Julie Gilhart has experience with young fashion designers on the edge of greatness. The consultant, former fashion director and VP of Barneys, she has helped make breakthroughs happen. Serving as an expert for this year’s LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, Gilhart identified Peter Do as an outstanding talent. The BFA grad would win the prestigious Graduate Prize, with a one-year contract to the fashion house Céline.
Ms. Gilhart provided comments about some of the defining characteristics about Do’s work.
Q. What was it about Peter’s work that stood out for you?
Julie: I only saw photographs but they were intriguing and bold. There was this theme of bold brushstrokes in black and white that made me stop.
Q. How many other applicants was he up against?
Julie: Over 500! What did your role as expert entail? Narrowing down from schools all over the world the three best and upcoming talents.
Q: How does Peter’s work compare to more established designers?
Julie: I have seen many of our top designers at this beginning stage and I feel Peter’s collection has a sense of unity that is important when you are first starting out. I feel he exhibited a talent for being focused and balanced.
Q: His prints look unique. Could you comment about them?
Julie: It wasn’t just about a “print,” but how he manipulated fabric or in some cases plastic, by quilting, painting, bonding.
Q: Are there special challenges to work in a lot of blacks and whites?
Julie: I think what I loved about Peter’s color story is that he made the black and white theme seem very textural and refined rather than the typical bold and graphic story.
Q: In an interview, Peter was asked what he finds most beautiful. He said his family and his cats. [In another interview he said he was selling his knitting machine to pay off his cat’s medical bills.] He seems very down to earth. is that your impression?
Julie: Peter has a shyness about him when you first meet him but, for instance, if you look at his Instagram, it is very strong and bold. We were looking for a quality of excellence in a designer. Peter has this type of presence about him.
Back story: Peter Do graduated in May with a BFA in fashion design. He was the 2013 winner of the CFDA Scholarship and the 2014 Critic Award winner for the Senior Thesis Collection at FIT, and the 2012 Critic Award winner for the AAS exhibition. He was second in the FIT vs. Parsons competitive Fusion Fashion Show, and received honorable mention for the Geoffrey Beene Design Scholarship Award.