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Renowned designer Mary McFadden to give lecture, evening of fashion March 9

March 03, 2010

Erica Blust
(315) 443-5891

Iconic American fashion designer Mary McFadden will visit Syracuse University on Tuesday, March 9, for a series of events that celebrate her distinguished career and benefit the next generation of fashion designers studying in the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ (VPA) School of Art and Design.

At 2 p.m., McFadden will deliver a lecture on her career and design philosophy at The Warehouse Auditorium, first floor, The Warehouse, 350 W. Fayette St. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is presented as part of VPA’s Sue Ann Genet Lecture Series.

From 6:30-9:30 p.m., the fashion design program will host “An Evening with Mary McFadden,” which includes a fashion show of original McFadden Couture, a book signing and cocktails at Jet Black, 129 Walton St. The fashion show will consist of 40 complete looks representing McFadden’s design work from the late 1970s to the early 2000s. The designs, which will be modeled by SU students, are part of the Martha M. Caldwell Costume Collection owned by Jeffrey Mayer, associate professor and coordinator of the fashion design program.

Tickets for the event, which is open to the public, are $25 for general admission or $50 for the book signing, which includes a first-edition copy of “Mary McFadden: High Priestess of High Fashion” (Bunker Hill Publishing, 2004) by McFadden and Ruta Saliklis. A limited number of copies of the book will be available. Tickets may be reserved and/or purchased in advance by contacting Suzanne Bartlett at 315-443-4644. Tickets will also be available at the door, but reservations are preferred.

“An Evening with Mary McFadden” will in part benefit the fashion design Class of 2010 by supporting awards presented at the annual fashion show April 29-30 in Goldstein Auditorium in the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center.

In addition to her public events, McFadden will spend Wednesday, March 10, in private critiques with senior fashion design students who are developing their six-piece collections for the annual fashion show. McFadden is the third visiting designer to do so; Bloomingdale’s fashion director Stephanie Solomon ’72 and Couture designer/reality television star Thai Nguyen also worked with the students this semester.

An internationally renowned textile, clothing and jewelry designer, McFadden brings a unique sense of worldliness to her timeless and elegant designs. Inspired by the art and culture of ancient Egyptian, Greek, Celtic, Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, Indian and African civilizations, she has developed a pantheon of artistic creations for the adornment of the feminine form. Frequently referred to as a “design archeologist,” McFadden creates distinctive garments that reflect an avid study of ancient cultures. She launched her first collection in New York in 1973, won her first Coty Award in 1976, and entered the Coty Hall of Fame in 1979. Many of her designs, made along the lines of clothing seen on her travels, appeared in the pages of Vogue.

McFadden is the recipient of numerous other awards and honors, including a Lifetime Achievement Award during Fashion Week of the Americas, the Neiman Marcus Award of Excellence and the President’s Fellow Award from Rhode Island School of Design. She was inducted into the Best-Dressed Hall of Fame and served as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. She was also awarded the first Living Landmark Award by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

McFadden’s collections have been shown on runways in cities around the world. Prior to closing her couture business in 2002, her designs were featured at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and many other high-end stores.

Focused on design and creative development, VPA’s fashion design program offers an intellectually stimulating environment with a global perspective. This, coupled with practical and theoretical skills, technology and the study of the cultural context in which fashion exists, provides a broad-based education in fashion. In addition to Solomon, notable alumni from SU and the fashion design program include Henry Grethel, Betsey Johnson, Donald Brooks, Tom and Linda Platt, Lisa Kline and Danna Weiss.

The Sue Ann Genet Lecture Series was founded by Leon M. Genet ’53, a longtime SU supporter and benefactor, who died in 2005. The series was named in memory of his first wife, an artist and sculptor. From 1982-2004 the lecture series brought nationally prominent speakers from fashion, design and retailing to campus. VPA resumed the lecture series in 2006 with the assistance of Genet’s daughters.

For more information about McFadden’s visit, contact the fashion design program at 315-443-4644.

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