Student winner Anthony Galante with his design with Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director of Neiman Marcus.

On Thursday, Parsons School of Design, in partnership with Norell fragrances and Neiman Marcus, revealed the winner of the Norman Norell couture design award. The student winner, Anthony Galante, was presented a $5,000 grant from Norell and his work will be presented and made for special order in the 2017 Neiman Marcus Christmas Book. The event followed the “Norell x Parsons” external projects spring 2017 course, which was created through a partnership with Parlux Ltd. and Neiman Marcus.

Through this course, students were given the opportunity to learn the history, heritage and legacy of designer and brand Norman Norell and re-create their own relevant interpretation for the award.

When speaking to the award and partnership, Ken Downing stated, “There was always a seduction to Norman Norell’s clothes. He never gave away all of her secrets immediately, it was with an open back, it was with a high slit. There was always a seductive quality even when he was creating daywear. You see that in some of the designs the students have put forth. I’m happy to see when fashion understands that we have to celebrate where we’ve been so that we can go forward in a very modern way.”

The 14 students’ looks were evaluated on their understanding and interpretation of both Norell’s designs and fragrance by panel of judges including Downing, Michael Avedon, Jeffrey Banks, Burak Cakmak, Margaret Hayes, Donald Loftus, Ray Siegel, Jason Wu and Parsons faculty.

Winner Galante successfully embodied Norell’s spirit through a hand-sequined silk georgette gown. Inspired by Norell’s techniques, Galante explained, “He applied sequins in a really unique way. Because I had never actually had the opportunity to do any couture work, it was my chance to experiment with sequins and hand-sewing and so I developed a design using sequins in a different way, with a flow cascading down the dress.”

After the award was presented, Galante exuded excitement, explaining, “winning was such a surprise and a thrill. I’m so honored and deeply grateful to the program, Parsons, Neiman Marcus and Norell. It’s been an amazing experience, and I’m so happy to be a part of it. I’m glad that my initial design came through, and hopefully, it honors the legacy of Norell, because he really made such a huge mark on American fashion.”

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