I’ve always wanted to teach a class on how to find inspiration as a fashion designer. I’ve often thought, “How dreamy to spend my days finding and exploring what inspires me, never mind the satisfaction that would come from fostering inspiration in others.” For me, finding inspiration is the most thrilling part of what we get to do as designers. Read More
Category "Fashion Education"
Happy 2018, U of F designers! 2017 has wrapped, and our hope for you in 2018 is that you take a moment to look back and recognize your accomplishments over the past year with as much excitement as you look forward to your new goals.
So, what are your top 3 proudest moments of 2017?
And your top 3 plans for 2018?
We’re asking ourselves the same questions. Read More
Your draping teacher refers to Vionnet.
You think, “Vi-oh, no…I have no idea who that is.”
Your design director announces, “This season I am inspired by Paul Poiret’s tango skirt!”
You think, “I’ve got some research to do.”
You’re just curious…who invented the first pair of jeans? Read More
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
What were you doing in 2010?
Thinking about which fashion design school you’d like to attend? DIY-ing your prom dress? Dreaming of a fashion empire?
Building your fashion empire? Read More
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.
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.”
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).
In 2016, designer Nicolas Ghesquière channeled California and continued the trend of artistic bags with the LV Petite Malle (small truck) for Cruise ’16.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Marques’ Almeida added intricate floral art on their dresses, shorts, blouses and trousers.
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.”
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.
The University of Fashion is proud of our talented instructors. We value their unique perspective, ability to clearly deliver fashion design instruction and their expertise in their chosen fields. This week we are featuring our newest CAD instructor, William Drummond, as a perfect example of the wealth of knowledge and experience our instructors bring to the design table. Read More
Exciting developments are on the horizon for the University of Fashion including new video releases, new partnerships and most importantly, a new group of students looking to the U of F to keep their skills sharp over the summer. This makes now the perfect time to introduce you to our founder, Francesca Sterlacci. A pillar in traditional fashion education and a revolutionary in online fashion education, Francesca has found a unique way to support students who currently attend fashion school as well as those who dream of attending, but might not have the access. Read More
We have some very exciting news to report – in conjunction with the Westchester Library, the University of Fashion held its first Fashion Workshop led by U of F instructor Barbara Arata-Gavere earlier this month. The University of Fashion was built on the belief in preserving the art and craft of fashion, and this first-time workshop embodied all that we are working toward. Read More
Green. Eco-conscious. Environmentally friendly. These terms have become part of our lexicon in terms of architecture, cuisine and certainly, fashion. But what do they really mean in the fashion industry and how can a label call itself eco-friendly? The truth is, there are many ways that designers can contribute positively to the preservation of the environment and reduce the amount of waste and harmful processing that can often be a part of the way our clothes are produced. Read More