gold Medals awarded by the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), including First and Perfect Scores along with 46 Silver Medals at state competitions. In addition, 20 of her students earned scholarships worth more than $100,000 to several fashion colleges and universities, including Centenary University, Johnson and Wales, Berkeley College and LIM.

Monica has worked with high-end hat maker, Christine A. Moore Millinery New York, the official milliner of the Breeders Cup. She has also executed special orders for the famous Kentucky Derby event. Monica’s specialization is in the sculpture and body of a different variety of hat designs.

At Madame Alexander Doll Company, Monica worked full time for nine years. Her primary responsibilities included designing high-end dolls, clothing and accessories, creating production-ready patterns, documenting spec sheets and reviewing product throughout the pre-production stage. She has also worked independently, managing a large quantity of products from concept to production. Monica’s strong skills at knitting and crocheting have added a new dimension to Madame Alexander products. Currently, Monica freelances at MA as a support to the team, creating package specs for overseas production and making samples for their catalog photoshoots.

At Bergen Community College (New Jersey), where Monica is currently teaching, she co-developed a continuing education Certificate Program in Fashion Design, Sewing & Fashion Art along with UoF and FIT professor Barbara Arata-Gavere.

Monica earned a BA in Fine Art from Kean University, a Master’s in Education from St. Peter’s University and a teaching license in Clothing, Apparel and Textiles.

At the outbreak of Covid-19, Monica began designing and creating fashionable and custom design face masks for high-end boutiques, which are featured on her Instagram channel @monicamerinostudio

Monica’s mission is to motivate her students to work to their highest potential as they study the field of fashion design. At the University of Fashion, we are pleased to have Monica teaching our students how to design using Procreate software.

(Preview of our Drawing the Male Frontal Croquis Pose in Procreate)

The Power & Beauty of Fashion Illustration

- - Fashion Art

University of Fashion’s mission, from day one, has always been, ‘to preserve the art and craft of fashion design.’ In fact, since the company’s founding in 2008 our tagline has never changed, “Master Design One Step at a Time.”  Sure, we’ve added computer-generated fashion art and computerized pattern making lessons over the years, but at our core, we’re all about promoting a strong foundation, both ‘on-the-table’ pattern making and in ‘hand-drawn art’ before we recommend moving to anything computer-generated.

In this blogpost, we’d like to celebrate fashion illustration and its continued contribution to the world of fashion. We are extremely proud to share that our founder, Francesca Sterlacci, who owned and operated her eponymous brand in the 1980s, was lucky enough to have her work illustrated by THE most prolific WWD illustrators in what is now known as the ‘Golden Age of Fashion Illustration’ (1960s to the early 1990s).

As you admire the work of these illustrators, we’d like you to pay particular attention to the individual illustrative style of each and join us in celebrating their individual and unique talents.

Enjoy,

Francesca Sterlacci
Founder/CEO
University of Fashion

You can only imagine how over-the-moon excited we were when Women’s Wear Daily recently dedicated a week to the most prolific fashion illustrators who brought fashion to life on their pages before they replaced illustration with photography in the early 1990s. Although WWD incorporated fashion illustration from its inception in 1910, it was the 60s thru the early 90s that best describes the paper’s Golden Era of Illustration. WWD provided a showcase for some of the best illustrators in the fashion business and this blogpost is dedicated to those wonderful artists. Included in this group: Kenneth Paul Block, Antonio Lopez, Joe Eula, Richard Rosenfeld, Steven Stipelman, Robert Melendez, Robert Passantino, Glenn Tunstull, Kichisaburro Ogawa, Charles Boone, Steven Meisel and Catherine Clayton Purnell.

Kenneth Paul Block

(Image credit: Kenneth Paul Block illustration of a lace bodysuit and silk organza pants by Francesca Sterlacci-WWD 1988)

As a designer in the 1980s, having your designs chosen for WWD’s Best of New York issue was always a big deal, no matter how many times you were lucky enough to be included. And, if your work was illustrated by Kenneth Paul Block, well, that was an even bigger deal!

