Waiting in the wings for Robert Verdi

Robert Verdi and Jewelry Design Chair Michael Coan

His taste is” impeccable,” as the New York Times declared in 1998. The Times also described his job title as “elusive.” The real issue is that FIT alumnus Robert Verdi has many titles: tastemaker, celebrity stylist, brand ambassador, lifestyle leader and in his own words “fearless entrepreneur and fashion superhero.”

“Few people combine personality, talent knowledge and an inherent eye for style. One of them is Robert Verdi. He’s a person one waits to talk to,” says Jewelry Design Chair Michael Coan.

And wait they did. Students and alum lined up to speak to Verdi after his spellbinding and characteristically animated talk on Monday as part of the Faces & Places lecture series curated by Prof. Joshua Williams. 

But first Verdi ecstatically grabbed a hug from his former teacher, Coan.

“He’s a phenomenal inspiration,” says Coan. As a student he was “maddening and a divergent learner. He wasn’t mainstream, but a major person of interest. He certainly challenged my skills in teaching at that time, making me aware of the creativity involved in working with “divergent” thinkers.”

Robert Verdi, FIT grad and “fearless entrepreneur and fashion superhero”
Robert Verdi, FIT grad and “fearless entrepreneur and fashion superhero”

 Says Coan, “Verdi, could gain an amazing grasp of a topic within a short period of time. I remembered how he whipped through the auction catalogs I gave him, gathering images, styles, making notes of styles he liked and styles he disliked.

…And, he knew how to make them better.”


photos: Rachel Ellner

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