“Art Crimes Are The Only Crimes I Approve Of”

Something on my bucket list has always been to attend a fashion show. On May 25th I was finally able to cross it off my list. When the opportunity to attend a fashion show at The High School of Fashion Industries came about I responded right away. Um… YES?

The day of the show I was so excited. I met at FIT with the other bloggers who were covering the event, Karlie and Sarah, and Michelle Nagel, who is the Precollege Programs Director at FIT. We walked to the The High School of Fashion Industries where we saw window displays that showcased the amazing work of its students; I knew we were in for a treat.

Once inside, plates of hor d’oeuvres and drinks flowed as the most important people of the night arrived, Isabel and Ruben Toledo. Isabel and Ruben Toledo were the honorees at the event and are pretty much the cutest couple ever. In case you aren’t familiar with their work, Isabel designed Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown and Ruben is a fantastic artist! As we tried to snap photos of the fabulous duo Ruben caught us off guard when he asked about who we were and about FIT. We told Isabel and Ruben that we were Precollege bloggers for FIT and that we take classes on the weekends. Ruben thought it was wonderful and asked what part of fashion each of us were interested in. He then proceeded to ask us if we had any questions for them, which REALLY scared us because we didn’t have any questions prepared. Luckily, Karlie came to the rescue by coming up with some questions to ask. We found out that Isabel became a designer by making her own clothes as a seamstress and that she doesn’t even know how to sketch! She just describes her designs to Ruben, who sketches them for her. Talk about teamwork!

We marveled at how cute this couple was and how well they played off of each other as they described that they met in a high school Spanish class when they were 13. Ruben claims “it was love at first sight” but it wasn’t for Isabel, who took 4 years to come around. When we said how great it was that they were able to work as such a team, Ruben shook his head saying “I’m just riding on her coattails” which is clearly not the case for the talented artist who has made quite a career for himself.

Erin exclaimed that he did the art for one of her books and Ruben wanted to make sure that she liked it. When she enthusiastically agreed that his work was fantastic, Ruben told her to steal one of his works that were hanging up. He said “Art crimes are the only crimes I approve of.”

Talking with Isabel and Ruben was very entertaining, their stories and watching their chemistry was so intriguing but the fashion show was about to start so we scurried to our seats.

Even without reading the program anyone could see that the theme was “Continental Couture.” There were sections within each with themes that were from different parts of the world. As someone who can barely sew or draw, let alone design and sew complete collection, I was completely blown away. These kids are only one year older than me and the collections were incredible. They were extremely well thought out. There were many mini collections, but each one stood our on its own and was extremely cohesive. Each mini collection made it clear what area the inspiration came from and what type of clothing it was. My favorite mini collections were the “Gaga International” collection that served as a grand finale and the International Bride collection which featured couples and wedding dresses inspired by many different cultures. The models were energetic and the clothing was amazing and ranged from totally out there to completely wearable. I thought the students did a fabulous job!

Seeing this fashion show was such a great experience and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to go. I think that the High School of Fashion Industries is great because it really allowed these students to push themselves to make garments and produce a fashion show all of their own. I didn’t really know what to expect but I was so excited to see their garments. I saw a lot of “now” trends and some fresh ideas and I really hope that these students keep working on fashion because it would be really exciting to see what they will do next.

Sarah

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the event:

 

A Smile That Said a Few Hundred Words

I HAVE SUCH EXCITING NEWS! But for it to make any sense, I have to give you the whole story!

So, if you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know that I’m the kind of girl that jumps at every opportunity. As a Precollege Blogger, I jumped when Brian emailed us about attending the Fashion High School Graduating Class’s fashion show, and I jumped high.   I had no idea what it would be like, all I knew was that it was a chance I was going to take. I didn’t realize this chance would be different from all the others… until that night.

Last week, I went with 2 other bloggers, Sarah and Erin, and Michelle Nagel, the Precollege Program Director at FIT, to the Fashion High School a couple blocks down from FIT. We walked in and were greeted welcomingly. There was a lot of people taking pictures, and getting their pictures taken. People wore high-end apparel, as well as work attire. Hor d’oeuvres were served, and people chatted away.

The High School of Fashion Industries is a public school for students living in the 5 Burroughs with a special interest in fashion. Beginning in 9th grade, they learn all about designing and the industry. For their graduation requirements, they put on a show completely made up of garments that they made, with students modeling them.

