Posts tagged: Anne Kong

Stitcher and singer Rosario Rizzo

By , February 14, 2013 7:13 pm

The gowns, dresses and a harem outfit designed by the late FIT instructor Rosario Rizzo are now on display in the Pomerantz (D) lobby. Professors Anne Kong and Glenn Sokoli of the Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design Department helped create a narrative for “The Master and His Muse” through the use of color and style representative of each era.

“The most interesting part of doing the exhibit was hearing about the history and life of Rosario Rizzo and how his wife Rose told the story, and then bringing to life the collection. Each garment represents a milestone in their lives,” said Professor Sokoli.

Rosario Rizzo was praised in American fashion for his fine hand-sewing, tailoring and embellishment techniques. He was also an opera singer and dedicated husband to Rose, who shared his passions and livelihood.

“Glenn and I strove to capture the time period of the garments through the styling, the hair and accessories to best illustrate for the viewer the era. The first garment we documented  is 1965 and the latest was 1987.”

- Anne Kong

Rizzo designed ensembles from silks, laces, rich wool and opulent brocades, with the finest surface detailing.  He considered every aspect of his client, her body type, coloring and the event she was attending. He draped the garment lining directly on his customer.

“The interiors of the garments were so finished off, the stitch work was so fine. We were amazed by the detail. That’s really where you get to appreciate the art of what he did.”

- Anne Kong 

 Most full-coverage beading was done on blocks, before the final garment was sewn, worked from under the frame unseen, much of which Rizzo did himself.  All the finishing was hand sewn in tiny, evenly spaced stitches. Seam allowances never showed, and unlined garments were all hand-bound.

Rose Rizzo

At the exhibit opening, Professor Sokoli had Rose stand on the red carpet with replicas of herself throughout the decades. “She still wears the clothes. Her husband designed the suit she’s wearing  in the photo with hand-beaded pockets,” says Sokoli

Rizzo was born to Italian immigrant parents in the Bronx. The family was rich with culture and hand craftsmanship. Rosario learned sewing from his mother and made wedding dresses for relatives and outfits for a girlfriend before attending Needle Trades High School on West 25 Street.

 “You know it was so much about the detail. He was like a sculptor the way he draped on the body.”

– Anne Kong

Rizzo showed singing ability at a young age. He sang on Italian radio, with the Metropolitan Opera school’s theater group, and at Carnegie Hall. It was his singing teacher, Maestro Fernando Maero, who introduced Rizzo to Rose Colaianni. The two shared many interests. Colaianni had studied mandolin, piano, singing and acting, and was also a graduate of Needle Trades High School.

“We learned from Rose that Rosario initially took jobs in fashion to pay for opera lessons. When he opened his own atelier she came to work for him.  She was there, side-by-side Rosario as he custom designed his couture fashions.”   – Glenn Sokoli

“Rose wore the red dress with the rhinestone belt [above] to President Jimmy Carter’s inaugural ball. Rosairo and Rose hobnobbed with many politicians like Tip O’Neil and Mayor Koch. I referenced from photos  of Rose wearing these gowns to create her actual hairstyles. Rose told us that Rosario did her hair and makeup for the major events they attended.” – Glenn Sokoli

In 1958 Rizzo proposed to Colaianni. He gave up his singing career and opened his atelier in Queens, where he and Rose began married life.

In 1993 Rizzo began teaching at FIT’s Fashion Design Department. He and Rose created and taught the wedding gown and beading courses in the School for Continuing and Professional Studies, as well as a range of fashion design courses. In 2000 he created the couture techniques certificate program designed to immerse students in couture hand sewing techniques through to the finished garment.

“Rose wore this  saffron and white beaded coat and dress ensemble [above] at a New Year’s gala, where she descended down a two-story marble staircase. The whole room turned and looked…What you don’t get from looking at this is that the gown weighs approximately 60 pounds.”

- Glenn Sokoli

Rosario and Rose said their life together was like a fairy tale. They were nearly inseparable for over 50 years. They traveled extensively, attended red carpet events, political parties and inaugural balls of presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

“We wanted to create the atmosphere of his atelier by creating two large-scale doors, and then detailing them with two ‘Rs’ representing the unity between Rosairo and Rose, which are also the designer’s initials.”

- Anne Kong

Known throughout the world for his couture technique classes, Rizzo and his wife and muse Rose, inspired a generation of students with exquisite workmanship and skill.

photos: Alessandro Casagli & Rachel Ellner

The exhibit “The Master and His Muse” is open to the public until March 10.  The Pomerantz building is located on the corner of 27th and 7th Avenue.  

