ART AND DESIGN STUDENTS DID IT AGAIN (AND BY “IT” WE MEAN CREATE AWESOME WORK)

It’s mid-July, and FIT is (relatively) quiet. But Hue can’t forget that just two months ago, a stunning array of graduating student artwork from the School of Art and Design festooned FIT’s corridors and gallery spaces.

Enjoy some of our favorites in this slide show!

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PROJECT RUNWAY STAR MICHAEL COSTELLO MAKES IT WORK FOR BEYONCE

On Season 8 of Project Runway, Michael Costello was known as the one who cried a lot. Now he’s known as the designer who created Beyonce’s show-stopping dress for the Grammys this year—along with two dozen slinky costumes for her On the Run tour with Jay-Z. Hue considers that a step up.

Project Runway alum Michael Costello gives students a glimpse of his online presence.

Project Runway alum Michael Costello gives students a glimpse of his online presence. Photo by Smiljana Peros.

Costello, who has almost 592,000 followers on Instagram as of today, and who regularly grosses six figures a month from his L.A. showroom, guest-spoke at Fashion Events Planning Confidential, a class in FIT’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies taught by Barbara Berman, on Wednesday. He gabbed about designing dresses for the Kardashians, Paris Hilton, and, of course, the Queen Bey.

The Beyonce dress came about after her stylist, Ty Hunter, scheduled a visit to his showroom. Hunter, always referring to Beyonce as “she,” said, “She wants to be naked. She wants to be sexy. She wants to effortless.”

Costello showed him all 300 dresses in the showroom, but nothing clicked. Hunter asked what he was working on. It was a collection called “Winter Wonderland,” inspired by a recent trip to New York. (Those of us who actually had to live through this past winter might have selected choicer verbiage to describe it.)

Hunter gravitated toward an unfinished white gown made of fabric pieces shaped like flowers and lined with nude mesh. “When we put it on the model, he was like ‘Yesssss,’” Costello recalls.

Beyonce wore Costello's dress for the 2014 Grammy Awards.

Beyonce wore Costello’s dress for the 2014 Grammy Awards. Credit: Getty Images.

But no one told Costello when or whether Beyonce would actually wear the dress. He prayed that she would wear it to the Grammys. She wasn’t on the red carpet, though, and when she did appear, in a smoking La Perla “Cage” vest for her opening act, his heart sank.

Less a minute later, Hunter posted a close-up of the white flower fabric on his Instagram feed and linked to Costello’s page. A few seconds after that, Costello got 5,000 followers.

Once the performance was over, Beyonce appeared in the dress. “After that, it just blew up,” he says.

Costello spent two full hours talking with the class.

Costello spent two full hours talking with the class. Photo by Smiljana Peros.

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A FANCIFUL FLOCK OF FEATHERY FOWL AT FIT

Passersby migrating down Seventh Avenue in April may have noticed a certain avian majesty in the Pomerantz Center lobby.

Some of the birds in the Fowl Play exhibition.

Some of the birds in the Fowl Play exhibition.

Through the magic of brightly colored feathers, two sections of Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design students, overseen by faculty members Anne Kong and Mary Costantini and with help from Glenn Sokoli, transformed mannequins into their interpretations of a bald eagle, a flamingo, a snow owl, and many other birds.

The idea came about after Chloe Arauz, Fashion Merchandising Management ’10, showroom manager and trend director at the Feather Place, a shop in the Garment District, pitched the idea of teaching students about feathers.

The students visited the Feather Place’s showroom and learned how feathers are shaved, dyed, and trimmed, to be prepared for use in fashion. Hue was relieved to know that feathers are only harvested when birds are put to other uses, such as for meat or ostrich leather.

Each small group of students chose a bird and studied its shape, size, pose, and style. They selected the perfect mannequin and feathered together a fabulous coat.

This blue guinea fowl would be right at home on a runway!

This blue guinea fowl would be right at home on a runway!