By far, Kenneth Paul Block (1925-2009) was the undisputed star of WWD’s roster of fashion illustrators. From all accounts, he was in a league of his own. Joining the paper in the 50s, Block’s legacy lasted into the early 90s when the illustration department at WWD was unceremoniously disbanded to make way for photography. Block’s style was uncomplicated, modern and fresh. A master of the graceful gesture, his style was a complete departure from the rigid illustrative style popularized in the 1940s.

(Image credit: archival image from 1940s illustrations)

According to WWD, Block was “known for his well turned-out, gentlemanly style, with his Dorian Gray-like youthfulness, Block dressed impeccably, favoring an ascot, fresh-pressed shirt, pinpoint perfect jackets and cigarette holders for his workdays at the easel. The artist, who died at age 84 in 2009, spent nearly four decades working at Women’s Wear Daily.”

Towards the end of his life, Block was very concerned that his body of work

be kept together and therefore gave approximately 1,700 drawings to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. His work is also a part of the Frances Neady collection at the Fashion Institute of Technology which contains over 300 illustrations by the most prominent 20th-century illustrators. The Frances Neady collection is named for an inspiring and dedicated teacher of fashion illustration, who served on the faculties of FIT and Parsons for 40 years.

Upon his death, the Kenneth Paul Block Foundation was established and is devoted to collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting the wealth of Kenneth Paul Block’s art, in order to highlight his contributions to the art form.

Robert Young

(Image credit: Robert Young illustration of a tiger print top and skirt by Francesca Sterlacci-WWD 1985)

Another favorite among New York designers was Robert Young. His style always brought out the best in your design. Today, Robert Young is an Assistant Professor of Illustration at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As is the case with most artists, Robert Young’s style and breadth of work has expanded with the times.

Be sure to check out his “Hello, Young Illustrators” portfolio series. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGDfewj-V6Q which is especially helpful during the pandemic.

Robert Passantino

(Image credit: Robert Passantino illustration of a peplum blouse and pleated skirt by Francesca Sterlacci-WWD 1987)

As a fashion illustrator, Robert Passantino knew the value of actually learning the basics of clothing design and construction and how that would benefit his career when he started his career at Pratt Institute. He would later take illustration classes under Steven Stipelman at the Fashion Institute of Technology, who later would recommend him for a position at WWD in 1969.

In the recent article, Passantino told WWDI developed my style on the job. It was a fashion art boot camp. As an artist, the more you work on your art, the better you become.”

Charles Boone

(Image credit: Charles Boone illustration of a suede pants and leather tube top by Francesca Sterlacci-WWD 1987)

Kichisaburo Ogawa

(Image credit: Kichisaburo Ogawa illustration of a wool doubleknit dress and wide cinch belt by Francesca Sterlacci-WWD 1987)

Three days after graduating from FIT, Kichisaburo Ogawa went to work for WWD where he would spend the next 31 years illustrating fashion both at the paper and for numerous international magazines. In discussing what it was like to be an illustrator at WWD in those days Ogawa said, “Depending on the assignment, work was either due by the 2 p.m. deadline or the 6 p.m. deadline. After the daily editorial meeting, an editor would provide a designer’s sketch to draw from and the work would be due that same day. On some occasions the illustrator would be given a few extra days contingent on the article or the subject matter. A cosmetics cover, for example, was used for supplements, which allowed for more leeway with a longer deadline. Most of the time we had to finish within a few hours.” He also claimed that “You had to create your individual style. Otherwise, they would think, ‘Why are you doing the same type of illustration? You don’t need to work here.”

Later in his career Ogawa connected with another WWD fashion illustrator, Richard Rosenfeld, who was his office mate when they both taught at FIT. Today, Ogawa is an assistant professor at Parsons.

Steven Meisel

(Image credit: Steven Meisel illustration of a leather T-shirt by Francesca Sterlacci-WWD 1982)

Steven Meisel started out as a WWD fashion illustrator in the 80s but made the move to photography when he saw a shift away from illustration coming. In fact, famed fashion illustrator Bil Donovan took an illustration class at Parsons taught by Meisel in the Eighties right before Meisel embarked on his very successful photography career.