I had no idea what to expect from these kids, I was too busy being jealous that I didn’t go to fashion high school! However, when I walked in, I could tell from the art work on the walls that I was going to be impressed. Their talents were obvious, and their art work was beautiful.

Erin, Sarah, and I snapped away hundreds of pictures of the student’s work. We met the  creative director of Saks 5th Avenue, and had our pictures taken, and watched in awe as the world of fashion that we love so much take place right before us. We walked in to the auditorium to find good seats, but instead we were distracted by the guests of honor, the Toledo’s, posing for the cameras.

We quickly whipped out our camera’s and got as many pictures as possible. And then, it happened.

I was sneaking around camera men, trying to get a good angle, while Ruben Toledo signed the bag he designed to raise funds for the school for a fan. When he finished, he looked up, and must’ve seen us so eager to get their picture, because he reached out his hand and introduced himself to me! I was in awe. I was silently, well, freaking out. I had no idea what to say, so I said what I had been saying all night… “Hello, my name is Karlie and I’m a blogger for the Precollege Program at FIT.” He said it was wonderful to meet us! He was gracious and kind, as the three of us gathered around while he introduced us to his wife, Isabel. We told him we were there so we could blog about the night’s events, and he told me I could ask them any questions i’d like. I panicked. I had not been prepared to interview anyone, especially not the guests of honor. As the fear in me began to rise, Alina Cho, CNN’s Reporter came up to us and Mr. Toledo joked about how we would replace her one day. Another introduction, an explanation of who we were and why we were there, and I had just enough time to straighten my mind out and gather some questions.

He turned back to me and asked about the questions. Not only was he kind enough to introduce his wife and himself, but he was really engaging in conversation with us, we practically had an entire interview!

I asked how they would describe their experience in the fashion industry. They described a dream-like story of a starving artist and his fashionable wife, and told us not to wait around, just do what you love. I asked who the most influential person in each of their lives was. She pointed to him, and he laughed, and said he would say the same. His love for her was beaming in his eyes, and I looked in adoration for this wonderful couple. I asked how they met, and he said he was 13 and fell in love when he saw her in spanish class, but she took some warming up.

Then it was time for the show to start. Okay, I needed to absorb what just happened. I had just met two very prominent people in the fashion industry, living my dream, and the night wasn’t even near over.

We sat right behind the camera men, hoping to get the best shots we could. We had to position ourselves between a few flailing arms with several cameras, and prepared for the show to start.

They began with simple pieces, and gradually built up to their more technical work. They showed well put together collections, with prominent themes and versatility.

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“If You Want to Make Donuts, Make Donuts…”

Before I explain about the donuts, let me tell you about my night on the 25th…basically, it was fabulous! I got to attend the senior fashion show at the High School of Fashion Industries with two other bloggers, Karlie and Sarah. The show was in honor of Isabel and Ruben Toledo,  who are the most amazing people I have ever met. I’m going to gush over them in a little bit so be warned. Before the show started we wandered around taking pictures (and got our pictures taken too!). Then we managed to meet the Toledos, which was an absolute dream come true. Isabel Toledo? She designed Michelle Obama’s inauguration dress. Ruben Toledo? Walk into the museum at FIT and you’ll see his art on the wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look how gorgeous they are! Isabel’s outfit was absolutely flawless, and Ruben is the most charming and friendly person you will ever meet!

 

When we took their pictures they asked what we were there for, so we explained about the blog. Thank goodness for Karlie, who managed to think of some questions to ask them while me and Sarah were starstruck.

They described their design process as “organic” because they work so naturally and freely together. Isabel actually describes her designs out loud while Ruben sketches them for her. And of course, they named each other as the most influential person in their lives. It’s fascinating to watch them talk together. When Ruben claims he’s only riding on Isabel’s coattails, she laughs and flaps her coattails out. When I mention that Ruben did the artwork for the cover of my copy of Pride & Prejudice (it was the reason I bought the book), Isabel looks at Ruben and says “that’s right!”; he wants to know if I liked it. Um, YES! Then he said I could steal some of his artwork that was in the lobby of the school because art theft is a crime of passion. It was a very tempting idea, but I managed to restrain myself. I bought a tote bag with the drawing he did especially for the fashion show as a consolation to art theft. They also encouraged anyone who knows what they want to do for a career to start when they are young. (“If you want to make donuts, make donuts!”) The Toledos met in their high school Spanish class, so it looks like starting young works out pretty well.

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