Pratt Institute Fashion Show Features Rising Talent and a Tribute to Fern Mallis

The future of fashion looks bright.

While most people in the fashion industry look to major events like New York Fashion Week for what’s next on the horizon, some of the most innovative new fashion concepts can be found at student shows from New York’s major fashion schools. Perhaps that’s why insiders like Vogue editor-at-large Hamish Bowles, former CFDA president Stan Herman, and New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn turned out for the 2012 Pratt Institute Fashion Show, held recently at Center548 in Manhattan.

In addition to 17 student presentations, the show featured a tribute to Fern Mallis, the creator of New York Fashion Week, former executive director of the CFDA, and former senior vice president of IMG Fashion, who received the Pratt Institute Fashion Industry Lifetime Achievement Award with a heartfelt introduction from designer Calvin Klein.

“Fern, as you know, has made an important contribution to the fashion industry, that few people could be capable of,” Klein said. “You really have to be built for this kind of thing. A lesser person might have run from buildings screaming.”

Following the tribute and runway show, Pratt’s Department of Fashion Design Chair, Jennifer Minniti, presented the inaugural Liz Claiborne Award, a $25,000 cash prize intended to help a particularly talented student develop a collection after graduation. The prize went to Kelsy Carleen Parkhouse, whose five-piece collection was inspired by American quilting and the Grand Canyon.

“I used vintage feed sack textiles mixed with new fabrics from the garment district,” Parkhouse said. “Nostalgia, color, and print are some other important elements. The biggest challenge was creating a collection with these inspirations that also felt fresh and new.”

Judging from the audience response to her line, Parkhouse succeeded. Here, a closer look at her work, as well as a selection of favorite looks from other graduates.

Kelsy Carleen Parkhouse, winner of the Liz Claiborne award

Kelsy Carleen Parkhouse

Theresa Deckner

Ruby Gertz

Juan Pozo

Emily Kauffelt

Meredith Lyon

Elizabeth Ammerman

Kate A. Gross

Aharon Kolatch

Dana Hurwitz

For more, check out the 2012 Pratt Institute Fashion Show in its entirety:

Images: Jessica Marati

Jessica Marati

Jessica Marati currently resides in New York City and covers travel and sustainability for EcoSalon. Catch her weekly column, Behind the Label.