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On Tuesday night, we finally figured out how to get to Pier 60, which was playing host to Parsons The New School's annual benefit. At our table (conveniently near the entrance to the bar), we chatted all things fashion with the Factory PR team and R29 faves like Bibhu Mohapatra, Alejandro Ingelmo, and Lorenzo Martone, including just how wearable the students' designs would be in the evening's runway show. Oh, and the speeches. This year, the honorees need little introduction: Board chair Sheila C. Johnson shared top billing with Parsons alumna-turned-household-name Donna Karan, who were both recognized for their extraordinary philanthropic initiatives and undying support of the school. As per usual, Ms. Karan's toast was memorable, funny, and inspiring. "The world is growing smaller—take the opportunity to go out and see it," Karan urged the crowd.
Judging by the garments on parade during the (30 minute!) show, even if the pupils hadn't jetted 'round the world, they certainly had far-flung inspiration. Women's Wear Designer of the Year, Jin Kay, 25, sent her incredible evening and sportswear down a immense, X-shaped runway lined with designer front-rowers like Narciso Rodriguez, Reed Krakoff, and Humberto Leon and Carol Lim. Also 25-years-old is Menswear Designer of the Year, Christy Jeehyun Lee, whose knockout collection featured an unexpected meeting of strict tailoring with extravagant patterns. And, coincidentally, the youngest of the three winners was Children's Wear Designer of the Year, Giuliana Raggiani, whose presentation of spunky kid's separates beg a similarly resounding praise (and a collective aww at the so cute cat-walkers). Each of the finalists endured a year of intensive critique, drafting, and construction, and while not all of their creations translate to everyday practicality (e.g. monster-like furry sleeves, see-through dresses), we could all certainly appreciate the obvious craftmanship present in each garment. Coupled with the brilliant sunset on the Hudson, the night was inspiring — and not
just because the waiters kept replenishing our Pinot Grigio.
Click through for the amazing highlights from the evening!
Photo: Courtesy of Parsons