Archive for the Academy of Art (AAU) Category

Academy of Art University Graduation Fashion Show 2009

Posted in Academy of Art (AAU), Art & Artists, Designers, Fashion with tags , , on April 29, 2009 by shapach


Considering this was my first Academy fashion show that I have attended (I know right!), I was so overwhelmed and excited. I spent about a million hours getting ready. What does one wear to a fashion show? The ensemble must be extremely fashionable, of course…and comfortable, considering I was going to be sitting for an hour, craning my neck in anticipation for the next in a series of remarkable collections.

I invited my mother, the ultimate fashionista who taught me everything I know about style, and whom I was sure would appreciate such an astounding event. I rushed us up the hill toward the Morgan Auditorium on Post St., fearing we would be late and not wanting to miss even a millisecond of the action. When we arrived, crowds of people were still coming in and taking their seats.

Attending numerous symposiums in this same auditorium had taught me that nothing can be seen from the lower pews except the backs of scraggly heads, so I went straight for the balcony, knowing we would have the best vantage point of the runway from above.  We slid into the most perfect seats in the house, front row hanging directly over the stage, on the right side. Thankfully the show hadn’t started yet, so I had time to get out my camera and sweat it out eagerly until the show commenced.

After many grueling minutes of waiting longingly, the President of the Academy, Lisa Stevens, was introduced to say a few words. Then finally…the lights went low and the music started.

Many beautiful and intriguing collections were then paraded down the stage, including collaborations between fashion designers, textile designers, and jewelry designers from the Fine Arts department. I happily snapped away in amazement, like a tourist on a wild safari, almost too stunned to believe my eyes.


I love garments that have an edgy, urban style so I was thrilled to see the collection of Aurelie Martin-Chiari, who worked with textile designer Van Kim Le, to create a a series of outfits inspired by the children’s book, “Where the Wild Things Are.” The whole concept really brought out the inner street warrior in all of us, especially when accessorized with trendy, neon colored sneakers. Featuring intricate patterns of neon swirling lines printed on hoodies, footsies (one-piece jumpsuits complete with feet), and pants with protruding spikes, the collection was reminiscent of mom’s homemade monster costumes from the Halloweens of childhoods past.





Every collection had an impact and thoughtfulness of its own, and goes to show the superb talent and dedication behind each designer that the Academy continually produces, sending forth such raw vitality to make their mark on the wide world of fashion. It’s times like this that make me proud to be a part of the family at the Academy of Art University.

After the show, as everyone piled out and the room slowly became empty, I simply sat in awe and soaked in the energy. If it weren’t for my bladder, I may have never moved from that seat!

Catch the whole show here!


Academy of Art University Fall 2009 Graduate Collection, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week: New York

Posted in Academy of Art (AAU), Fashion, NY Fashion Week with tags on February 15, 2009 by shapach

fall-2009-mb-fashion-wk1Photo credit: Getty Images

Each year, the Academy of Art University chooses a handful of outstanding collections to be featured in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, in New York.  The Academy of Art is the only school IN THE WORLD to be invited to participate, so to say that these fashion students are talented is an insult to their abilities.

When you combine the creme-da-la-creme of design students with top-notch textile designers, the result is mind-boggling! Among the few elite and amazing designers privileged enough to attend this prestigious event were design teams Heather Howard & Cat Janky, I-Shan Liou & Myoung Hee Kim, Emily Melville & Ivanka Georgieva, Qianya Martin, Scott Macfarland, and The Britex Fabrics Project.

Victorian vacation: This collection was inspired by drawings of early American colonial life. While the quaint nineteenth century prints paired with adorable, lace-up Victorian boots transport you right back to the prairie, I’m reminded of the reason why Laura left her Little Home.

Color palette: Consists of mostly neutrals like beige, taupe, and black, paired with soft periwinkle and shots of navy. Very subdued and natural, the colors depict a visual homage to the simplicity of an early settler’s wardrobe. 

Shapes and silhouettes: Most of the garments were long and voluminous, A-line dresses. One tailored menswear-inspired piece stuck out as the slimmest silhouette.

