Category Archives: Hue Too’s News

Campus happenings.

MESSAGES FROM THE TOP

Instead of holding meetings, the larger-than-life Vogue editrix Diana Vreeland communicated through memos, dictated from the privacy of her office (and sometimes her bathroom, where she had a phone installed). She sent them to editors, fashion designers, photographers, and anyone else involved in creating the magazine.

Her grandson, Alexander Vreeland, collected these missives, along with the images from Vogue that they helped engineer, in a coffee-table book, published by Rizzoli in 2013. On March 25, another of her grandsons, Nicholas Vreeland, and a great-grandson, Reed Vreeland, chatted about the book in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre. The event was part of The Museum at FIT’s Fashion Culture programming.

diana-vreeland-memos

Her missives are at turns funny, visionary, and insane. In one, she stressed the importance of seeing the ankle bones of Gypsies in editorial images. In another, she imagined a Vogue shoot taking place on the moon.

The letters were typed on many layers of onionskin. “If you got a clear memo, you were on top,” Nicholas remembered. “If you got a smudgy memo, you were probably the equivalent of an intern.”

She was relentless in getting her point across, often sending two or three memos about the importance of, say, the color gray.

“It’s very important to read them aloud,” Nicholas said. “You really get a sense of the way she used words.”

“NEW VIEWS” IN THE REARVIEW

Time has run out on seeing FIT’s excellent 2014 School of Art and Design Faculty Exhibition, New Views. This year, to accommodate oversized artworks, the interdisciplinary show was moved from The Museum at FIT to The John E. Reeves Great Hall. It was up for just a week; fortunately, Hue peeked in before it was too late.

Wandering among the 90-plus artworks, from paintings to accessories to garments created by faculty in the School of Art and Design’s 17 majors, was a bewitching experience.

The "cover" of John Goodwin's animated retelling of the Cinderella story.

The “cover” of John Goodwin’s animated retelling of the Cinderella story.

A girl’s voice called out from the hum; it was an animated retelling of the Cinderella story by Adjunct Assistant Professor John D. Goodwin. A young girl narrated as animated silhouettes of ugly sisters and fabulous dressmaking flitted by on digital pages. It was hard to look away.

Hue was moved by Associate Professor CJ Yeh’s “Perfect 10,” an “augmented reality” commentary on unrealistic beauty standards among Asian girls. When the viewer stands in front of the mirror and shouts, a collage of Asian actresses’ and supermodels’ faces begins to be applied to the viewer’s. Hue is quite happy with the non-augmented reality of our own face, thank you very much.

CJ Yeh's "Perfect 10," a video screen that toys with the viewer's natural beauty.

CJ Yeh’s “Perfect 10,” a video screen that toys with the viewer’s natural beauty.

New Views was up February 8 to 16. If you missed it, you can see the works on the exhibition website.

HOLIDAY “MAGRITTE-INGS” FROM FIT! (OR, THINGS JUST GOT WEIRD)

The holiday season came early this year at FIT: This week, a Surrealism-themed pop-up shop, “Holiday Bizarre,” touched down in the Pomerantz Center lobby, featuring designer fashions selected from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Thrift Shop—“the Bergdorf of thrift stores,” according to Anne Kong, Display and Exhibit Design ’77, assistant professor of Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design. The shop is open from 12 to 8 through Saturday, November 23, and all profits go to cancer research, education, and patient outreach.

“Thrift store shopping is not just a trend,” Kong said. “With Beacon’s Closet, Housing Works, and Buffalo Exchange, it has become a new channel of retail experience.”

The storefront of “Holiday Bizarre,” created by students in the Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design Department. The Merchandising Society is staffing the shop.

The space didn’t pop up out of nowhere. Earlier this year, the MSK Thrift Shop worked with two VPED classes, led by Kong and Adjunct Assistant Professor Mary Costantini, to invent and execute a retail concept to bring secondhand fashion to FIT. One of the classes, on “point of sale,” teaches pop-up shops; the other involves building installations for visual merchandising.

There was no shortage of fun proposals: a gingerbread house, an antique circus, an homage to Bryant Park holiday shops, everything purple, and more. But the Surrealism idea won out for a few reasons. First, it reflected the artistic bent of the School of Art and Design. Second, it didn’t hew to any particular religion. Third, it coincided with an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art about René Magritte. Fourth, it had a killer name.

“Originally it didn’t have the name, and I said it needed one,” Kong remembered. “When the students came back with ‘Holiday Bizarre,’ everything changed.”

Shopping at the “Holiday Bizarre” is totally surreal.

