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The School of Fashion Sets Trends On and Off the Runway

Each year, BFA Fashion graduates impress with their inventive fashion, textile and knitwear designs. This year was no different as the Graduation Fashion Show drew the eyes of the fashion world to San Francisco for the week.

From Left to Right: Nathalie Rykiel, Gladys Perint Palmer, Cathy Horyn

The week’s events kicked off with a discussion featuring Guests of Honor Cathy Horyn, the fashion critic for the New York Times, and Nathalie Rykiel, the CEO and Artistic Director of Sonia Rykiel. Fashion students filled Morgan Auditorium to hear about the experiences of Horyn and Rykiel and hear their advice for students beginning their careers in fashion.

Moderated by Executive Director of Fashion Gladys Perint Palmer, the conversation ranged from a day in the life of a fashion designer to the power of a fashion journalist. Fashion Merchandising and Journalism students were also able to pose questions to the two guests.

Jewelry by Rachele Barretto
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Throughout Horyn’s career, she has been a journalist first at all times, striving for clarity and truth. In her introduction, Perint Palmer called Horyn’s 2002 article “Is Copying Really a Part of the Creative Process?” one of the “best pieces of investigative fashion journalism I have seen in many years.” The article delves into the story of a Balenciaga piece that bore striking resemblance to a Kaisik Wong vest from 1973. In the article, Horyn brings to life both Wong’s story and the impact such direct referencing has on the greater world of fashion.

As fashion line Sonia Rykiel’s CEO and Artistic Director, Nathalie Rykiel uses two very different sides of her talents. “Working as CEO, you must be serene and cool,” she said. “Working on the artistic side, you must get inspired.”

Both Horyn and Rykiel also attended the Graduation Fashion Show, at which 22 talented Academy of Art University students sent their designs down the runway for an eager crowd. Among the other high profile attendees were Laure du Pavillon, founder of Cœur d’entreprise and former PR Director for Christian LaCroix; Steven Cox and Daniel Silver of Duckie Brown and designer Yigal Azrouël. Last year’s Guest of Honor, renowned fashion journalist Suzy Menkes came out for the show as well.

Some of the designs drew gasps from the audience that filled the tent. Models strutted as cameras flashed, capturing each unique look.

Sketches by Brittany Burggraff
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Drawing inspiration from varied sources, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s concept of the Noble Savage and children’s book series Madeline, each collection conveyed a fresh and individual voice from emerging designers. Their creations ranged from sleek black dresses paired with bold, chunky jewelry to menswear collections in tweed, cashmere and wool suiting.

The designers and artists behind the show included Fashion, Textile, Menswear and Knitwear Design students from the School of Fashion as well as jewelry designers from the School of Fine Art – Sculpture.

Fashion Design by Lauren Haut;
Textile Design by Darrin George
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Several students were awarded scholarships or internships at the event. Cathy Horyn announced the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America scholarships, which were won by students Chris Li, Casey Evangelista and Ran Bi.

Stephanie Duarte and knitwear major Baron Davis were awarded internships with menswear designer Andrew Buckler in New York. Heading overseas is Maggie Mo Luo, who will travel to Paris to intern at Sonia Rykiel.

With its inventive styles and impressive professionalism, the show received press coverage in a variety of publications. From Cathy Horyn’s On the Runway blog and WWD to 7x7 and SF Indie Fashion, images from the Graduation Fashion show are in top fashion magazines, blogs and more.

Lidewij Edelkoort presented Trend Union’s for Fall 2012 / Winter 2013. The Trend Union report, which consists of seven forecasts relevant to design markets, is compiled twice a year. The trend forecast closed out the week of events for the School of Fashion with a glimpse of the future, just as the Graduation Fashion Show offered an enticing peek at the work that can be expected of these 22 emerging designers.

Watch the Graduation Fashion Show.

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