COOL FOR SCHOOL: A luncheon was held Thursday in Paris’ Hôtel Meurice in honor of the city’s new Parsons The New School for Design, which will open its doors in fall 2013. “The building where Parsons Paris is going to occupy was home for many years to the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de Couture Parisienne, established in 1927,” explained Kay Unger, chief executive officer of Kay Unger Design, who was a 1968 graduate of Parsons New York and sits on the school’s board, during her keynote speech. “Through its doors passed Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino and Issey Miyake, who I was lucky enough to work with right after he left that school and came to New York [to work at Geoffrey Beene], and many other great haute couture designers.”
Others in attendance at the lunch included Sheila C. Johnson, David E. Van Zandt and Tim Marshall.
Each year, some 50 to 60 undergraduates are expected to be in the Paris-based Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design program and another 10 to 15 graduates should be working toward their Master’s in Fashion Studies degree, estimated Joel Towers, executive dean of Parsons The New School for Design. He added there are other courses on the syllabus involving fashion, as well, such as design studies and the history of decorative arts and design.
Parsons first set up shop in Paris in 1921. “We came to Paris initially for reasons that were very specific to the time and place and the culture of Paris, and what art and design education was about at that time,” said Towers. “And it’s those same reasons why we are back today, but the context is changed completely. Design functions differently.”