Fashion experts share tips with students
Chanel designs are close to her heart, couture specialist Claire Shaeffer told Stephens students Friday.
“But I’m not close to Chanel’s heart,” she quipped.
Well-known for her couture sewing books, Shaeffer touted that she’s been denied access to Chanel’s Paris workrooms and that the company has sent her letters asking that she no longer write about Chanel designs.
That’s because she’s known for demystifying couture. Shaeffer has been collecting and researching designer garments, mostly Chanel, for decades. She told a Stephens audience how to spot Chanel craftsmanship, breaking down the anatomy of Chanel garments (think chain linings, quilt stitching and double button holes).
Shaeffer was one of five industry experts to present during the School of Fashion & Design’s lecture series “Influence & Inspiration: Impact on the Changing Fashion Industry … And Your Future.” The experts were on campus to help judge fashion student garment designs.
Costume historian Louise Coffey-Webb introduced students to the world of Zandra Rhodes during her presentation, “Zandra Rhodes: A Lifelong Love Affair with Textiles.” Known for signature fuchsia hair, the trend-setting English designer has delved into all aspects of the industry, beginning as a textile designer, then designing one-of-a-kind pieces for celebrities including Sarah Jessica-Parker and Paris Hilton, and more recently designing costumes and sets for opera productions, Coffey-Webb said. Many of Rhodes’ pieces are on display at museums across the world, and this month 500 selected pieces are expected to be included in an online archive.
Other presenters included Lisa Pasternak ’83, a Stephens alumna and fashion design engineer for Monterey Mills; Wendy Manasse ’81 who is a designer and founder of Quenchwear based in Los Angeles; and Basia Szkutnicka, director of design at London College of Fashion.
“We are so thrilled to have experts visit campus and speak to our students about the various aspects of fashion and design,” Associate Professor Kirsty Buchanan said. “The students really gain a lot of insight from these professionals who are working all over the world.”