My designing friend Stacy Lomman teaches at the famous Fashion Institute of Technology, her own alma mater. Every year, during the final semester for graduating students, the school brings in designers to mentor the students as they work on their final projects in the categories of intimate apparel, special occasion, knitwear, children’s wear, and sportswear. Students doing an eight-semester degree have a chance to be chosen for the school’s massive “Future of Fashion” show, while the students getting a four-semester degree have their pieces shown at a chic exhibit.
Stacy taught a fourth-semester class this year, which was working with the design theme of “Cabinet of Curiosities.” To judge the creations, she recruited FIT graduate and all-around nice guy Byron Lars as her class’s designer. I was thrilled by this because Byron was one of the young New York designers I admired in the early 1990s. I’m so thankful that I didn’t follow conventional closet-purging wisdom and divest myself of Byron’s ruffled baseball vest.
I blogged about that vest in February 2010, and then decided I wanted to know more about Byron’s current work than I could find on his website. I reached out to his people and, within a month, he kindly did an interview by email even though he was busy working in China.
“I still have a ruffled “baseball” vest of yours that I got at a sample sale back in the day. I’m haunted by the fact that I never got the long-sleeved jacket version. If you happen to find one in a size small in the back of your closet, will you give it to me?”
Alas, he doesn’t even have one himself, though he did promise that if he ever made anything similar, he’d get it to me.
No luck with that so far (I’m teasing, Byron) but I still sent my vest to visit him by having Stacy wear it to class. He noted that it was in good condition. Whew!
Byron’s critic’s choice award for Stacy’s class went to this ravishing dress by Emily Omesi. I want it. I’m dead serious. Make sure you click through all the photos and read the description. Or don’t, because then you’ll want it too.
Studio photos coming soon!!! I don’t even know how to express how incredibly grateful I am. These past two years I’ve met some of the most amazing, talented, inspiring, supportive, and kind friends and teachers who i hope to stay in touch with for the rest of my life. I’ve learned and grown so much as a person and designer it’s scary. I think the greatest thing I’ve learned is that if you want something you have to work your butt off for it and it will definitely pay off, and everything will fall into place. If I didn’t have fashion in my life I wouldn’t be me. My class critic, @byronlarsbm shared with our class that fashion chooses you, and that is so true! It’s crazy how much having a passion for something can move a person; make you work hours non stop for days, skip meals, drive you insane, heal you, make you feel smart, make you feel like you have a purpose!! We all have that special thing that makes you YOU, and that is beautiful. Gown details~ Leather corset gown with a neckline covering single apex. 5.5 yards of boning. Curved leather seams and topstitching in matching color. 20 yards of silk organza skirt and ruffle top. 4 layers of crinoline. Lace up back. Fully lined with silk charmeuse skirt, duchess satin top. And ofc a lil fancy lace to keep the crinoline from scratching anything 😇 PS!! lmk if anyone knows someone who would wear/loan this bc idk how to store her in my tiny appt
I’d even have a place to wear this dress, if only my engraved invitation to Monday’s Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art hadn’t been lost in the mail AGAIN.
Sometimes I amaze myself with my ability to come through with an excellent outfit for this important fashion event to which I am never invited. Even when I think I’m not going to manage it — like last year — I pull through! This year, I again doubted myself because the exhibit and gala theme is “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” and I am most definitely not Catholic. Her holiness Madonna couldn’t persuade 1980s me to buy a Madonna-style rosary to wear along with my Maripolitan rubber bangles and heart-locket earrings, so I felt there was little hope.
But Emily’s dress got me thinking of the red worn by cardinals as well as the red of stained-glass cathedral windows. The gown’s rich fabrics, intricate design and regal air also make it Vatican-worthy to me.
After my dress panic subsided, I started thinking straight again and I realized that although I have no plastic crosses from 1985, I’ve had the perfect Met Gala jewelry all along. Doh!
I’m going to make all three of these my Jewels of the Month for May. The necklace is my Papessa prayer locket, which was inspired by the legend of the female Pope Joan.
My Jonah and the Whale Maneater ring sure shouldn’t have slipped my mind, even for a second!
Finally, a solid gold tiara would have a halo effect.
Now, if I were really getting dressed on Monday, I’d make my gold Prada shoes from 2010 the finishing touch. Instead, I’ll be eating my feelings and scrolling through photos of actual Met Gala attendees. For those of you who are going to the event and don’t have a thing to wear, let me help you out! I can’t guarantee a loan of Emily’s dress — that’s up to her, but I know someone who can put in a good word for you — but if you’re ready to splurge on some thematically appropriate jewelry, I can hand-deliver it to you as late as Monday, if necessary. Trust me: This is all the excuse you need to get the last of the Papessa lockets, the one-of-a-kind Maneater ring, and/or the one-of-a-kind tiara.
Thanks to Byron Lars, by the way, for picking the dress that inspired my Jewels of the Month. And thanks to Stacy for creating the opportunity for Byron to pick the dress. It clearly takes a village to put together an imaginary Met Gala lewk!