Category: Event

The Future of Fashion Show

By , May 10, 2011 4:08 pm

Flounce, imagination, otherworldliness and attitude, even some innocence and sweetness were thematic in the 83 designs on this year’s 2011 Graduates Collection runway.

Floral exotic frocks, lavish capes, ornate knit tops and billows of lace–even luggage-style pocketbooks gave a look and feel of destination, going places, mid-Atlantic travel, arrival and departure. Even a white fur majorette hat reflected movement, luxury and style.

With designs and patterns–and a big sideways smile to capture your heart. “So European!” enthused one attendee. “If this doesn’t look like Pinco Pallino, nobody does!”

Dean’s Dialogue: Posing Beauty in African American Portraits: A Talk by Dr. Deborah Willis February 8, 2011

By , March 16, 2011 5:12 pm

Dr. Deborah Willis, MacArthur fellow and chair of New York University’s photography department

“I was a student in the 70s,” said Willis in her opening remarks to the attendees of “Posing Beauty,” a Dean’s Dialogue hosted by the School of Art & Design. “I asked my professor ‘Where are the other images,’” of African Americans? “There were (those of) tenant farmers, of laborers and that’s fine.” But the range of images of African American life was woefully incomplete.  Willis had a “curiosity of the lack of images of blacks.”  Her professor suggested she search out photos that might tell a larger story.

Deborah Willis's 2009 book cover "Posing Beauty"

Her book, “Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present,” is another turn in her investigation.  “I found myself as a resource…I grew up in a beauty shop.  The images for me are to open up the dialog– Sometimes an image is a story of desire, other times it’s a woman seeking the American Dream,” said Willis.

Pickin, by Lauren Kelley

Willis is observant of “how women are always under surveillance…I’m always asking ‘How are these images used?’”

Among the photographs Willis showed were:  a posting of run-away slave described as “rather good looking”; cinema stars like Josephine Baker; various looks of women working outside the home; studio portraits; and iconic shots of Issac Hayes, Malcolm X, Pam Grier and James Brown.

Isaac Hayes by Ernest Withers

“Black beauty has been silenced,” said Willis. “Special issues (on African- American life) gives the public an opportunity for exchange,” she said “but I wish it didn’t have to be a special issue.”

Harlem Queen, by Lewis Watts

“What I took away from this,” said fashion design student Michelle Richards, “is that when she was a student she asked:  ‘Where are the black photographers and photographs?’ Too often students accept the lesson as fact rather than as an introduction, and then you take it further. This whole thing started as a research project. She took the initiative and researched the gap in her education.”

Assistant Dean Dr. Erika Massaquoi with guest speaker Dr. Deborah Willis


Teen Vogue Meets FIT Students

By , August 31, 2010 2:58 pm

Amy Astley, editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, which launched in January 2003. Ms. Astley was named to edit the new magazine in June 2002 by Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue and editorial director of Teen Vogue.

Teen Vogue

Audrey Schilt Returns to FIT

By , May 21, 2010 6:01 pm

 FIT ’65 Alumna Audrey Schilt’s Illustrations

As They Were On View In our D-building lobby, Winter 2010
Drawings of Audrey’s Ralph Lauren gowns worn by Gwyneth Paltrow to the Academy Awards &  Emmy Rossum to the Golden Globes, plus original concept drawings, advertising images, design silhouettes.
Audry Schilt Exhibition - 2

Audrey Schilt Exhibition - 2

Illustrations of Audrey Schilt, a Fashion Institute of Technology alumna who worked closely with Ralph Lauren for 22 years, werer on display at FIT in an exhibition titled Art of the Collection: The Design Spirit of American Fashion Artist Audrey Schilt from December 3, 2009 through January 27, 2010.

Included were sketches of the pink silk Ralph Lauren gown worn by Gwyneth Paltrow at the 1998 Academy Awards, on which Schilt collaborated, as well as sketches of the white silk and organza Lauren gown worn by Emmy Rossum to the 2005 Golden Globes, which Schilt designed.  These were among the approximately 250 works created by Schlit between 1986 and 2008 on view, including original concept drawings,  advertising images, design silhouettes, and works in watercolor and chalk on paper.
Audry Schilt Exhibit -1

Audrey Schilt Exhibit -1

After graduating from FIT in 1965 with a degree in illustration, Audrey Schilt started her career as sketch artist for Halston, where she drew several of the hats for which Jacqueline Kennedy became known, including the pillbox, and Halston’s first women’s collection line.  From there, Schilt moved to freelance work, creating fashion ads for such clients as The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Bergdorf . Schilt also returned to school to learn pattern-making and draping.  She then worked as a designer for Jacque Bellini for five years, as well as on a children’s line of clothing.

Hired as concept artist at Ralph Lauren, Schilt rose during her 22-year tenure to vice president and creative director of collection for the company.  Now retired from her position at Ralph Lauren, Schilt has turned her attention to other artistic endeavors and continues to consult as a designer.
exhibition was co-sponsored by the college’s School of Art and Design, the Gladys Marcus Library at FIT, and the library’s PrintFX Graphics Lab.
Audry Schilt - Window Display

Audrey Schilt - Window Display

FIT’s School of Art and Design offers programs leading to both the AAS and BFA degrees, including Accessories Design, the only program of its kind in the country, and two other pioneering programs– Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design and Toy Design.  Its most acclaimed program, Fashion Design, was established when the college was founded in 1944.

FIT, a leader in professional career-oriented education, is a selective college of art and design, business and technology of the State University of New York (SUNY), with 44 majors leading to the AAS, BFA, BS, MA, and MPS degrees.  The college serves more than 10,000 students and offers courses in a wide range of fields.  Visit

Photos:  Rachel Ellner

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