(Image credit: Bil Donovan illustration of a leather coat trimmed in tapestry by Francesca Sterlacci for Siena- 1991)

Catherine Clayton Purnell

(Image credit: Catherine Clayton Purnell illustration of a metallic leather trimmed linen shirt paired with a leather skirt by Francesca Sterlacci WWD 1985)

One of only a handful of females in a sea of male fashion illustrators at WWD, Purnell was most known for her colorful fantasy-filled intimate, children’s and swimwear illustrations in the 80s.

(Image credit: Catherine Clayton Purnell from the book WWD Illustrated: 1960s-1990s by Michele Wessen Bryant)

Steven Stipelman

(Image credit: Steven Stipelman illustration of draped back blouse and leather skirt by Francesca Sterlacci 1985)

With a passion for illustration that began at Music & Art high school in Manhattan and continued awhile a student at FIT, Stipelmen would land a plumb job alongside Kenneth Paul Block at WWD in 1965. While most artists at WWD worked from a designer’s sketch when illustrating for the paper, Block and Stipelman would mostly work from live models and were sent to Paris to draw from the runways. Today, Steven Stipelman is a full professor at FIT.

Richard Rosenfeld

(Image credit: Richard Rosenfeld for WWD)

(Image credit: Richard Rosenfeld)

While UoF founder Francesca never had the honor of having Richard Rosenfeld sketch her designs during his tenure at WWD, we are fortunate in that he is one of our very own instructors on the UoF site, Congratulations to Richard for being included among this elite WWD group.

Richard Rosenfeld found his way to WWD as a student at Parsons in 1967. His illustration style has always been contemporary, graphic and modern and is most famous for his beauty and bridal illustrations. His illustrations often made the gowns more beautiful than they actually were in real life!

(Image credit: Richard Rosenfeld for WWD)

Today, Richard focuses on portraits and male figurative art and exhibits his work at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, which showcases gay, transsexual and lesbian art. According to Richard, the art featured at the gallery is “political, it’s photography — it’s all of that.”

(Image credit: Richard Rosenfeld)

Can Fashion Illustration Make a Comeback?

At the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, art and photo teams at WWD had to rely heavily on illustration and collages to cover fashion, as New York City went into lockdown and shoots were impossible to schedule. A small glimmer of hope for the fans of fashion illustration?

At University of Fashion, we are ardent supporters of helping keep fashion illustration alive, which is why we have recruited some of the best illustrators in the business, Richard Rosenfeld, Steven Broadway and Roberto Calasanz. These extremely talented artists have generously shared their secrets by allowing us to film their art and skill in action. Watch as they bring a 2D sketch to life. It’s pure joy!

And so, to all of you aspiring fashion designers out there who love to illustrate, don’t let the digital age get you down, keep on perfecting your craft. Remember, practice makes perfect!

 

Let us know, do you have a favorite fashion illustrator?

Felice DaCosta – Meet Our Instructors

Meet Felice DaCosta

Felice DaCosta is a fashion industry professional with over 35 years of experience as an art director and freelance illustrator. She is currently an Associate Professor at Parsons School of Design, teaching fashion design and drawing for the last 25 years.

As a founding member of Fashion Art Source, Felice is active in promoting the visibility of fashion illustration. She was also co-owner of THE FASHION ART BANK, a fashion art and licensing company.

Felice is co-author of the textbook entitled, Fashion Flats and Technical Drawing released December 2016.

Her love of teaching extends to the discipline of ESOL, which she has taught for the past 8 years. She has received teaching certificates in art K-12 from Parsons/Bank Street and in TESOL from the New School. Felice holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Parsons School of Design.

We recently asked Felice for some words of wisdom for future fashion designers and here’s what she said about designing fashion in the age of Covid-19:

“We are all living in deeply speculative times. This pandemic has forced us to think about the future with a heavy dose of uncertainty. We feel a spectrum of emotions from sadness, lethargy, anger, to fear. I’m sure, as future fashion designers, you may be questioning your commitment to this craft. With many retail doors shuttered, you may be wondering if there will be a market in place to sell your products. Will there be customers willing to shop? It’s hard to find bouts of creativity in this environment.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, “if I have to make one more mask, I’m going to go bonkers!” As altruistic as that may be, I don’t think you planned to start your career making masks. You really want to make a living at this. Well I’m here to tell you, “it’s not over.”

