NEW YORK — Joseph R. Gromek, former president and chief executive officer of Warnaco Group Inc., has been named chairman of The New School.
He succeeds Michael J. Johnston, who was elected chair in 2009.
Gromek became a trustee at The New School in 2011 but began his leadership role in 2005, when he was elected to the Board of Governors of Parsons The New School for Design. Working with Parsons’ dean and faculty, he connected graduates to fashion industry executives and increased support of The New School’s design-led curriculum.
“I’ve always been interested in kids and education. When I retired [from Warnaco Group] in February, part of my objective was to give back wherever I could,” said Gromek.
“After more than a quarter century in retail, I have insight into the demanding fields many New School students wish to enter. I see my role helping prepare graduates to withstand an unsteady economy with the talent and mastery needed to succeed,” he added.
Gromek takes the helm of The New School board during a transformative time for the 94-year-old university. David Van Zandt, who in 2011 became the school’s eighth president, has expressed a vision for the school that focuses on its strengths in design and social sciences. The university is starting new degree programs and interdisciplinary study options designed to equip graduates for globalization, urbanization and technological innovation.
“Joe’s election as chair comes as an opportune moment, because he values the innovative characteristics of The New School,” said Van Zandt. “Joe understands the nontraditional role we have played in the past and the clarity of vision required to advance in the future.”
Gromek served as president and ceo of Warnaco from 2003 to February of this year. He took over the company when it emerged from Chapter 11 and spearheaded its international expansion, transforming it from a domestic apparel wholesaler into a retail-driven firm. Before that, he was president and ceo of Brooks Bros. Inc., and earlier held senior management posts at Saks Fifth Avenue, Limited Brands, Inc. and Ann Taylor Stores Inc.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast