The Academy of Art University students wowed the invitation only audience at the packed graduation fashion show last Thursday night, May 8th! The venue was a massive warehouse in a south San Francisco industrial/chic neighborhood. Attendees were treated to wine and nibbles before the show, in order to peruse the portfolios of select BFA and MFA graduating fashion students including Fashion Design, Textile Design, Knitwear Design, Merchandising, Jewelry/Metal arts and Illustration majors. It was an impressive group of graduates!
Even more impressive were guests of honor Rosita, Angela and Margherita Missoni…THREE generations of amazing Missoni women. The Missoni label was started by Rosita and her husband Ottavio in the 1950’s and continues to be one of the most iconic knitwear brands in the world. Rosita and Ottavio (Tai) were awarded Honorary Doctorates while they were guests of AAU in 1999. I was working at AAU at that time as Merchandising Coordinator and instructor. I had the great pleasure of spending some time with the Missonis and they were beyond gracious and charming!
The picture below is a wonderful reminder of that time. Pictured (L to R) Maureen French, Bridget Kelly, Louise (top), GPP (bottom), Tai Missoni (top), Rosita Missoni (bottom), Rhona MacKenzie, Sharon and AAU President, Elisa Stephens.
Rosita was thrilled to see the 1999 picture, as was AAU President, Elisa Stephens and AAU Fashion School Executive Director, Gladys Perint Palmer. Sadly, Tai Missoni passed away in May of last year at the family’s home in Sumirago, Italy.
It was lovely to see both Angela and Margherita Missoni receive their Honorary Doctorates during Thursday’s show. They were both so grateful to be awarded these honors along with their parents and grandparents 15 years prior. AAU President, Elisa Stephens said “The Missonis have created an iconic, globally recognized and celebrated style. We are thrilled to have the Missonis as our esteemed guests, and it is an honor to have three generations of lady doctors join us for our Graduation Fashion Show.”
As in years past, the show was as close as SF gets to a fashion week show! AAU graduate students show at New York Fashion Week in the Spring and Fall. Every year the show gets better and having missed only one or two over the last 16 years, I feel very qualified to say that! Simon Ungless, Director of the School of Fashion and Director/Producer of the fashion show, is brilliant in his role and NEVER disappoints! He has his hand in every detail of the show and it always pays off with a stunning parade of sartorial splendor. He really is the heart and soul of the show and makes sure every student whose collection is included, really works hard for that honor. Many tears have been shed by students who did not complete their collections on time or were lacking in quality and construction… talk about a project runway moment! BTW, several AAU alumni have been on the popular show including fan favorite, Melissa Fleiss.
Overall, the collections were imaginative, original and impeccably tailored. The variety of men’s, women’s and children’s collections kept the audience totally interested in whatever came down the runway. Here are a few highlights…
And here is the full video from the AAU website. Watch it, you WON’T be disappointed!