The New School’s Parsons School of Design has launched the “Norell x Parsons” course as part of the spring 2017 couture curriculum. Students are being challenged to design a garment based upon Norell’s classic designs.
Conceived in partnership with Parsons, Parlux Ltd. and Neiman Marcus, the course addresses the difficulties facing a new generation of fashion industry talent, inspired by American designer, Norman Norell, who died in 1972. There are 15 students in the class, which meets every Wednesday.
The course challenges students to interpret the Norell brand heritage through a contemporary couture approach.
A selection committee including Jason Wu, a Parsons alumnus; Don Loftus, president of Parlux Ltd.; Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director of Neiman Marcus; photographer Michael Avedon, and Parsons faculty will evaluate the creative concepts of each student designer.
At the end of the course, Norell New York’s leadership team will select one winning design that will be showcased in the Neiman Marcus holiday catalogue and made available to sell as a special order. The winner, who will receive a scholarship prize, will be announced in April.
Known for his elegant gowns, suits and tailored silhouettes, Norell was one of the first American fashion designers to launch a namesake fragrance. Following the 2015 launch of the remastered scent, Norell New York, Norell Elixir launched last fall exclusively at Neiman Marcus.
“This course aims to arm students with the knowledge needed to succeed in today’s ever-changing fashion and retail environments,” Loftus said. “Norell’s legacy highlights the evident synergies between designer fashion and fragrance, and the value of a brand embracing both style and scent to effectively position itself among today’s luxury lifestyle powerhouses.”
Neiman’s Downing added, “Creating the future of fashion can only be achieved with a passionate understanding of the past.” He added that he was excited for the next generation of talents to uncover “the brilliance of Normal Norell, as they forge a new path in fashion history.”
Burak Cakmak, dean of Parsons School of Fashion, said, “Creative directors at today’s fashion houses often look to a company’s archives for history, inspiration and creativity to understand a brand’s DNA before establishing their own, modern imprint for the brand. This course will offer our students important hands-on industry experience and help prepare them to enter a new era of creative direction in the fashion industry.”