Fashion Design Students Visit NYC for Inspiration

The Huntington fashion students on their way home on the LIRR.

December 20, 2016

They’re some of the most creative and talented teenagers on Long Island. Huntington High School fashion design and illustration program students have an unquenchable thirst for growth that not many can come close to matching.

Huntington teacher Kim Valerio recently led a contingent of 20 fashion program devotees into Manhattan to inspire and educate the group. Fashion Design and Illustration II and III students traveled into the Big Apple for a tour of “Proust’s Muse, The Countess Greffulhe,” an exhibit at the Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology.

The FIT exhibit features “extraordinary fashions” from the legendary wardrobe of Élisabeth de Caraman-Chimay, the Countess Greffulhe. Regarded as one of the most beautiful women of her time, she is celebrated for her “aristocratic and artistic elegance” and was a “fashion icon comparable to Daphne Guinness today,” according to an exhibit overview.

Huntington art students visited
Fashion Institute of Technology

“The Countess Greffulhe believed in the artistic significance of fashion and although she patronized the greatest couturiers of her time, her style was very much her own,” said Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at FIT. “Today, when fashion is increasingly regarded as an art form, her attitude is especially relevant.”

“When Marcel Proust wrote his novel, In Search of Lost Time, the Countess Greffulhe inspired his immortal character, Oriane, the Duchess de Guermantes, of whom he wrote, ‘Each of her dresses seemed like… the projection of a particular aspect of her soul,’” according to an overview of the exhibit.

Huntington fashion students found the exhibit quite interesting. It included 28 separate garments and a dozen accessories, including shoes, hats, fans, gloves and stockings and even a pair of red velvet high-heeled shoes that summon thoughts one of the most famous scenes in Proust’s novel.

“We then toured the college campus and ate in the school's dining hall,” Ms. Valerio said. “Some of the students also had time to visit the other gallery for the opening day exhibit "Black Fashion Designers", an exhibition that explores the experiences of several generations of fashion designers of African descent from the 1950s to the present.”

The Huntington fashion program has gained many admirers over the years. Fashion Design and Illustration I students learn to illustrate the fashion figure and construct a garment from a pattern. Second year students explore draping on a fashion form and advanced illustration, creating a garment from their own design.

The third level “tilts” toward the business of fashion and producing a portfolio of illustrations and designs that expresses a personal style and high level of competence. Students create a fashion magazine, understand the workings of the merchandising and management side of the fashion and have hands-on experience producing the annual fashion show.

Portfolio Development is designed for students interested in studying art in college. “This is an exciting course that allows all art majors to develop a professional portfolio of their art work,” according to the Huntington High School course guide. “Quality rather than quantity is stressed, for this course can assist you in gaining acceptance into an art college. Visits from various colleges as well as professionals in diverse art careers will be arranged.”

For more information about the fashion program contact Mrs. Valerio at [email protected].

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