INDIAN CONNECTIONS: Gladys Perint Palmer’s maiden voyage to India in her new position of executive vice president of artistic development for the Academy of Art University in San Francisco was a six-city whirlwind tour of the fashion world, making presentations and speaking with students for whom she had created an entirely artistic and unique portfolio. The dozen or so separate brochures on each faculty member at the university have Palmer-special illustrations on the covers, along with exclusive content inside each. “I draw very fast but write slowly,” she said, dressed in Indian silk. Palmer told WWD that she plans to do for the other programs at the university what she did as executive director, School of Fashion, for almost two decades. Her own background as fashion editor at the San Francisco Examiner and fashion illustrator for dozens of brands including Christian Dior and Missoni brought in a huge set of connections for the program.
Visiting New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai, Palmer’s mandate in India included talks with students in each city. Despite a hectic travel schedule, she continued to draw during her trip. Palmer spoke about the influence of India on global fashion, which she said had “always been there, but interpreted.”“It has been there in the work of many designers with a touch of fantasy,” she said. “Jean Paul Gaultier was always inspired by India. So was John Galliano…and so many others. The textiles from India tell a story themselves.”But as Palmer spoke about the understanding and knowledge that has come from the East, she noted a major change that has happened in recent years. “Suddenly there’s a lot of money here, and in China. People used to come here for inspiration; now these are important markets as well,” she said.