SCHOOL OF THOUGHT: In the past few decades, Parsons The New School for Design produced many major names of American fashion. “The School of Fashion: 30 Parsons Designers,” a new tome authored by the school’s dean of fashion Simon Collins, takes a look at 30 who went to the school. These range from Claire McCardell and Anna Sui to Behnaz Sarafpour, Donna Karan, Narciso Rodriguez, Alexander Wang and Proenza Schouler.
“When I first joined Parsons in 2008, I was knocked out by the wealth of our alumni, but I was also intrigued by how we were not terrifically connected to them at the time,” Collins said, recalling his impetus for the book. “As I met with them, either socially or professionally, it became clear that there were stories I really wanted to learn about.” Among those were the individual reasons for enrolling. “Donna chose the school because Claire McCardell was a big inspiration for her, and Narciso chose it because Donna was a big inspiration for him,” he noted. “Behnaz chose it because Narciso was a big inspiration for her. It was this continuous cycle.”
The book, published by Assouline, comes replete with short features about their time at Parsons and fun, Proustian-style Q&As. The launch will be accompanied by an exhibition at Milk Gallery, which kicks off Thursday and runs through April 19. It will feature portraits, original sketches, illustrations and interviews from the designers in the book.
The book will also be available at the exhibition, and proceeds of book sales there will go toward the creation of a Parsons scholarship fund.