IAC’s 21st New York Fashion Conference
November 14 – 16, 2019

The New School, University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

Why blue? Why not? Or better: How not? After all, “L’amour Est Bleu” so Vicky told us; so too the moon, and it is inarguable that the hottest stars burn blue. Thus, into the wild blue yonder in IAC’s 2019 metaphorically mixed deep dive into this primary color—its uses, historical significance, and startling beauty—cutting a broad swath across materials and categories of objects, all unified by hue. Blue sits astride the entirety of adornment, from the purely functional Breton fisherman’s shirt to the prescribed color of the Virgin Mary’s robes to Mainbocher’s duck-egg wedding dress for Wallis Simpson. When it comes to beauty, blue is unconfined and unconstrained. That blue of the Virgin’s robes? Precious ultramarine from powdered lapis lazuli. Lapis, diamonds, sapphires, tanzanite, opals: blue knows no boundaries when it comes to precious substances and gems; and, many of the most legendary stones—the Hope Diamond, for instance—are blue. We considered not only these precious substances, but the social and economic impact of their extraction and transformation into objects of beauty. Blue is a story (dare ask Amanda Priestley about cerulean). The primary color of the American Revolution, it uniquely resonates, and because it does, it is the preferred color of branding. From Planet Blue to Blue Note to jetBlue. Blue sky, blue waters, blue planet. Blue is thus the color of travel, rebirth, and creativity, and in the last case, is at the core of artisanal craft and endeavor. And if there is a colored thread linking the entirety of the sustainable fashion supply chain, it too must be blue. Uniquely fitting then that blue plastic water bottles are transformed into textile by Converse, not least given the continent-sized plastic mass floating in the Pacific. When Vicky told us that love is blue, she sang of the heavens, at play in her lover’s eyes. No blue note for Vicky, apparently, but we thought we had a right (and an obligation) to sing the blues, and so we did, we explored the role of this color in jazz, the most singularly American art form. Blue is in almost everything. It is virtually everywhere. And so it was here, the focus of IAC’s 21st Fashion, Jewels + Design Conference. In partnership with the School of Fashion at Parsons School of Design. The Lena and Louis Minkoff Foundation was gratefully acknowledged for its generosity. IAC expressed sincere thanks to Piaget, JCK, Salon Art + Design, Trusted Gems Inc., and Panjshir Valley Emeralds too for their generous sponsorship (as of October 7, 2019).

Program agenda

Thursday, November 14, 2019

6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Registration and reception
7:00 – 7:10 p.m. Introduction.
Lisa Koenigsberg
(Founder &
President, Initiatives in Art and Culture)
7:10 – 7:55 p.m. On This Day: Blue.
Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell
(Fashion historian, journalist & author, Worn on This Day: The Clothes That Made History and  Fashion Victims: Dress at The Court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette)
8:00 – 8:45 p.m “It’s Chic to Repeat”.
Cameron Silver
(Fashion Director, Halston, founder, LA vintage clothing boutique Decades & author, Decades: A Century of Fashion)

Friday, November 15, 2019

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Continental breakfast
9:00 – 9:40 a.m. Growing Blue: An Artist Reflects on Material, Color, and Process.
Rowland Ricketts (Professor & Associate Dean, Indiana University’s Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design)
9:45 – 10:25 a.m The Sartorial Significance of Blue.
Stan Herman in Conversation With Bridget Foley (Stan Herman designed uniforms for Amtrak, Federal Express, jetBlue, TWA, and United Airlines [among others], was a long-time member of CFDA [1991 – 2006] & with Fern Mallis, in 1993 consolidated the events known as New York Fashion Week; Bridget Foley is Executive Editor, Women’s Wear Daily)
11:10 – 11:30 a.m. Break
11:30 a.m – 12:10 p.m Fashionopolis and the Blue Planet: Reclaiming Traditional Craft and Launching Cutting-edge Sustainable Technologies to Produce Better Fashion.
Dana Thomas (Award-winning journalist based in Paris & author, Fashionopolis: The Price of FastFashion and The Future of Clothes)
12:14 – 2:00 p.m. Lunch (on your own) and book signings
2:00 – 2:40 p.m. Celestino Couture: Fluidity, Artisanry
+ Sustainability.
Sergio Guadarrama and Kade Johnson in Conversation (Guadarrama and Johnson are the designers behind Celestino Couture & Guadarrama is a contestant on season 18 of Bravo’s “Project Runway.”)
2:45 – 3:25 p.m. Blue Notes.
Arthur Elgort and Hank O’Neal in Conversation. (Elgort is a fashion photographer whose work—in the permanent collections of the International Center of Photography [New York], the V & A, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston—is informed by his lifelong love of jazz; photographer, author & jazz music impresario O’Neal founded the record companies Chiaroscuro Records and Hammond Music Enterprises, and with his business partner, Shelley M. Shier, has produced over 100 music festivals; he is a lifetime member of The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and serves on the board of the Contemporary Music Program of The New School.)
3:25 – 3:40 p.m. Break
3:40 – 4:20 p.m. Blue: The Color of Human Patrimony.
Extracting and Transforming Precious
Substances into Objects of Desire.
Michael Peters and Elle Hill in Conversation. (Peters is CEO, Trusted Gems & founder, Panjshir Valley Emeralds; Hill is CEO, Hill & Co. Fine Jewelry Launch and Growth Experts)
4:20 – 5:15 p.m. 50 Fabulous Years in Fashion.
Zandra Rhodes, DBE and Anna Sui in Conversation with Joan Agajanian Quinn (Rhodes’s experimental and theatrical fashion shows of the 70s contributed to making London fashion week a key destination, ultimately bringing London to the international fashion scene. Rhodes is the founder of the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey, London where her work is currently on display in the retrospective solo exhibition, “Zandra Rhodes: 50 Years of Fabulous.” The exhibition has been accompanied by publication of
Zandra Rhodes: 50 Fabulous Years in Fashion, the first book commemorating the entirety of her 50+ year career.)