Pratt Institute went all-out Thursday night sending 20 student collections down-the-runway at a seated show at Spring Studios.
Guest of honor Gabriela Hearst, who received the Pratt Visionary Award beforehand, took in every passing look often sharing a word with her seatmate Glenda Bailey, editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar. They were among the 600 guests at the school’s 119th annual show. Entitled “Diversiform,” the hourlong event featured the work of Rachel Lee, Quian Wu, Jiayue Ge, KJ Choi, Anderson Osmun, Samantha Debardeleben, Ryu Tomita Talia Leslie, Victoria Tom, Liv Ryan, Hannah Li, Shelby Grochowski, Ying Yang, Hajin Kim, Haley Switlekowski, Perri Vaaler, Jessica Stahl, Amy Sullivan, Jeremy Wood and Emily Ridings. Each designer presented eight to 15 styles.
Before attendees headed out, there were a few other awards. Lee learned that she has been selected to participate in Graduate Fashion Week in London later this year. A rolled-neck white cape with an artistic design, and long-waisted wide-leg pants with a multi-fabric midriff skimming top were among her designs.
A second award, a $10,000 scholarship, was given in honor and remembrance of “beloved” Pratt professor Christopher Hunte who died in 2016. Jennifer Minniti, chairperson of Pratt’s Fashion department, explained, “Christopher Hunte used to come into my office every once in a while and say, ‘Jennifer, such-and-such was on point. You know she or her had their tools and was cutting with precision. So we now have a Christopher Hunte prize.”
Emily Ridings, whose closing look included a hooplike basket woven skirt, won that award. Made of reed and leather, the skirt was made in her hometown of Richmond, Kentucky under the guidance of her grandmother Judy. An elongated sleeveless denim top with sheer pants, and a prairie skirt with a long-sleeved silky top with a knotted neckline were other looks in her collection.
In addition to teaching fashion design, Hunte ran his own design studio in New York for more than 30 years. During that time, he dressed such pivotal figures as musician Nancy Wilson, the Metropolitan Opera’s Florence Quivar and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Hazel Dukes.
Two members of this year’s jury VPL designer and stylist Victoria Bartlett and Barneys New York’s senior vice president and general merchandise manager Tom Kalenderian were in the crowd. “I’m so excited to see them,” Bartlett said afterward, having dashed downtown from the Frieze Art Fair on Randall’s Island.