They used turkey quill feathers and various kinds of rooster feathers, such as stripped coque, in which all the barbs are removed except at the tip. They avoided ostrich feathers, though: because of a recent ostrich shortage, the feathers have become pricey.

“A lot of them used four or five different birds in their mannequins,” Arauz notes. “You couldn’t look at them and say, ‘That’s a turkey feather.’”

The birds have long scattered, but they will flock once more at the Long House Reserve in East Hampton on July 19 for an event to honor Cindy Sherman and Agnes Gund.

This prancing flamingo must have left its backwater to study at FIT.

This prancing flamingo must have left its backwater to study at FIT.

 

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HOW TO GET INTO FIT, COURTESY OF SAVED BY THE BELL

Hue is eagerly awaiting today’s Future of Fashion runway show, a collection of the best looks from this year’s graduating BFA Fashion Design students. It will be streamed live today at 7 pm on the Future of Fashion website.

By some bizarre coincidence, the fashion show episode of Saved by the Bell was on TV a few days ago. (And no, Hue was not curled up in a cashmere blanket, binge-watching E! over a double-cup of Swiss Miss Marshmallow Lovers cocoa.)

Many of today’s graduating students have probably never seen Saved by the Bell, that classic early-’90s sitcom about the ka-razy hijinks of a group of high school friends who spend most of their lives in a diner. In fact, a lot of them weren’t even alive on September 26, 1992, when this episode originally ran.

Zack Morris warns Screech to stay on script in a fashion-show episode of Saved by the Bell.

Zack Morris warns Screech to stay on script in a fashion-show episode of Saved by the Bell.

In it, “The Bayside Triangle,” Lisa wants to get into FIT, or “The Fashion Institute,” as they also call it. (The word “Technology” is such a tongue-twister!) Instead of applying, which would really be quite boring to watch, she does what any high-school fashionista would do: she puts on a fashion show for an FIT recruiter, who flies in from New York to see it. (Did the writers know FIT is a public institution?)

Jessie and Kelly model Lisa's designs. Hue loves the shoulder pads.

Jessie and Kelly model Lisa’s designs. Hue adores the shoulder pads.

Of course the show wows the recruiter with such avant-garde designs as olive-green denim pants and blazers “made of pure Belgian wool.” And despite Screech’s attempts to derail the show, the recruiter proudly states that, “I know fashion talent when I see it. And I am recommending you for admission to F… I… T!”

If only life were so easy.

The recruiter, in the blue skirt suit, confers her recommendation.

The recruiter, in the skirt suit, confers her recommendation.

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GRAPHIC MEMOIRIST EATS, WRITES, DRAWS (AND EATS SOME MORE)

“Comics gift the written word with color and line and bless the drawn image with narrative,” graphic memoirist Lucy Knisley rhapsodized, when she spoke at FIT in late March, sponsored by FIT Words, the Culinary Arts Club, and the English and Speech Department.

Lucy Knisley

Lucy Knisley, plotting something.

Knisley gave an annotated reading of her graphic-memoir-cum-cookbook, Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, which came out in 2013 but is still being translated into more languages. The story follows her foodie family (her mother is a chef), with family recipes interspersed. The drawings, Knisley noted, make the recipes much easier to follow.

“Comics are a nice balance between learning to cook from a cookbook and learning to cook from someone,” she explained.

The cover of Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

The cover of Relish: My Life in the Kitchen.

The Culinary Arts Club whipped up a few recipes from the book—including chocolate chip cookies and a delicious spaghetti carbonara—and served them to guests. At this moment, for some reason, Hue began to like Knisley very much.

Hue asked her if it was tricky, writing about and drawing real people in her work. She responded that she follows a few basic rules. “I never use comics as a weapon. I usually ask permission. And I always draw them as attractive as possible.”

Knisley's illustrated recipe for Huevos Rancheros, from her book, Relish.

Knisley’s illustrated recipe for Huevos Rancheros, from her book, Relish.

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