Monday, June 27, 2011


Yes...we ran smack into Karl Lagerfeld...literately!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Today was another fabulous day in the epicenter of fashion. We started off the day with another fascinating lecture with Olivier Roux who explained to us about fashion houses and their marketing strategies.

After this, we went on a "field trip" where I felt like I was a kid in a candy store. We traveled to Le Bon Marche with the talented Xavier Brisoux who let us walk around and experience for ourselves the amazing fabrics and knits that designers we all love actually use. I personally was amazed by the textures and the quality of fabric in each and every piece. Feeling the buttery hand of a neon green Lanvin blouse was something that I never dreamed of doing. After feeling ,any different fabrics we made our way back to the Paris American Academy to learn the art of feathers.

I never thought about working with feathers as an art until I met Monsieur Jean- Louis Pinabel. The time and passion that goes into each inch of every piece is incredible. Also the knowledge that he has gained about each bird and their feathers, how the feathers work and what you can and cannot do with them is unbelievable. After giving us a crash course in feathers he invited us to let our inspiration flow and we all had a chance to create a little master piece. To my surprise, I enjoyed the simple task of gluing each feather to the head bands. Being in Paris allowed my inspiration to just flow from my finger tips to the feathers.

After this session we made the overwhelming trip to the Louve. I had not heard of this museum until our prepatory course, and it was beyond my expectations. The pieces that we saw in the museum were master pieces that I have studied in my art and fashion history classes and never imagined seeing up close. For me the Nike was the most exciting because I have read and studied so much about it. It definetly lived up to its expectations. Over all today was another amazing and exhausting day in this beautiful city which I will never forget.

Elizabeth Snyder ; 6/22/11



The irony of today's lecture of intricate knitwear was that it landed right on the Summer Solstice, the first day of summer in which the Parisians celebrate with a music festival in the streets.

All seasons aside, the knowledge given to us by artistic knitwear designer Xavier Brisoux, who also freelances for French fashion house Anne Valerie Hash, was immeasurable. Not only did I , (a communication student who lacks most insight on the design aspect of fashion,) learn in depth about the workings and steps of how to create knits, I also learned different techniques, a variety of stitches, as well as fabric care and what a "good knit" consists of (steer clear of cut and sew!).

Brisoux showed us his conceptual designs which all included incredible materials and subtle, yet bold, details. One collection was inspired by the mythical legend of Penelope while another was based off of the idea of your clothing becoming a second skin; the designs reflected these concepts wonderfully with wearability.

He also explained how important it is to be creative in the industry and the importance of process. For one of his own press releases, he sent out a small black box with a rubber bracelet with "XAVIER BRISOUX" printed on the sides in white with a USB cord closure-attachment. This way, instead of sending a hard-copy press release that would most likely be thrown away, he got the attention by being orginal and technologically savvy with a functional twist.

Though today's lecture was a lot to take in, it was all very informative and inspiring. I am already excited to sift through my sweaters and identify each stitch, as well as properly care for all of my pilling knits (there is actually a way to get RID of pilling!).

For the remainder of "mardi", I will be attending the street music festival. Thankfully, for the first time in days, it is beautiful out. I will be sure to keep my eyes peeled for sweaters worn by the effortlessly stylish Parisians. My own contribution to the lecture today was wearing my own black crocheted sweater, which Xavier explained was knit sideways. At least it wasn't cut and sew!

Marie Elise Bliss; 6/21/11



For those of you readers, who are unaware, yesterday began Men’s Fashion Week in Paris. As someone who has known for four years now that she wants to work on fashion shows as a profession after college, this was very exciting news. Not only would we be in Paris, but we actually have the opportunity to dress the models back stage during some of these shows! So, on our ninth day in the beautiful city of Paris, we dressed models at the Rick Owens Menswear show which was shown in the POPB, Salle Marcel Cerdan.

The pieces were amazing. All of Rick Owens designs are in black or white and manipulated in a way that one immediately recognizes his work. There were 43 looks which varied from black or white pants with suit jackets to maxi dresses.. all for men. Of course all the pieces were marked with the Rick Owens signature: two lines down the back, which appear to be seams. The looks were topped off with sunglasses that covered more than the necessary amount of the model’s face. Everything went so quickly and smoothly that I was amazed when it was over. Working this show once again reaffirms that I absolutely love this industry. I am so grateful for this amazing trip and wonderful opportunity.

--Jennifer Racine 6/23/11

Monday, June 20, 2011

Jean-Pierre Tritz, Le Galleries Lafayette and the Opera House

Today we met Jean-Pierre Tritz, a milliner who has created hats for famous designers such as Jean Paul Gautier. He taught us how to manipulate sisal around a head form to create a very unique headband. Each student began with the same design and then hand sewed their own creative additions to the piece. Many students used fringe created by the sisal as accents on the headbands, as well as several other techniques to create their own one-of-a-kind creations.

