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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THE GREATEST LESSON TIM GUNN EVER LEARNED

Tim Gunn—educator, author, and co-host and mentor for the smash fashion design reality show Project Runway since its debut in 2004—spoke to a packed house of students at the Haft Auditorium on April 2. With his characteristic warmth and charm, he walked the audience through his career, beginning with his realization that he “didn’t like sweating and didn’t like getting dirty…I loved learning and I loved education.”

It wasn’t until he started studying art, he said, that he discovered who he was. Then a mentor asked him to help teach a design course—and almost three decades later, he hasn’t looked back.

Project Runway star Tim Gunn spoke at a Dean's Forum for the Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology. Photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio.

Project Runway star Tim Gunn spoke at a Dean’s Forum for the Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology. Photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio.

The greatest lesson he ever learned is that “the world owes you nothing. You have to make your own place in it. You have to do everything at 150 percent or greater.”

Asked by a student what it’s like to influence so many people through shows like Project Runway and his books on personal style, Gunn said, “I hope I’m giving people the confidence to make their own decisions [in what to wear]. If fashion were easy, everyone would look fabulous.”

Tim Gunn greets students before the event. Photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio.

Tim Gunn greets students before the event. Photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio.

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DESIGNING THE AMERICAN DREAM: ELIE TAHARI

Elie Tahari, the Israeli fashion designer known for the best and worst things a woman could possibly wear to a job interview—the designer suit and the tube top—visited FIT yesterday to celebrate 40 years in fashion.

He was interviewed by Patricia Mears, deputy director of The Museum at FIT, about his career.  He began an impecunious immigrant in New York City, sleeping in Central Park, and slowly built his brand into a $500 million empire.

Elie Tahari shares his wisdom with Patricia Mears in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre at FIT

Elie Tahari shared his wisdom with Patricia Mears in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre at FIT

He said he learned a lot by making clothes at every price point. “It’s easy to do beautiful clothes for $10,000. It’s harder to make clothes for a lot less.”

When a student asked him how to make it in the fashion industry, he replied that the current global market gives every designer, big and small, an equal opportunity. “If you do one good thing well, you have the internet, you have India and China, you have Europe, you have everybody.”

Tahari talked with students at a post-event reception.

Tahari talked with students at a post-event reception.

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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.”

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