I could have done without…the horrible fingerless gloves and black knit caps, precariously perched, making the models look like homeless Amish women, or T.I. Either way, not the way I would have styled this collection. 

Overall critique: The collection is a bit dowdy and matronly, if not impractical. Other than being used as a set wardrobe for HBO’s Big Love, I don’t think anyone will get much use out of it. Also the way the collection was styled wasn’t appropriate in evoking the mood. In an attempt to modernize the look, several “hip” accessories were added, but instead, just ended up confusing the eye. Left to stand on it’s own, though, the collection is a beautifully crafted piece of workmanship.

 To view all of the collections visit

“You Are Where You Sit”

Posted in Academy of Art (AAU), Fashion, Hair, NY Fashion Week with tags , on February 8, 2009 by shapach

The day started off like any other. I boarded the BART train, running my usual 20 minutes behind schedule, and took my seat (typically the third row on the right, by the window). And this is what greets me…

Bad Hair Day
Whoa! Bad hair day or what?! This is possibly the worst hairdo I’ve seen in my life. (Can we even call that a hairdo, I think she invented it?) I wonder where she’s headed with a ‘do like that?…Poor co-workers!

Anyway, after disembarking the train and attending my styling class, I had to wait, longer, for the long-awaited Symposium. Focusing on Gladys Perint Palmer’s new book Food For Thought, For Fashion, the symposium was mandatory for all fashion students to attend. But it didn’t start until 3:30pm, so I waited, and waited, and waited…




My last symposium experience consisted of me sitting in the very back pew for an hour whispering “What did she say? Who is that?” So, needless to say, I DID NOT want to be in the back.

I knew it would be crowded and I should arrive early for prime seating options, so I literally ran over to 79NM at about 2:50pm to catch a shuttle to the Post Auditorium. Now anyone that attends the Academy can attest to the fact that our shuttle buses are not the nimblest of sorts, so one should expect to be at least ten minutes late to said destination. The next shuttle was scheduled to come at 3:10pm. I boarded at 3:14pm, and after a long detour down to Brannan and Townsend, and one very long smoke break (in which the bus driver casually got a Gatorade and took the world’s longest piss), I arrived at 620 Sutter, a block away from the Auditorium, at 3:51pm. Twenty minutes tardy, as usual.*

(*I swear, I’m twenty minutes late, everywhere I go! It’s a curse!)

As I’m quickly ushered through the door into the grand auditorium, Gladys has already begun her slideshow. Quietly, so as not to draw attention, I squeeze myself into the closest available seat…


 …in the dreaded back row!

(Oh well, at least she has nice hair.)


What is it with me today, all I see is the back of people’s heads?

As Gladys proceeded to colorfully narrate her illustrations with snarky quips and to-die-for memories of her personal meetings with, like, all of the world of fashion, the slides flipped furiously behind her, devotedly guided by Hersha Steinbock (Consumer Motivation teacher, among other courses).  Poor Hersha, her finger must be broken from all that slide-switching!


Ooh, cute hat!

When Gladys finished abruptly, she then introduced Simon Ungless, and began to walk off the stage. I hurriedly scrambled to get a view of her ensemble, and maybe even snap a pic, but she was too quick for me and my wonky camera. She was wearing a long, shiny red Ralph Rucci coat over a black turtleneck and black pants, the collar popped ever so chicly like an O.G.  A simple and classic, structured outfit with a touch of suave – typical GPP.

(Eventually, I snuck down to the front, in paparazzo mode, and got a shot.)


Simon talked a bit about his collaboration and long-seeded friendship with Alexander McQueen, before getting to the “dessert” of the Food for Thought lecture – the new designers collections being featured in New York Fashion Week this Friday the 13th. I am currently styling one of the featured collections in a photo shoot, so this was especially exciting to see!


Here are a few of the pieces. OMG, aren’t they beautiful!


I Shan and Myoung are amazing!!


All together, a hearty lecture. I left feeling full and satisfied.

Don’t forget to watch the shows!

Live stream starts at 5:00pm on Friday from the AAU website.