BFA – A Fair to Remember

By , October 5, 2012 4:31 pm

your hosts from the Dean’s Office, Amy, Ashley & Kim

A roomful of expertise — department chairs, professors and student advisers — were on hand at the BFA Fair on October 4th to speak with students interested in art and design BFA majors. “Students often don’t realize the offerings and the vast number of programs available to them,” says Professor Ellen Goldstein from accessories design. “The BFA Fair opens their eyes to a vast number of opportunities.”

Suzanne Anoushian, chair of communication department with prospective BFA student

Professor Anne Kong from visual presentation and exhibition design talking to students

“We talked about everything from job opportunities to majors and ours being more 3-dimensional,” said Professor Anne Kong.

Prof. Birgit Schwarz-Hickey from advertising design talking with students

Fashion design chair, Colette Wong talks to a curious student

“The BFA Fair is a wonderful opportunity for all Art & Design students,” says Colette Wong, chair of fashion design. “It’s informative even for students who know what their major will be. They learn more about the study abroad programs and any lingering questions get answered.”

Prof. Frederun Scholz of graphic design providing guidance

Prof. Sarah Mullins & Vasilios Christoflilakos, chair of accessories design

Prof. Sandra Krasovec advising prospective student of packaging design

“I had a very important conversation with students about what they can do after graduation,” said Jeff Way, assist. chair of fine arts. “We have graduates who come to the classroom to talk about what they are doing.”

Student advisors & textile design BFA majors Gabrielle Marino and Samantha Dines help out behind the swatches

Sara Petitt, chair of textile surface design

Ramon Campos holding an octopus  prototype made by alum Andres Garza

 Ramon Campos, a student adviser, switched to toy design after completing his AAS in illustration. He was on hand to help prospective students navigate the waters.



photos: Rachel Ellner


A storyteller by trade, Anne Kong honored

By , September 25, 2012 10:05 pm

Professor Anne Kong is in the news again, but this time the splash is all about her.  Kong was recently chosen by readers of a top design, architecture and marketing magazine DDI, as a 2012 Portfolio Award winner.  Kong was among eight others including architect John Bricker and author Paco Underhill who received the award. 

Anne Kong is the recipient of DDI magazine’s Portfolio Award

Asked by DDI to describe her design philosophy Kong said  “It has always been larger than life, which is why I love working on large-scale projects. I am a storyteller by trade and my exaggerations coincide with my personal style…I enjoy the challenge of pushing my design sensibilities into the uncomfortable realm. I am passionate about working collaboratively and seek out partnerships that can advance a process or experience. I see endless opportunities to create visual engagement.”

In June, Prof. Kong and 12 visual presentation and design students participated in DDI’s Student Window Challenge. The daylong window-dressing event was held at Saks Fifth Avenue’s Fifth Avenue flagship store and ended with an awards presentation hosted by DDI and Saks.


photo used with permission


A President’s Party to Remember!

By , December 15, 2011 4:52 pm

Anne Kong & President Brown

This year’s decorations and production design for the  President’s party were created by Anne Kong, Glenn Sokoli and their students.

President Joyce Brown & Veronica Romano

There were tasty things to nibble on,  great music, and lots of mingling of stylish academics and staff!

more stylish people
Vasilios Christofilakos, Michele Nagel & Christopher Uvenio

The stylish with floral heft! Ed Soyka & Kim Loconto

Thank you President Joyce Brown. To a great year ahead!


What Anne Kong Did on Her Summer Vacation

By , September 2, 2011 4:01 pm

Professor Kong made good use of the City this summer, especially the City’s landmarks and statues. The Visual Presentation and Design professor created 15  giant Skullcandy Aviator headphones for a guerrilla marketing advertising campaign that was to announce the company going public.  It went beyond the normal product shot–way beyond.

“Charging Bull” listening to financial podcasts?

Do you need a swelled head to use these? And what size batteries? Do earphones this size play so loud that they cause stone deafness in the statues?

“The job included sizing them appropriately to fit the Wall Street Bull and 14 other statues located in parks and landmarks throughout New York City for July 20th” said Professor Kong.

“The Garment Worker” accessorized

But will the floor manager ever allow this?

“Mankind Figures of Maiden and Youth” with all important head grear

For more visit: Skullcandy on Facebook

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