Thursday, May 14, 2009

Marymount's Portfolio in Motion and Peter Som

Friday, April 24th was Marymount University's annual Portfolio in Motion fashion show, featuring designs by students in the Fashion Design B.A. program (including the "senior lines" of three garments by each of the graduating design majors). The show was staffed and coordinated by students in the Fashion Merchandizing B.A. and the garments were modeled by Marymount students, so it was a great opportunity for students all around. As faculty, I was able to attend the Friday afternoon reception, luncheon, and fashion show and meet this year's featured designer, Peter Som. Every year, an eminent fashion designer comes to Portfolio in Motion, watches the show, says a few words, and then sits with the graduating designers and gives them individual feedback on their portfolios. Past designers have included Michael Kors, Cynthia Rowley, Carolina Hererra, and Pauline Trigere, to name a few (there is a complete list and more information on PIM here).

Peter Som is a young designer and graduate of Parsons who began his career at Bill Blass before starting his own label in 2001. While Som's bio describes his style as one of "unstudied elegance and refined sensuality," I prefer Style.com's description of his Fall 2009 collection: "upbeat... ladylike without being stiff, and full of optimistic color and tactile interest." Som aims to create ladylike but unfussy clothes and enjoys mixing prints and patterns; in his own words, he explores "the clash of delicate/feminine with bold and graphic."

I particularly like this dress, this coat and this outfit from the Fall 2009 collection, which was apparently shown by appointment since he is no longer working with his financial backer (according to Style.com). The design quality is there for sure, so hopefully it won't have too negative an impact on business.
Peter himself was a delight- professional, kind, humorous, and relaxed. He took his time with each student's portfolio, dispensing helpful comments, gentle criticisms, and encouraging praise and really helping them create the strongest possible portfolio for interviewing. I learned a great amount from listening to him and I am very grateful for how helpful and considerate he was with each student!

The entire Portfolio in Motion event was exquisite: the catwalk design, music, modeling, and (of course) the clothing were all great. It's not meant to be a carbon-copy of an industry show, and while I can't say I've ever been to one of those, I think I'd prefer this kind for sure- it was upbeat, with sharply choreographed modeling by women of a variety of shapes and sizes who were really owning the garments they wore. I think it really highlighted all of the students that worked on putting the show together.

The theme of this year's show was "Enchanted Garden" (which, coincidentally, is an idea that meshes well with Som's aesthetic).
Here are some highlights:


The last shot is of some faculty and students with Som as he reviews a student's portfolio. I'm fourth to the right of Som, in the green suit (sticking out my purple shoes next to my purse under the table).

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