Marist Presents Francesca Liberatore

Francesca Liberatore and Marist College Graphic

About the Event
About the Event
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Marist Fashion
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Marist College Says ‘Ciao Fashion Week!’ as Students Produce Reprise Show for

Emerging Italian Designer Francesca Liberatore


Marist Italy is the focus as fashion, art, and education come together at New York Fashion Week show and reception


Liberatore receives Marist Silver Needle Innovation Award


New York City (Sept. 9, 2016) – Marist College students tonight had the unprecedented opportunity to work at the epicenter of the global fashion industry New York Fashion Week, where they helped produce a special reprise showing of Italian designer Francesca Liberatore’s Spring 2017 collection at The Dock at Moynihan Station.

In addition to giving students real-world experience on the fashion industry’s biggest stage, the show was also an opportunity for Marist to highlight its deep and varied connections to Italian education, fashion, and art.

"I have always dreamed of working in the fashion industry, and the Marist College Fashion Program has afforded me the opportunity of a lifetime," said MaryKate DiChiara, a junior fashion merchandising major from Croton, N.Y., who worked as a personal assistant for the show to Liberatore’s publicist, the famed fashion industry insider Kelly Cutrone.

"The chance to work alongside Kelly Cutrone, a woman whom I have admired and who also geared me toward pursuing my career in fashion, is an experience I couldn’t have anywhere else," DiChiara said. "I am so thankful and honored to take part in such an amazing event!"

More than 50 Marist fashion students were involved in every aspect of planning and staging the reprise show. Several spoke about their experience with the Huffington Post, which streamed the interview live on Facebook.

"This is the kind of hands-on experience that is the hallmark of a Marist education," said Fashion Program Director Radley Cramer. "The opportunity for our students to work closely with top designers, publicists, and producers to put on a New York Fashion Week show enriches their learning and prepares them for careers in the industry in a way that nothing else can."

Immediately before the models walked the runway, Marist President David Yellen and Cramer presented Liberatore with the Marist Silver Needle Innovation Award in recognition of her role as an educator and mentor to young designers.

Silver Needle Presentation

President David Yellen presents the Marist Silver Needle Innovation Award to designer Francesca Liberatore


With its reprise show featuring Liberatore, a past-winner of Italy’s prestigious Next Generation design competition, Marist took the opportunity to celebrate its many connections to worlds of Italian education, fashion, and the arts, including its distinction as the only American college with a full branch campus in Florence. At a reception following the show, guests enjoyed works on display by Bruno Liberatore, Francesca’s father and a renowned sculptor. Sculpture and other works of art by Marist faculty and students, including ones who have exhibited at special exhibitions during last year’s Venice Biennale.  

For many in the audience of more than 600, it was their first up-close look at the workings of the fashion industry’s biggest event. Attendees included Marist fashion students and Metro New York area high school students interested in fashion, in addition to Marist alumni working in fashion design and merchandising, as well as industry guests.

During the planning of the show, Marist students traveled to New York City to meet with Cutrone, who represents Liberatore, for detailed discussions of strategy and operational assignments to plan and publicize a show on fashion’s biggest stage.

Francesca Liberatore and Bruno Liberatore both attended a special reception following the show at nearby Gotham Hall, hosted by Marist, where students mingled with industry insiders, took in the art on exhibit, and enjoyed performances by aerialists in Venetian Carnival costume.

As a recipient of the Marist Silver Needle Innovation Award, Liberatore joins past Silver Needle Award winners, including top designers Betsey Johnson, Nanette Lepore, and Son Jung Wan. Liberatore exemplifies the spirit of the award as both a bold designer and a dedicated educator, teaching fashion design at universities in the Middle East, South America, and throughout Europe, including her native Italy.

Speaking to The New York Post’s Page Six about her experience working with the Marist students, Cutrone said, "At a time when people are questioning the future of fashion, it’s amazing to know the next generation is willing and able to step up, represent and take it forward."

About Marist

Located in New York State’s historic Hudson River Valley, with a branch campus in Florence, Italy, extension centers throughout New York, and educational offerings around the world through its online programs, Marist College is a comprehensive, independent institution grounded in the liberal arts. Marist educates 5,900 students in 47 undergraduate majors and 14 graduate programs, including fully online MBA, MPA, MS, and MA degrees and is recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, and The Princeton Review, which includes Marist among its 50 Colleges That Create Futures.

Fashion at Marist

One of the college’s most popular and successful programs, Fashion at Marist offers a diverse educational experience, where access to New York Fashion Week is just one example of the first-hand learning opportunities. Students can major in fashion design or fashion merchandising, learning from faculty with deep industry experience; take advantage of study abroad opportunities in Florence, Paris, London, and Hong Kong; intern with leading fashion companies in both the U.S. and abroad; participate in Marist in Manhattan for an in-depth semester-long fashion internship; participate in and produce the Annual Silver Needle Runway event, juried by a panel of industry experts; connection to a far-reaching Fashion Program Alumni Network; interact with guest speakers who are industry leaders; and participate in project challenges from leading companies.

Marist fashion students have a reputation for excellence. Marist students have won several YMA/Fashion Fund scholarships in a challenging national competition presented by the fashion industry. Marist students have designed and developed winning entries in competitions such as Adrianne Papell Red Carpet, Geoffrey Beene Fashion Fund, ModCloth e-commerce design, Diet Coke, and CFDA Stay Extraordinary Design Challenge, among others.

About Francesca Liberatore

Designer Francesca Liberatore graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2007 and immediately went to work for some of the world’s most celebrated design houses including Viktor & Rolf, Jean Paul Gaultier and Brioni. In 2009 Liberatore stepped out on her own and launched her namesake label. She also won Italy’s prestigious Next Generation competition, which earned her a runway show during Milan Fashion Week. Both Francesca and the collection were an immediate hit. She has shown in some of the world’s most celebrated cities including Paris, London, Tokyo, Canton, New York, Seoul, Berlin, Warsaw, Shanghai, Seoul and many more. Her work has been installed in the Museo della Permanente in Milan and the Edieuropa Gallery in Rome. In 2014 DHL and IMG selected Liberatore as the winner of “DHL Exported Award”, in partnership with IMG. Francesca was invited to show her collections for two seasons in New York.