Fashion consumption is going through a transformation and a welcome one at that, in my humble opinion. Well, guess what? You get to be instrumental in the shaping of what fashion will look like in the future. You have the opportunity to embrace sustainability practices or redefine luxury and how it’s produced. This is an auspicious time to turn the ideas you have about fashion on their heads and become leaders. Do your research and decide what intentions you have. Is it going to be the same ole, same ole or something new?

So, while you are polishing your skills drawing, draping and drafting, prepare to adjust your torso centered view of fashion. We won’t be indoors forever. One day we all be released from our spaces and we’re going to need pants.”

Here’s what Felice teaches at UoF

At University of Fashion, Felice shares her very own technique for drawing the fashion croquis, which she developed while teaching at Parsons with great success. In her Advanced Illustration Techniques lesson, Felice critiques the work of various fashion designers’ illustrations and explains what makes their work special.

See for yourself with this free lesson. Felice demos how to draw a female contrapposto front pose.

 

Catch more of Felice’s lessons by clicking on the previews below to get a taste (and subscribing to UoF to see the full lesson). Once you subscribe to University of Fashion, you’ll get full access to ALL of our lessons (500 to be exact) in 13 different discipline like: Draping, Pattern Making, Sewing, Fashion Art, Childrenswear, Menswear, Knits, Product Development, CAD Fashion Art, CAD Pattern Making, Accessories, Fashion Business and Fashion Lectures covering topics like color theory, textiles, trend forecasting, costume history and lots more.

Drawing Female Frontal Figure Template

 

Drawing Female Contrapposto Back Pose

 

Drawing Female: Head, Front & Profile

 

Advanced Illustration Techniques

Meet Our Instructors

 

We have lots of teachers! With 13 different disciplines and 500 videos to learn from, including draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion art, product development, knits, childrenswear, menswear, CAD fashion art, CAD pattern making, accessories design, fashion business and fashion lectures, we thought we’d introduce to more of them as we continue our blog series, Meet Our Instructors.

Pardon us for bragging but did you know that all of our instructors are either fashion college professors (from top fashion schools) or are fashion industry professionals?

Ever since we started offering 30-day free access offer to schools on March 4th due to Covid-19, and we launched a special promo to individual subscribers (was $189/now $169 using promo code NEWS21Y), we have tripled our subscribership!

So, for all of our new schools and subscribers here are a few more instructors that you should get to know. Click on their name to find out what they do in the industry and what they teach at UoF.

 

Kathlin Argiro – shares her extensive knowledge on how to start a fashion brand in her 3-part series for University of Fashion.

With a successful track record as a fashion designer and entrepreneur, Kathlin has sold her collection to top retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales.

In 2010, she joined the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) as an Adjunct Faculty member and has led high profile projects for First Lady Michelle Obama and for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute.

Most recently, Kathlin began teaching in FIT’s MFA program. She also serves as a mentor for FIT’s Design Entrepreneurs NYC (DENYC) mini MBA Program.

In addition to her role at FIT, Kathlin has also taught at Parsons School of Design, Pratt, and Zhejiang Sci-Tech University (ZSTU), China.

Considered a fashion industry expert, Kathlin has been quoted in numerous publications and has been a guest panelist at industry conferences and universities, including Mount Holyoke College and Fordham University.

Passionate about sharing her experience and mentoring emerging designers, Kathlin launched a consulting business, Kathlin Argiro New York, in 2014.

kat@kathlinargiro.com

https://www.kathlinargironewyork.com/

Instagram: @kathlinargiro

Facebook: Kathlin Argiro

Richard Rosenfeld is a veteran in the fashion education industry and we are honored to have him teaching a series of model-drawing lessons for University of Fashion.

Richard has taught fashion model-drawing classes at Parsons since 1978 and at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) since 1989. During that period, he taught numerous famous designers, including Chris Benz, Isaac Mizrahi and Jason Wu, as well as New York illustrator (and UoF instructor), Steven Broadway.

