“Parsons gave me the knowledge and the license to go out in the world and pursue my dreams,” said designer Prabal Gurung at the annual Parsons Fashion Benefit, held on May 9 at Pier Sixty. This statement could very well have been the theme for the evening as many of the school’s most talented alumni turned out to pay tribute to Parsons and honor one of their own, alumnus Reed Krakoff, president and executive creative director of Coach and Reed Krakoff.
Roughly 650 attendees, including celebrated alumni Narciso Rodriguez, Jenna Lyons, Behnaz Serafpour and others, helped to raise more than $1.5 million in scholarships for Parsons students. At the event, Executive Dean Joel Towers announced a Coach gift of $450,000 to establish the Reed Krakoff for Coach Scholarship, which will benefit Parsons fashion design students interested in accessory design.
“Parsons gave me an amazing gift,” said Krakoff, after accepting his award from Glenda Bailey, editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar. “I fell into the program and immersed myself in everything. I feel incredibly lucky to be part of the Parsons family.”
As in previous years, one highlight of the benefit was a runway show of collections of top graduating students. A runway cutting straight through the room gave guests a chance to see up close the creative talents of graduating designers. The fashion show was followed immediately by the presentation of Designer of the Year, the coveted award that launched the careers of some of the most famous designers among Parsons alumni, including Marc Jacobs and Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler. Presented by Simon Collins, dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons, and Sheila C. Johnson, chair of the Parsons Board of Governors, the winning designers were David Ferron, 22, of Unionville, Pennsylvania, for Women's Wear; T. Young Hwang, 30, of Seoul, South Korea, for Menswear; and Serena Chang, 21, of Tucson, Arizona, for Children's Wear.
If you missed the event, you can view the entire benefit on the Parsons Fashion Benefit website, or see firsthand the amazing work of students from the School of Fashion during the Parsons Festival in the exhibition Five-Sixty 7th, on view from May 12 to 19. In addition, select pieces from the collections shown on the runway will be featured in the windows of the flagship Saks Fifth Avenue store, on 50th Street and Fifth Avenue, from May 17 to 31.