The students had three weeks and $4,000 to build it. They crafted a storefront to look like picture frames and made eyeball ornaments out of beach balls. The details are all there, too: hand-printed hang tags, customized shopping bags, a Magritte shower curtain for the changing room, and other surprises.

They also worked with the thrift shop to curate the merchandise for the FIT community. (Net-A-Porter also donated new and slightly damaged pieces.) Considering a pair of Louboutins already went for $550, Hue thinks they got it right.

Update: The final sales tally after five days was a whopping $35,000. Bravo to all involved!

FIT’S REALITY STARS WERE HERE TO MAKE FRIENDS

“If you get the chance to be on TV, take it!” Cathy Hobbs, Interior Design ’06, advised a group of students and alumni in the John E. Reeves Great Hall on Tuesday. “It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

Hobbs was one of three alumni TV stars invited to talk about their careers in the spotlight on Tuesday, in the culminating event of Alumni Day of Legacy Week. Brian Williams, Fashion Merchandising Management, vice president of alumni affairs for the FIT Student Association, moderated.

All three stars were glad they said yes to the tube.

“TV has made me an international figure,” said Sondra Celli, Menswear Design and Marketing ’78, known for her TLC shows My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding and Bling It On. (When TLC called her about the show, she was initially hesitant.) “I could never have bought this much press.”

“I never thought I’d become a gypsy designer,” Sondra Celli said. “They pulled my name out of someone’s Rolodex and started calling me.”

Hobbs, a TV reporter and finalist on Season 6 of HGTV’s Design Star, remembered the taping process as being incredibly intense. She was picked up in a van and left in a hotel without her cell phone or wallet. “It was like being incarcerated.” And she was miked constantly. Whenever her microphone was off, she was “on ice,” which meant she wasn’t allowed to speak. Oh, and her daughter was one year old at the time.

For Cathy Hobbs, Interior Design ’06, “Reality shows seemed like the shortest line between two points.”

Daniel Silverstein, Fashion Design ’10, found the auditions for Fashion Star very daunting. A casting agent emailed him, offering a VIP interview. When he got to the show, he understood that he might not be so special after all. “There were 100 VIPs and also a line of not-VIPs around the block.”

“Because of the show, I’ve sold to Saks, I’ve sold to Macy’s, I’ve sold to Express,” Daniel Silverstein said. “When I exhibit at trade shows, buyers think, ‘NBC invested in you, so I can too.'”

But all three have survived their dabblings with reality. Celli’s business has expanded by leaps and bounds. Hobbs has a line of paints, with other products coming soon. And Silverstein has already sold a million dollars worth of his product.

As soon as there’s a reality show that pits writers and editors against each other in a series of solitary, internal challenges, Hue is definitely going to audition.

Celli will rhinestone anything: glasses, shoes, even toilet paper. (Honey Boo Boo, eat your heart out.)

ARTIST WILLIAM WEGMAN VISITS FIT, UNLEASHES HIS IDEAS

The artist William Wegman came to FIT last night, bringing engaging slides of his work but, alas, none of the Weimaraner dogs he’s so famous for photographing. Wegman visited as part of a series organized by the college’s photography department, and presented the very image of a working artist, with rumpled gray hair and a blue checked shirt.

Wegman loves to create, and his work fits generally into the category of surrealism, though he said, surprisingly, that Norman Rockwell was an early influence. Wegman paints and makes sculpture and videos, but he’s most famous for his dog pictures:

Like so much of his career, as Wegman tells it, the discovery of photography was fortuitous, almost an accident.  In the mid-’60s he took his first photograph. It was of salami. “That’s still my best photo,” he said, with evident irony.

Painters Sol LeWitt and Ed Ruscha collected his early photographs, which Wegman initially used to document his performance art.  An early series of photos featuring the Weimaraner Man Ray, Wegman said, “is kind of like a Sol LeWitt painting, but with a dog.” By the late ’70s, he said, “my photography began to be dominated by Man Ray, who loved to work.” A few years after Man Ray died, Wegman got another dog, Fay Wray. “She almost demanded to work,” he said. “She looked right into the lens.” He later made videos of the dogs for Saturday Night Live and Sesame Street. Here’s one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_IFN4lh59Y

 

A surprising sense of playfulness, of low-key spontaneity and experimentation, characterized the talk. “I would never think these pictures through beforehand,” he said. “They weren’t planned.” At one point, a student asked what lens he used to photograph the dogs. “I don’t know,” Wegman replied. “I’m not a photographer.”

Wegman with FIT Photography faculty Jessica Wynne, who organizes the Photo Talks series.