Having attended the Rhode Island School of Design and as a graduate of Parsons with a degree in illustration, Richard has worked as a fashion illustrator for high profile publications such as Vogue, WWD, Glamour, The New York Times, and for various department stores and other fashion design clientele.

Richard’s philosophy for teaching fashion drawing focuses on developing good observational skills, the accurate depiction of textiles and various types of garments in silhouette, all with a personal point of view. His preferred medium of choice is a combination of pencil & watercolors.

Currently, Richard enjoys mentoring young design professionals and continues his passion for drawing from live models during the Covid-19 pandemic via ZOOM. He is curious to see how the health crisis will impact the future of this creative industry.

@richard_rosenfeld_art

 

Andrew Curwen’s lessons for University of Fashion demonstrate a designer’s respect for Savile Row workmanship. His hand sewn buttonhole lessons are pure works of art.

Andrew is a graduate of Parson’s BFA program and currently resides and works in Manhattan. With a background in bespoke construction and textile arts, his introduction to tailoring was taught and nurtured by a master Savile Row tailor.

The disparity between love and death are recurring themes throughout Andrew’s design work, something that could be described as a feminine brutality. Andrew works to design fashion for posterity that touches on the human condition.

Barbara Seggio has over 30 years of experience working in the fashion industry as a designer, technical designer and freelance design consultant. Her specialty is women’s sportswear and childrenswear design.

At the University of Fashion, Barbara shares her expertise in the areas of draping, pattern making, sewing and childrenswear. Barbara is also the editor of Sewing Techniques for Beginners and co-editor of Pattern Making Techniques for Beginners, UoF’s companion book series.

As an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Barbara teaches all disciplines of fashion design including: draping, patternmaking and sewing. Barbara’s accomplishments at FIT include: development of the childrenswear specialization, chairperson of the Childrenswear Advisory Board, member of the Sewing and Childrenswear Curriculum Committees and instructor in their high school weekend/summer program.

 

 

A Reminder to High Schools & Colleges

We are offering all high schools and colleges a free one-month access to our University of Fashion content library of over 500 educational videos. Teachers, should coordinate their school’s request and send that request to cs@UniversityofFashion.com, and we will provide your school with an access code. So…students, tell your teachers!

The goal of our free 30-day access to schools only, is to help schools salvage the balance of their semester. In preparation for the fall, in the event the pandemic continues into the next semester, we have waived our one-year school subscription minimum and are now offering special shortened subscription terms and rates.

Since 2008, University of Fashion has been providing individuals, groups, schools and public libraries with hands-on and lecture lessons in fashion design and fashion business. Many of our subscriber schools have been using our content in hybrid classrooms for years. Just read our testimonials.

As you use our library, we’d love your feedback. Tell us which are your favorite lessons and what new lessons you’d like to see? Send comments to us at cs@UniversityofFashion.com.

To Individual Subscribers

For those who are not currently enrolled in school but would like to take advantage of our library, we are now offering an individual membership deal. Get $20 off a yearly membership (was $189 now $169) using promo code NEWS21Y. Offers expire 12/31/20

SIGN UP HERE

 

Did you know that we have a very informative weekly blog covering relevant fashion topics? And, stay connected with us via our lively social media presence: Instagram- @uoffashion and Facebook – University of Fashion.

This is a new deal just offered by our UK-based publisher.
Our Video & Book Combination – Get 40% each book using discount code FRIENDS40 (offer expires 5/31/20)

Draping: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.laurenceking.com/us/product/draping-2/
Sewing: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.laurenceking.com/us/product/sewing/
Pattern Making: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.laurenceking.com/us/product/pattern-making/

Once you click one of the book links, above, you’ll see the book you selected in the middle of the screen. Click the shopping cart icon in the upper right of the same page then, on the order form provided, enter the discount code: FRIENDS40, and then click “Apply discount.” Then click “Proceed to checkout.”

