Parsons School of Design, 2008 Fashions

Parsons School of Design, 2008 Fashions

Photo: Parsons School of Design

Neighborhood: Union Square
Type of Place: Designers Women's Clothing

On a balmy Wednesday evening, I made my way into the lobby of a Parsons
building on lower 5th Avenue, unsure of what to expect. I'd gotten an
invite to view the work of Parsons' AAS-degree students, but I had no
idea of what quality it might be. But shedding light on the
deserving-but-underknown is one of my favorite journalistic activities, so I hoped
for the best.

And wow, was I rewarded. This work blew me away--not too surprising as,
I realized later, one of my favorite current designers, Narciso
Rodriguez, and one of America's favorites, Donna Karan, are Parsons grads.
The clothing: fantastic. The crowd: more done-up than I'd bargained for
(and who knew camera people would be wandering about, filming the
spectators as well as the clothes? I should have dressed for this!). The
appetizers served: pretty yummy, though I hope none of the cameras caught
me eating.

Most every design (formalwear, displayed on mannequins--though one
model was walking through the crowd in an gorgeous ball gown that I assume
was part of the display) was worth noting. Some I managed to jot down:
Elisa Karp's fitted off-white linen column gown, with an understated
ruffle down the front in the same fabric, curved to complement the body;
Hyunjoo Lee's fanciful and lovely halter-topped minidress, composed of
green-and-yellow fabric leaves, flowers, and even vines; Julie Snyder's
purple-haltered minidress, with a skirt in a mosaic pattern and a
buttoned ruffle in the back ("I started with the bubble," she told me,
smiling broadly beside her cheery creation); Valentina Lokhova's black
strapless tafetta-and-lace cocktail dress, with gathers in the skirt to add
volume; Iunjoo Lee's silk-and-velvet cocktail dress in shades of blue
with asymetrical ruffles ("If the ocean were a cocktail dress!" I wrote
in my notes); and Susanna Ngao's elegant black sheer-silk column gown
with beige underlay and fabric-rose details.

After gazing at the designs with real admiration, and at the
air-kissing crowd with a combination of intimidation and amusement, I wandered
back into the night--hoping I'd see these designers' names in boutiques
and department stores before too long. Catch them now and you'll be able
to say you knew them when.
  - Pamela Grossman; May 12, 2008

Parsons School of Design, 2008 Fashions
66 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10011