Contest-Winning Future Fashion Designs By Area College Students Slated For New Exhibit Opening August 16 at American Textile History Museum

American Textile History Museum:
Contact: Lois Frankenberger, publicist
978.470.0040
lfrankenberger@comcast.net

Boston Fashion Group::
Contact: John DiStefano
617-879-7673
jfd2231@yahoo.com

LOWELL, Mass. – The spotlight will be on future fashion, when a display of eight contest- winning designs by area college students will be featured alongside a new special exhibition exploring the world of high fashion – “Runway Madness! The fashion photography of Lucian Perkins” – opening August 16, 2003 at the American Textile History.

The winners are from four area colleges and include Massachusetts College Of Art students Rebecca S. Butler of New Haven, Jeury Rosario of Lawrence, and Sylvie Salomon of Dorchester; Mount Ida Collegestudents Eriko Ichihashi of Japan and Lin Shu of Leominster; The School of Fashion Design studentsCarol Silva of Brockton and Braintree, and Tean Tean Wong of Brighton; and Lasell College studentSandra Fontes of Dorchester.

The student fashion competition was produced by John DiStefano, Director of Fashion Group International, Boston. Judges included Boston Fashion Group’s designer Denise Hajjar and Bloomingdale’s professional shopper Claire Diller; and the American Textile History Museum’s director of interpretation Diane Fagan Affleck and curator Karen Herbaugh.

Commenting on the student fashions DiStefano said “The work was superb; the quality of workmanship, fabric selection, color, and style made each piece appear as a work of fashion art. It’s nice to know that in this world of rapidly changing technology, some things haven’t changed. Students are still able to create wonderful one-of-a-kind garments inspired by the French couture, using hand details and fine fabrics to express their ideas. After all, these young designers are the hope of the future fashion.”

The new creations will be in good company, displayed alongside photographs taken by Washington Post Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Lucian Perkins. The photo exhibit focuses on the total fashion experience of New York’s famous Fashion Week. Perkins captures the nuances of New York’s twice-yearly fashion extravaganza from both sides of the runway with over 60 up-close and personal images dating from 1987 to 1998. He takes the viewer backstage for the “silent anguish of a designer putting himself and his art on the line” and the panic of a split seam just before a model takes to the runway; he catches the front row drama of the spectacle, swirl of sequins, theatrically lit runways and wispy models like Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Shalom Harlow, Amber Valetta and Christy Turlington; he exposes us to the world of celebrities whose high-visibility presence is essential, the fashion editors, buyers, and the critical eye of the press.

According to Perkins, his photographs are the result of a decade-long project that grew out of his interest in seeing not just the clothes, but the people behind them. “It was a culture unto itself. It was a society, and that’s what got my interest in it, seeing how that society worked,” he said.

To help put the clothes in Perkins’ photographs into historical perspective, the installation also includes a selection of fashionable pieces from the Museum’s costume collection, videos of fashion runways from around the world, and a Fall fashion forecast produced by Cotton Incorporated. The Museum’s director of interpretation Diane Fagan Affleck said “These additions, along with the juried show of student fashions, offer visitors a look at fashion present, past and future.”

Special events connected with Runway Madness will include “Runway Madness! An Evening of Fabulous Fashion,” on Saturday, September 20 at 6:30 p.m. -a cocktail reception to meet and greet photojournalist Lucian Perkins and Boston area fashionistas for a special viewing of the “Runway Madness!” exhibition . Tickets are $40 per person; $35 for Museum and Fashion Group International, Boston members. For information 978.441.0400, ext. 247 or www.athm.org. “The Gala” – a black tie invitational – will be held on Friday, November 14th starting at 6 p.m. This annual Museum benefit will feature a cocktail reception, dinner and dancing to The Winiker Orchestra, a Community Service Award ceremony, and a special viewing of the “Runway Madness!” exhibition. For ticket information and participation opportunities call 978.441.0400, ext. 234 or www.athm.org.

Runway Madness continues at the Museum through January 4, 2004. There will be special activities for families in the Museum’s Textile Learning Center (TLC), and public programs. A Runway Madnesscompanion book published by Chronicle Book will be available. The exhibition was organized by International Arts & Artists in conjunction with the American Textile History Museum, and made possible in part by Merida Meridian, Inc., Commencement Photos, Inc. and the Museum’s Annual Fund donors, in collaboration with Fashion Group International, Boston.

Fashion Group international is a worldwide organization comprised of professional men and women who are employed in the areas of fashion design, retailing, interior design, beauty, marketing and other fashion related industries. Over the past 75 years, Fashion Group has served as a networking venue for industry professionals, and a liaison for students and others who express interest, or are pursuing careers in the industry.

The American Textile History Museum tells America’s story through the art, history and science of our textiles. Features include the ongoing “Textiles in America” exhibition and children’s Textile Learning Center (TLC); Special Exhibition Gallery and TLC displays. Admission is free for Museum members and children under 6; $8 for adults; $6 for students, seniors, and groups. For those interested in reserving a group tour, please contact Cindy Bernstein at 978-441-0400, ext. 244.

The Museum is located 35 miles north of Boston at 491 Dutton Street in Lowell. Take I-495 North or South to the Lowell Connector (exit 35C) to Thorndike Street (exit 5B), through four traffic lights, and turn left into the Museum’s free parking lot. By commuter rail (Lowell Line) from Boston’s North Station: call the MBTA at 1-800-392-6100 for schedules and fares. The building is wheelchair accessible. Telephone 978-441-0400. Web:www.athm.org.

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