“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”

Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2013 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2013 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Every year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City hosts a fashion inspired exhibit, and its 2018 theme, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” could be their most controversial yet. The juxtaposition of fashion and religious artwork masterpieces will be designed to study fashion’s continuous fascination with the traditional practices of the Catholic Church. The Met has arranged to showcase a group of papal robes and accessories from the Vatican, highlighting the ongoing influence liturgical vestments have on designers.

The exhibition, which in turn prompts the theme for the annual, Vogue-associated Met Gala and its spectacular red carpet parade, will take place on the first Monday of May and the exhibit will open to the public on May 10th.  The Met Gala will be hosted by a trio of fashionable women: Donatella Versace, Rihanna and Amal Clooney. The exhibition will go beyond the usual confines of the Anna Wintour Costume Center, expanding to The Met’s medieval galleries and the Cloisters outpost in northern Manhattan.  According to The New York Times, the exhibition will be the Costume Institute’s largest exhibition to date; depending on how it’s executed, it may also be the most polarizing.

Christopher Kane spring 2017 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christopher Kane spring 2017 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

“We know it could be controversial for right wing or conservative Catholics and for liberal Catholics,” curator Andrew Bolton told the Times. But president and chief executive of the Met Daniel H. Weiss noted that he has “confidence that the exhibition will inspire understanding, creativity and, along the way, constructive dialogue, which is precisely a museum’s role in our civil society.” Bolton also consulted local Catholic leadership in New York, not to mention partnered with the Vatican for parts of the exhibition, hoping that this may help ease tensions felt by the faithful.

“The Roman Catholic Church has been producing and promoting beautiful works of art for centuries,” director of the Holy See press office Greg Burke told the Times. “Most people have experienced that through religious paintings and architecture. This is another way of sharing some of that beauty that rarely gets seen.”

Left: Manuscript Leaf With Scenes From the Life of Saint Francis of Assisi, Italian, c. 1320–42, tempera and gold on parchment; right, Evening Dress, Madame Grès, 1969 (Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Left: Manuscript Leaf With Scenes From the Life of Saint Francis of Assisi, Italian, c. 1320–42, tempera and gold on parchment; right, Evening Dress, Madame Grès, 1969 (Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The exhibition will not only present The Met’s own religious art collection but will also feature religious garments borrowed from the Vatican, attendees will be able to view 50 ecclesiastical masterworks from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which were never shown outside of the Vatican. These works will be showcased along with papal vestments, rings, tiaras and accessories from more than 15 papacies in the Anna Wintour Costume Center galleries. That area alone will highlight work from the 18th to the early 21st century. The Vatican has not made a loan of this scope to The Met since its exhibition in 1982 entitled, The Vatican Collections: The Papacy and Art, which ranked third as The Met’s most-visited show.

Clothing from 150 designer collections that pay homage to Catholicism, will have their work on display. Designers included are: Dolce & Gabbana, Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Thom Browne, Azzedine Alaïa, Christopher Kane, John Galliano for the House of Dior, Claire McCardell, Madeleine Vionnet, Isabel Toledo, Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino, Elsa Schiaparelli, Raf Simons for his own label and the House of Dior.

Jeremy Scott Fall 2017 (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Jeremy Scott Fall 2017 (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

The fashion component will be mostly woman’s wear from the early 20th century to present. The exhibit is meant to provide an interpretative context for fashion’s engagement with Catholicism. The designs are meant to be considered within the broader context of religious artistic production to analyze their connection to the historiography of material, Christianity and their contribution to the perceptual construction of the Catholic imagination, according to press material provided by The Met.

Chanel on the cover of Vogue, November 1988 (photo by Peter Lindbergh)

Chanel on the cover of Vogue, November 1988 (photo by Peter Lindbergh)

As you can see, fashion has long borrowed from the Catholic Church’s rich visual history; From Dolce & Gabbana sending religious imagery down the runway to pop stars like Madonna and Lady Gaga, using clothing to set themselves up as new ‘spiritual icons’. Fashion’s relationship with the Catholic Church and churches in general, have  always been somewhat provocative. During London Fashion Week 2017, a bitter row  erupted with leading clerics after Turkish designer Dilara Findikoglu used an historic church to showcase her collection, with models dressed as devils and vampires sashaying in front of the altar. And who can forget Madonna’s controversy by inappropriately using Christian imagery in her songs, videos and concerts with songs like “Like a Virgin” (1984) to “Like a Prayer” (1989) and her Confessions Tour in 2005 ?

