"Being a designer and a business owner is not as glamorous as you might think," confessed New York-based designer Pamela Dennis to an eager audience of designer wannabes.
Dennis, who was the keynote speaker at a Fashion Group seminar for fashion students and their teachers, related tales of 24-hour days and an endless parade of trunk shows. She also told how she had to lean on her father for a $25,000 loan and commandeer his office -- conveniently located on Seventh Avenue -- to fill her first order, for Henri Bendel.
While most of the 600 audience members are learning the orthodox approach to the fashion industry, Dennis did things her own way -- backwards. An aspiring lawyer with no formal fashion training, her first designs were executed by a tailor who cut a pattern around her body as she lay on the floor. Only now is she learning the basic skill of pattern-making. "You never know when you're going to need it," she said.
Dennis's advice to fledgling designers: Pay attention to what your customer wants. "I'm the queen of specials," Dennis said. "I'm very keyed in to the customer, and I believe that is 100 percent of my success."
Following her address, the audience was treated to a show of Dennis's collection for spring '94. Then it was the students' turn, with designs from the Fashion Group Foundation student design competition. The contrast between Dennis's pared-down, wearable silhouettes and the students' otherworldly creations offered yet another lesson in the realities of fashion.
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In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
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