OTIS COLLEGE STUDENTS ARE BEING CHALLENGED BY DESIGNERS TO CHURN OUT DARING — AND DIFFICULT — DESIGNS.
Byline: Rose Apodaca Jones
Otis College of Art and Design’s senior class has a challenging task to accomplish, per the edict of Jeremy Scott, Bob Mackie and other designers. As part of the school’s mentoring program, Scott’s challenge is to create an ensemble that could be worn to two different parties during the same evening. The catch? The parties are being held 40 years apart (the party-goer is supposed to travel between the bashes via a time machine). Mackie’s proposition for the students is to create glamour evening looks, inspired by Mexican folk art. Other designers involved include Ryan Guinn for DKNY, Michelle Mason, Andrew Dibben and Rozae Nichols.
“We had our first fitting and it was supposed to be in muslin, but some of them came with the dresses already cut in the real fabric — it was really amazing,” said Mackie, the veteran among this semester’s mentors, having donated hundreds of hours over the years to the program. “It’s really the best school in the country. It’s very commercial — they teach sportswear, bathing suits. They train them so well.”
Scott, who marked his first day as an Angeleno on March 8 with his introductory visit to Otis, was equally impressed.
“I was really surprised the school was so big,” he said. “It had such a professional atmosphere. It didn’t feel like a school. The students were serious about being there.”
Scott and Mackie visit their assigned senior class three to six times throughout the school year, providing critiques and guidance, and plenty of tips and tales from their real-life, professional adventures. Past mentors for the 20-year-old program include Richard Tyler, Todd Oldham, Isabel Toledo and Isaac Mizrahi.
But Otis students don’t wait until their senior year for master guidance. This year’s junior class design mentors include Nike’s Jason Phillips and Scott Williams, Bebe’s Julie Ann Silverman, Gap’s Steve McSween and Andrew Schiff, La Blanca’s Rod Beattie, Op’s Anna Kenney, Poleci’s Janice Levin-Krok and Cach’s Lorle Campos.
The results of this semester’s senior and junior class partnerships will hit the runway May 4 during the school’s annual gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. Also honored that night will be the recipients of the Otis Creative Vision Awards for 2002: Linda Platzner, president and group publisher of Primedia’s Teen group; Matt Bousquette, president of Mattel Inc.’s Boys Games/Entertainment division, and Ocean Pacific Apparel Co. ceo Richard Baker (see related story on page 40).