Friday, May 24, 2013

Fashion Benefit

"Parsons on the Hudson"

Parsons Honorees Bonnie Brooks with Lazaro Hernandez
 & Jack McCullough of Proenza Schouler
(Photo: Dan Lecca)

Who will be the next Donna, Marc, Francisco, Narciso? If you were at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers Wednesday evening, you may have a pretty good idea. Parsons, The New School for Design,,  a revered institution known for churning out some of the most formidable talent on the planet (including the aforementioned names), held its annual Fashion Benefit on Wednesday evening. This year, the honorees were Parsons alumni Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler, and Bonnie Brooks, President of the Hudson's Bay Company,  for their contributions to Parsons, the fashion industry, and philanthropy. Funds raised at this benefit, which is now in its 65th year, are used for scholarships.  During the course of the evening, Parsons Executive Dean Joel Towers made the announcement that this year, nearly $1.7 million had been raised.

Michael Vollbracht & Kay Unger

 The popular event space, situated directly on the Hudson River with floor to ceiling windows,  could not have been more perfect, given the summer like weather, and it was maximized to full tilt.  While it was fashion gridlock inside, guests including Beth Rudin de Woody, Parsons Trustee; Kay Unger, Incoming Board Chair, Parsons; Bridget Foley; Sally Singer; Hamish Bowles; Margaret Hayes; Steven Kolb; Julie Gilhart; Mickey Boardman; Michael Vollbracht; Olivier Theyskens; Christian Siriano; Parsons alumni Reed Krakoff, Tracy Reese, Narciso Rodriguez, Prabal Gurung, Carly Chusnie, Michele Ochs, and Patrick Robinson mingled about. 
Designs by Wei Ng

A vast room leading out to the terrace - where many enjoyed their cocktails watching the boats go by - was transformed into the ultimate showroom, with a well edited, highly visual, and compelling selection of some of the graduating students' collections (clothing and accessories) on display. Among those that caught my eye: Wei Ng's beautiful white dress with a painterly abstract design in orange and black, and a sculptural black coat; Hyun Jung Yoo's and Sumaiyah Akhtar's minimal and architectural designs in black and white; and Jung Yun Park's graphic designs in Saga mink.

Womenswear Designer of the Year Kaye Applewaite
(Photo: Dan Lecca)

A highlight of the event is always the runway show of select collections by graduating students, and the naming of the Designers of the Year. In 2002, McCollough and Hernandez received this honor, as did Marc Jacobs in his graduating year, so I guess one can say this is a pretty good barometer of future success and star status. This year’s recipients were Womenswear Designers of the Year Harim Jung from Seoul, South Korea, and Kaye Applewaite from Barbados; Menswear Designer of the Year Yunxiang Sharon Zhou from Tai’An, China; and Childrenswear Designer of the Year Diana Flavio Woodside from Los Angeles. 

- Marilyn Kirschner

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