Academy of Art University's 2012 Graduation Fashion Show and Awards Ceremony
[And Ten Reasons Why We're Excited About It!]
Written by Julio Cortez
Edited by Jane Yu
Photographs and Illustrations Courtesy of Academy of Art University
The nation’s largest private art and design university is honoring three of today’s top pioneers in fashion with Honorary Doctorate degrees, even if these designers already hold a Guinness world record or list the Royal Wedding on their resumes.
The Academy of Art University is bringing Britain’s Philip Treacy, Milliner, and Sarah Burton, Creative Director of Alexander McQueen, as well as entrepreneur and breast cancer advocate H.R.H. Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud, to San Francisco next week for a breathtaking whirlwind of events. They will be presented with the degrees just a few days before the 2012 Graduation Fashion Show and Awards Ceremony, which is open to the public and taking place on Saturday, May 5th.
The School of Fashion consists of over 2,600 students enrolled under the guidance of seasoned professionals sharing their industry experiences. Opportunities to interact with students during discussions, classroom visits, and portfolio reviews have encouraged previous guests - including Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of Opening Ceremony, Oscar de la Renta, Ian Hannula and Joe Haller of N.I.C.E. Collective, and Alexander McQueen - to recruit for internships and provide graduates with career opportunities.
The ASTONISHing Ten
1. Long before Sarah Burton was named Creative Director of Alexander McQueen in May 2010, she was interning with the label during her third year at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. Having worked alongside McQueen for fifteen years, it’s no surprise that Burton recently made the Time 100 List, in which actress Sarah Jessica Parker described Burton as “a young woman who shouldered an enormous burden and privilege with dignity, heart and strength.” For the last two years, Burton and the McQueen team have consistently brought dreams to life, captivating eyes all around the fashion world from the second those first runway photos hit Style.com, ensuing goosebumps.
2. Philip Treacy creates wearable fantasies that have become cultural icons in fashion and pop culture, many of which stem from creative collaborations with other fashion houses and artists. The designer has worked with Alexander McQueen, first during his days at Givenchy, as well as with Giorgio Armani on Lady Gaga’s glittering origami headpiece from the 2009 Grammy Awards, Valentino on a collection of lace pumps in 2010, and Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci on Madonna’s headpiece at this year’s Super Bowl. What’s next for Treacy? He’s set to design for some of the guests at Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee this year.
3. As CEO of the ALFA and AL HAMA companies that own and operate Harvey Nichols Department Store, Donna Karan, and DKNY stores in Saudi Arabia, how does H.R.H. Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud find time for her ardent Breast Cancer research advocacy? In 2010, Princess Reema and the Zahra Breast Cancer Association led 3,952 Saudi women to achieve the Guinness World Record for the largest human awareness ribbon.
4. All eyes are on the School of Fashion’s Class of 2012, featuring the future of the fashion and art worlds. We’re certainly in for quite a treat - just in case you haven’t seen the School of Fashion’s recent work with the Discarded to Divine fundraiser.
5. We’re beyond fascinated by Gladys Perint Palmer, Executive Director of the School of Fashion, and the fluorescent hues on her fashion illustration Tumblr! In 1998, The Fashion Book named Palmer one of 500 people of influence in fashion since 1860 - so important that Gavin Newsom dedicated May 24th to be Gladys Perint Palmer day in San Francisco.
6. Sarah Burton told the New York Times in May 2011 that she wouldn’t be where she is today if it weren’t for Simon Ungless, Director of the School of Fashion. Ungless collaborated with McQueen on the first 10 Alexander McQueen collections shown in London and New York. He tutored Burton while she was in art and design school, and recommended her for an internship with the house. After her year-long placement, Burton returned to the McQueen team following her graduation in 1997.
7. We caught up with Academy of Art University alumni and School of Fashion graduates Sabah Mansoor Husain and Bethany Meuleners last month. It’s ambition like theirs that gets us excited about what the 2012 graduates have in store for the runway.
8. The Graduation Fashion Show and Awards Ceremony is the perfect opportunity to show the Honorary Doctorate recipients what San Francisco’s style is all about. We’re looking forward to the front row of ensembles and spotting a few Treacy pieces bobbing above the audience.
9. We still can’t get over Drew William’s gel covered knitwear from last year’s runway, possibly inspiring a boost in unconventional materials in this year’s show.
10. Dr. Elisa Stephens, president of Academy of Art University, will present the Honorary Doctorate degrees to Princess Reema, Burton, and Treacy at an invitation-only event on Thursday, May 3rd, but don’t worry - lookout for live coverage from ASTONISH on Twitter and Thre.ad throughout the night!