“This isn’t med school. We’re not saving lives, but have you ever tried to make the shirt you’re wearing? It’s really hard!” This is what Carly Cushnie told her family when they asked why she worked around the clock during her undergraduate years at Parsons.
Cushnie relayed this story yesterday, when she and her design partner (and fellow Parsons alum) Michelle Ochs hosted the packed runway show where 39 seniors presented their thesis collections.
Parsons shows are exciting for many reasons, chief among them the chance that you’ll see the very first collection from the next Marc Jacobs (Parsons ’84) or Proenza Schouler. (In a bit of fun fashion lore, Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough received special permission from Tim Gunn — who was the head of Parsons’s fashion department at the time — to do their thesis as a pair in 2002. Julie Gilhart, Barneys‘s then-fashion director, bought the entire collection for the store.)
Cushnie and Ochs are the latest star pupils to emerge from the school; since graduating in 2007, their label Cushnie et Ochs has made some serious waves in the fashion world. “This is where our story began,” Ochs told the crowd. Fitting, as just a few minutes before Parsons fashion dean Simon Collins half-joked: “You never leave Parsons.”
The presentation started at a very prompt 10 minutes past its call time, and was split into two halves. Children’s clothing was shown alongside women’s and menswear, and the pint-sized models drew the most applause from the enthusiastic audience. For the finale of the first half, a jubilant remix of Fun.‘s “We Are Young” cleverly played while the child models walked hand-in-hand with the (only slightly) older models.
Each student showed a handful of looks; standouts included Giuliana Raggiani‘s colorful children’s knits, Christy Jeehyun Lee‘s print-heavy menswear, and Jin Kay‘s all-black women’s collection. These three took home Designer of the Year awards in their respective categories. Reed Krakoff, Mickey Boardman, Steven Kolb, and Vivienne Tam were among the industry professionals who evaluated the students’ work.
Other highlights were Logan Samuelson‘s sleek and simple pieces that recalled those of Alexander Wang (a Parsons dropout), Tanni Xu‘s eccentric and mismatched patterns, and Bach Mai‘s voluminous pieces paired with dramatic thigh-high gladiator heels.
Was there a Marc among them? Our guess is this isn’t the last we’ll be hearing from these almost-graduates.
Check out 10 of our favorite looks below:
this is some kind of spaceship or something.