Do you think the Met’s exhibit is a marketing ploy to increase the number of museum-goers or one that hopes to bring the fashion world and the Catholic Church together?

Versace Spring 2018 (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Versace Spring 2018 (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons:

Art of the In-Between  

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

 

Is fashion art? This has always been a debate among the creative crowd, but a walk through this year’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute spring 2017 exhibit, the answer is clear.  The exhibition focuses on the avant-garde works of Rei Kawakubo, the reclusive founder and designer behind the cult label Comme des Garçons. The fashion forward exhibition, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, is on view from May 4 through September 4, 2017.

The show examines Kawakubo’s obsession with the space between boundaries. Her aesthetic can be viewed as unsettling at times, but upon close examination, her work wavers on creative genius. Kawakubo challenges the conventional perception of beauty, good taste, and fashion. A thematic exhibition, rather than a traditional retrospective, this is The Costume Institute’s first single-subject show on a living designer since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition in 1983.

“Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. “By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time.”

 

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

Walking through the exhibit it is clear that Kawakubo has blurred the line between art and fashion. She is pushing us to think differently about clothing. Her creations are sculptural, intelligent and creative. She deconstructs fashion to the core. Her genius is that she is challenging us to think differently about fashion and beauty. According to Francesca Sterlacci, the Founder/CEO of University Of Fashion, “She challenged the status quo meaning of clothes and succeeded in disrupting the notion of  ‘traditional beauty.’ In light of the controversy over body fat and body shaming, Kawakubo sends a powerful message.”

 

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

 

The exhibition showcases approximately 120 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear designs for Comme des Garçons, dating from her first runway show in 1981 to her most recent collection. The white-walled exhibit is broken into nine dominate and recurring aesthetic expressions in Kawakubo’s work: Absence/Presence, Design/Not Design, Fashion/Anti-Fashion, Model/Multiple, High/Low, Then/Now, Self/Other, Object/Subject, and Clothes/Not Clothes. Each section examines the “in-betweenness.”  The exhibit guidebook suggests a pathway through the circular layout inhabited by puzzle-piece-like structures framing the looks, but guests also are encouraged to choose their own adventures and let their imaginations go wild.

 

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

In her career, the 74-year old designer has been hailed a revolutionary; she has managed to break down the imaginary walls between these dualisms, exposing their artificiality and arbitrariness. Her fashions demonstrate the endless possibilities to rethink the female body and feminine identity. The exhibit reflects Kawakubo’s enduring interest in blurring the boundaries between body and dress.

Studying Kawakubo’s work it becomes clear, she loves to experiment with forms and clearly ignores the norm — she is in a constant search for “newness.” Her clothes are sculptural objects, non-functional at times, but maybe we should forget about clothing and we should view Kawakubo’s work as a true contemporary artist whose tools involve fabrics, utility and the body.

Rei Kawakubo said, “I have always pursued a new way of thinking about design…by denying established values, conventions, and what is generally accepted as the norm. And the modes of expression that have always been most important to me are fusion…imbalance… unfinished… elimination…and absence of intent.” A hallmark of the Japanese philosophy of wabi-wabi.

 

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

To learn more about Rei Kawakubo and other key players in the fashion industry, pick up the second edition of “The Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry” (due out in August) by UoF’s founder Francesca Sterlacci, as well as checking out Google’s latest project “We Wear Culture” – Now the world will get to see Kawakubo’s genius.

 

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

 

 

 

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

 

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit

 

 

 

 

 

Is Fashion Art? You Bet it is!

For decades, fashion scholars have debated whether fashion should be considered an art form or whether it is solely a craft. Some believe that due to the utilitarian aspect of fashion, it should not be considered art. However, much like famous Impressionist artists of the 19th century, such as Claude Monet, Georges Seurat and Vincent van Gogh, fashion designers also use their creativity as a form of self expression. This becomes even more apparent when fashion designers collaborate with artists. A glance back into fashion history reveals many collaborations between artists and fashion designers, beginning in the early 1900s. Paul Poiret, the first couturier to fuse art and fashion, worked with with prominent artists and illustrators including Georges Lepage, Erté, Georges Barbier and Raoul Duffy. In the 1930s, Elsa Schiaparelli collaborated with surrealist artists Salvador Dalí, Jean Cocteau and Christian Bérard.