After the hat making, we went to Le Galleries Lafayette for a few hours of shopping before heading to the Paris Opera Garnier for a performance. Le Galleries Lafayette is a very large department store with six floors that open to a center area where a beautiful stained glass ceiling is exposed. Most of the departments on the lower levels are expensive, well-known brands like Chanel and Gucci. The middle levels have some less expensive stores, and the top floor has a food court and some great souvenir shops. Shoppers are also allowed to go up on the roof where there is an amazing view of the Eiffel Tour, the Opera House, and the Arc de Triomphe.

The opera we attended was COSI FAN TUTTE. The story is about two women whose loyalty to their lovers is tested through several events during the course of one day. We sat in boxes on the left side of the stage and had an excellent view of the orchestra. The music (by Mozart) was amazing, and the acting was very amusing. Just being in the Opera House was fabulous, but seeing a show there was even better.

- Kaitlyn Riley 6/20/11

Sunday, June 19, 2011


After being handed the opportunity to travel to Paris to experience a two week crash course in fashion, I knew I had to take up the offer. I am a big believer in having a strong personal identity and fashion plays a major role in that. As a male, working backstage and attending Men's Fashion Week will definitely help further my own personal identity. Today, the fifth day of our trip, we traveled to the Musée Pierre Cardin after a beautiful private tour of the city. I honestly had no idea what I was expecting to see. I have heard and learned about Pierre Cardin, and even own a luggage set designed by him, but I wasn't aware of how incredible his past work had been. As soon as I walked into the museum, I had to pick my jaw up off the ground. Everything was so incredibly beautiful that I didn't know where to begin. It was obvious that his womenswear and furniture were exquisite, but what really caught my attention was the menswear.

I could see every piece of his menswear in my wardrobe. His designs would fit perfectly well with who I am as a person and as an artist. Each outfit was designed to force any man to stand out of the crowd and that is exactly what I crave. As the garments were couture, it was understandable that not all men would wear them. However, I feel that if a male were to wear anything from that museum today, it wouldn't be seen as out of the ordinary. After taking in all of Cardin's amazing work, we were then taken to a famous Parisian flea market.

Comparing the menswear at the market with the work of art at the Musée Pierre Cardin was a struggle. I found it unfortunate that the apparel selection for men was as average as could be imagined. Perhaps the men who purchase this type of clothing believe that these garments define their individual identity. However, when people shop for one item in one place, they tend to mirror each other. Thus, the birth of the trend cycle. In the end, I discovered that no matter where a garment is purchased or who it is designed by, it is up to the consumer to sincerely believe that they are people of substance and to convince the world of it...or else they become another fashion statistic.

Rizwan Samma ‘11

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Stop and smell the flowers...

Who knew delicate, colorful flowers given to us by nature could be powerful enough to inspire, calm, and invigorate us. They can inspire us to use their colors and textures in artwork as Monet and many others have done. Monet used his gardens as inspiration for his paintings just as many other artists - especially in fashion. The Rococo period is a great example of this process. It is a style which uses feminine flowers as a pattern for clothing and interior design. Today fashionistas all over Paris are inspired the same way as shown by the floral patterns of their clothing. Visiting Giverny was such a great experience for all of us and made us realize that even the small things in the world can be magnificent. Even though the large monuments such as the Eiffel Tower are breath taking there is something extremely special about the simplicity of the gardens. Even though they were little flowers they gave off immense energy comparable to the Eiffel Tower and other man-made structures we have seen including Versailles.

At Versailles, we started at the Petit Trianon. It was hard to believe that this building was in any way petit. It was large and lavish inside with details such as Marie Antoinettes monogram on the walls and railings in the house. We walked through the gardens and ended up in a whole other world filled with animals, and country side houses. This was the Queens Hamlet. It was like a storybook. The atmosphere gave off a feeling that nothing could possibly go wrong and that there were only happy endings. It was her escape from the duties and the pressure that came with the French royal lifestyle. It was created to appear like her home in Austria giving her the sense of safety and comfort. It was hard for us to grasp the fact that this town was created just to make her more at ease.

We continued walking along the path and everything became much different. The pretty landscape previously seen in the countryside style hamlet was now becoming straight edged and sculptures started appearing in the distance. Everything became much more extravagant and beautiful but in a much more formal tone. We were getting close the grand palace of Versailles. We saw many fountains with flowing water. They were spraying water into the air creating a perfect frame for the palace High up on the hill. Everything hère was created for show and it forced people to see the power of the royalty. The more Grand everything was - the more respect they would get. Versailles was a sumptious playground for the people to see the French governments elegance and prestige. It was created to show that they were the leaders of luxury and style but underneath the glamorous lifestyle there were a lot of problems with the politics and the government. This led to many unhappy citizens and the fall of Louis the 16th . Walking the same steps as royalty really made it easy to see how quickly one could get caught up in the excessive lifestyle. This happens even today by peoples need to own the best cars and designer items. Society needs to get out of the bubble of todays media and realize what the importance of life really is.

~ Natalie Sherwood – 6/18/11