Marist Students Produce New York Fashion Week Show, Get Unmatched Real-World Experience

Marist College

Fashion students put their experience with Marist's own Silver Needle Show to work at the fashion world's biggest event

Marist Italy in focus as fashion, art, and education come together at New York Fashion Week show and Gotham Hall reception

Marist College Fashion students took the reins at New York Fashion Week earlier this month when they had the unprecedented opportunity to produce a show on fashion's biggest stage. More than 50 Marist students handled everything from publicity and VIP seating to managing the models back stage and calling the show from the director's booth as Marist presented a reprise showing of Italian designer Francesca Liberatore's Spring 2017 collection at The Dock at Moynihan Station in Manhattan.

And the fashion press took note. As the New York Post's Page Six, a must-read in the world of fashion of media, stated in a headline ahead of the event, "College students are running one Fashion Week show."

For more background on the Marist-Francesca Liberatore Reprise Show at New York Fashion Week, click here

"It's really exciting to be here," Fashion Merchandising major Michelle Savino told The Huffington Post's Alex Berg during a Facebook Live interview from backstage at the show (student interviews begin at the -7:50 mark in the video below). Speaking of the experience she and her classmates brought to the effort from their work on Marist's own Silver Needle Fashion Show, Savino, a junior from Seaford, N.Y., said, "Building on that knowledge and applying it right here at fashion week is really amazing for us."

Fashion Show DIrecting

It's crazy how much work goes into producing a nine-minute show," senior Christina Zuraw of East Longmeadow, Mass. told Complex Hustle's Brittany Hampton during another backstage interview. Referring to the Silver Needle show, she continued, "It takes us a whole semester to plan it, and it's a 20-minute show. It's unbelievable how you put so much time into it, but the end-result is amazing, and you feel so accomplished afterward."

"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."

Student Interview

"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. Cutrone is Liberatore's publicist and worked closely with Marist students throughout the planning and production of the show.

"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!"

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.

David Yellen at Fashion Week

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.

Sculpture at fashion Show

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."

New York Fashion Week Venue

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