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Evening jacket designed by Elsa Schiaparelli in collaboration with Jean Cocteau (Image Credit: metmuseum.org)

During the 1960s, pop artist Andy Warhol joined with Yves Saint Laurent who used Warhol’s Campbell soup can imagery from his paintings to create a series of A-line paper dresses, one called “The Souper Dress.”

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The Souper Dress featuring Andy Warhol’s soup can graphics (Image Credit: metmuseum.org)

Fast forward to the 21st century. Marc Jacobs, while creative director at Louis Vuitton, collaborated with artists to reinvent the iconic LV logo handbag: Stephen Sprouse’s scrawled silver graffiti (2000), Takashi Murakami’s animated motifs (2004), Richard Prince’s “nurse” prints (2008) and Yayoi Kusama’s polka dots (2012).

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Louis Vuitton animated motifs bag in collaboration with Takashi Murakami

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Louis Vuitton animated motifs bag in collaboration with Stephen Sprouse

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Yayoi Kusama’s polka dotted Louis Vuitton bag
(Image source: NY Times)

In 2016, designer Nicolas Ghesquière channeled California and continued the trend of artistic bags with the LV Petite Malle (small truck) for Cruise ’16.

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Louis Vuitton Petite Malle clutch

For the past couple of seasons, the trend of marrying art and fashion has become even stronger. Christopher Kane’s gown with nude figure patterns was amongst the most talked about at Met Gala 2015 when worn by FKA Twigs.

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FKA twigs wearing a Christopher Kane gown at Met gala 2015 (Image source: Daily Mail)

Moschino introduced pop culture and graffiti-inspired art in its Fall Winter 2015 collection. The graffiti gown and matching gloves from this collection was later worn by Katy Perry, also at the MET gala.

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Katy Perry in Moschino gown at Met gala 2015 (Image Source: US Weekly)

For their Spring Summer 2016 collection, Dolce & Gabbana paid tribute to Italy with dresses featuring imagery depicting different cities and their names – Roma, Venezia, Portofino amongst others.

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Featured above: Dolce & Gabbana dress with artwork depicting Roma and Venezia

Pierpaolo Piccioli collaborated with Zandra Rhodes for Valentino’s Spring Summer 2017 collection, creating gowns with prints of the Hieronymus Bosch painting, the Garden of Earthly Delights.

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Valentino Spring Summer 2017

A maxi dress from Alice+Olivia’s Spring/Summer 2017 ready-to-wear collection depicts a caricature of CEO/designer Stacey Bendet, sporting red lips and round sunglasses.

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Alice+Olivia Spring Summer 2017 (Image Credits: Vogue)

Marques’ Almeida added intricate floral art on their dresses, shorts, blouses and trousers.

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Marques’ Almeida Spring Summer 2017

At Dior, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri introduced feminine gowns and embroidered tulle dresses with tarot cards, cosmic and floral-inspired art with names like “Le Monde”, “La Lune” and “Le Soleil.”

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Dior Spring Summer 2017

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Dior Spring Summer 2017

Scholars will continue to debate whether fashion is really art, but we at the University of Fashion believe it is, especially when created in collaboration with artists!

Learn more about fashion history, past and present, with our costume history lessons: 100 Years of Fashion Rebels & Revolutionaries, Parts 1 & 2, Keeping Up With the Jones and Wheels Reels & Automobiles.

2014: A Year of Twists, Details, Knits, New Beginnings and Looking Back

For the University of Fashion, 2014 has been the year of new video series. For University of Fashion students, this means in depth learning in each of our disciplines. This year, we have taken our students beyond basic skills and offered lessons to stretch, inspire and encourage you to take the next step in your fashion design career. Below, find a few of 2014 series highlights, including a just-added draping video. Read More