Monthly Archives: April 2012


Making a magazine, Hue has found out, is kind of like making a movie.  Some of the best bits get left on the cutting-room floor.  When Hue was busy producing a profile of Francisco Costa, Fashion Design ’90, for the current issue, he told us this juicy bit that we just didn’t have room to include.  Here it is.

Hue asked Costa, currently the women’s creative director of Calvin Klein Collection, whether his mother, who designed children’s wear, ever created anything for him.  He said no, but added:

“There was one point in life that I designed something for myself. I was probably nine. I was invited to go spend a week with my uncle, who organized horse shows. I felt like I had to have a new wardrobe. So I designed myself this little burgundy gabardine safari suit. It was such a disaster. I commissioned a local seamstress, not my mom’s people, because of course she would probably say to me ‘no.’ I had this woman, Martha, make it for me. I took it on my trip. So I arrive on this little vacation at my uncle’s house and my cousins are like cowboys, you know? And we are ready to go the horse show, this like, fair in the middle of nowhere, and I put on my gabardine suit, my burgundy gabardine suit, and they all look at me as though, ‘What’s happening here?’ I thought, ‘there’s something wrong. Why am I here? Why am I here in this gabardine suit?’”

Now the embodiment of chic-ness, Mr. Costa once wore a very sad gabardine suit that he designed himself. Photo by the fabulous Mr. Romer Pedron '09 (


[In the fall, Jonathan Vatner, Hue staff writer,  took an introductory menswear sewing class. He has been blogging about his experiences on Hue, Too.]

Near the end of the second class, after teaching us various types of seams, Professor Blackman gathered the class together for the FIT version of the fireside chat. He laid four bolts of fabric on the table: a red-and-mustard paisley; a purple gingham; a thin, orange, vaguely South Asian print; and a heavier, more colorful print.

“If your hands are clean, feel these fabrics and tell me which one you think is the most expensive. If your hands aren’t clean, don’t you dare touch them.”

Define “clean,” I asked myself, as I sniffed my fingers.

Everyone in the class gave their best guess. I figured it was anything but the paisley, which reminded me of bloody vomit. As a journalist, however, I figured it unethical to announce my guess.

The Paisley

The hideous -- I mean gorgeous -- paisley

“I bought the paisley in Milan this summer,” Professor Blackman revealed. “It’s Etro, and it cost me a little more than $100 a yard. It’s the most expensive.”

I was glad I held to my journalistic standards—and I quickly discerned the incomparable beauty of that paisley.

He then explained how men’s shirts are priced. Essentially, figure out the cost of 2.5 yards of the fabric, add the CMT cost (cut, make and trim – essentially, the production cost, which might be a few cents if made on a machine overseas or 20-plus dollars if made locally), and then “keystone” that figure twice (i.e. double it twice, once to profit the manufacturer and a second time to profit the retailer).

By my calculation, a shirt made of that luscious paisley would cost more than $1,000, significantly more than the $40 I paid for the shirt on my back. And either way, one bad stain and it’s landfill.


Hue loves stumbling upon engaging student work, as happened recently in the D building lobby, where Professor Curtis Willocks had organized a display of photo books created for various classes. Brian Edwards’s Transformations blew Hue’s mind. (Brian’s the counselor assistant for evening/weekend degree programs at FIT.) The self-proclaimed “sucker for intense depth of field” decided to take his first photography class after searching through portfolios for someone to shoot his 2010 wedding.

The beginning of the transformation

“The assignment was to tell a story in a book,” Brian relates. “I wanted to do something a little taboo, a little shocking—that’s where my passion lies.”

He decided to shoot someone getting into and out of drag, but none of the ones he asked had the time or inclination. So he did it himself.

Make me up before you go-go

The makeup stage

Yep, that’s him, putting on loads o’ makeup (including brand-new eyebrows). He styled and photographed every stage of the process, checking each one after he took it. Thirteen hours and 950 shots later, he was satisfied. (Hue gives him an A+.)

“You have to be patient and be in the moment,” he says, of self-portraiture. “Otherwise you can see in the images that all you are thinking about is the next shot.”

Mr. Edwards is taking more classes, with plans to earn FIT’s new certificate in digital photography. Look for other gender-bending projects from this talented lad in the future—though maybe not always as the model.

Voila! You'd never know she was a he.



Hue is mad for all things Grace Jones.  Hue digs her hair, clothes, bad attitude, and cheek bones.  Hue cherishes the fact that Grace Jones was pals with illustrator Antonio Lopez, Illustration ’64.  Sometimes we find ourselves walking down the street with our ginormous headphones on, listening to Grace Jones sing in that perfectly cool, kinda butch voice, and we find ourselves thinking, “There never has been, and never will be, anyone as fabulous as Grace Jones.  Ever.”

When Hue found out that Dana Manno, who teaches dance at FIT and is the college’s Theater Ensemble advisor, wrote Grace’s big hit, “Pull Up to the Bumper,” we were nearly apoplectic.  We raced over to interview Manno.  The results can be found in the latest issue of Hue, page 13.

“Pull Up to the Bumper” is one of those songs that doesn’t age.  Though it was released in 1981, it still sounds perfect blasting out of your car’s stereo speakers.  On the off chance that you’ve never heard it, you sad creature, we present it here:

In addition to penning the words to an immortal pop tune, Manno’s done quite a lot of other things, like dance with Katherine Dunham and the Metropolitan Opera Company.  She also acted in and choreographed Gordon Parks’s 1976 bio-pic, Leadbelly.  You can watch her dance and perform in this clip, beginning at about 7:45:

embedded by Embedded Video

Manno is also a happy, upbeat person, as you can see in this picture of her performing the song last summer in Central Park.

Manno says she's always had a fondness for double entendre.


[In the fall, Jonathan Vatner, Hue staff writer,  took an introductory menswear sewing class. He has been blogging about his experiences on Hue, Too.]

Our first assignment was to sew in straight lines on ruled paper, without thread. We were to produce three sheets, the rows perfectly perforated by our sewing needles.

I sat down to a machine and, after some searching, found the power switch.

Success, I thought.

When I started to feed my paper into the needle, the paper was sliding all over the place. I soon realized that I was working without a presser foot. A friendly undergraduate showed me how to screw in the presser foot, and soon my lines looked much better.

Still, I kept pressing the foot pedal too hard and sending my stitch careening to one side. I decided that I would allow imperfection for the first sheet and get serious for the second.

My first line on the second sheet looked dreadful, so I figured the second would be practice, too. My third sheet: ditto.

OK, this one is for real, I thought as I tore out the fourth sheet. And again for the fifth sheet.

“What are you doing?” asked the friendly undergraduate. “Are you even a student here?”

Two hours and eight sheets later, I gave up. If you held my last few sheets at a distance and squinted, they looked OK.

Glamorous furrows, these

My best page of stitches without thread

At the start of class, I handed Professor Blackman my best three. Perusing them, he asked, “You have sewing experience prior to here?”

“Well, it was a long time ago,” I mumbled.

Smiling warmly, he handed me the sheets. “It’s coming back,” he said.

I nearly fainted.