Academy of Art University Fashion Week 2011

Academy of Art University Fashion Week 2011

BY: Sandra Ong

Yearly, the Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion is having a fashion week where in they invite Industry professionals to have symposiums and talk to the students about the world of fashion. The week is ended with the annual spring graduation fashion show where the crème de la crème of students showcase their works.

this photo was taken from

Last Wednesday May 4th, the fashion students of AAU got the chance to attend a symposium with special guests, Cathy Horyn and Nathalie Rykiel.  The School of fashion executive director, Gladys Perint Palmer (GPP) who hosted this event provided insightful questions for both the guests to start of the symposium.

Nathalie Rykiel

Cathy Horyn

Cathy Horyn who is a well known journalist and writes for the NY Times was asked by GPP about the controversial article that she wrote in the year 2002 entitled, “Is copying really a part of the creative process?”  The article magnified the issue about the vest that Nicolas Ghesquiere, the Balenciaga designer allegedly copied from a not- so known San Francisco based designer, Kaisik Wong.

On the left is Nicolas Ghesquiere's work for Balenciaga and the one on the right is Mr Kaisik Wong's creation

More controversial questions were asked to Cathy Horyn like the incident where she was banned from different events (D&G/ Armani). She said she didn’t mind the fact that some designers banned her from going to their events because it’s the designer’s prerogative to either invite you or not. She also added that designers are sensitive so to certain point, she understands them.

Nathalie Rykiel, the daughter and CEO of the Sonia Rykiel brand was also present at the symposium. She explained to students how important brand identity is. When a student asked her if it is must to diversify in order to survive, she said that you just need to stick to your identity.  From her experiences as the CEO and creative director of Sonia Rykiel, she believes that having a precise identity will help you survive in the world of fashion. She described her brand as a world built on a Parisian woman.   She also described what a  Sonia Rykiel woman is—Free, sexy, working woman who travels and is involved with the world. Even though the Sonia Rykiel brand has branched out to different genres (jewelry, perfumes, lingerie and home furnishings) , Nathalie firmly believes that if you just focused on one thing you will be successful.

Having these two special guests at AAU was a privilege. Getting to know both of them and getting a sense of what they are all about and what they stand for is very interesting to witness. I am looking forward for more interesting and insightful events for the next school’s fashion week.


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