Academy of Art University's Graduation Fashion Show Wows San Francisco

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Fashion designers James Galanos and Ralph Rucci were presented with a Doctor of Humane Letters for their contribution to the world of Art and Design from Dr. Elisa Stephens, President of Academy of Art University.

This is such an honor. I am overwhelmed because there is nothing like this University in the world. This does not exist anywhere.

On Friday, April 25, 2008, the fashion school at Academy of Art University in San Francisco presented 17 collections created by 29 MFA and BFA fashion design, menswear design, textile, knitwear and jewelry design students of the graduating class of 2008.

Fashion designers James Galanos and Ralph Rucci were presented with a Doctor of Humane Letters for their contribution to the world of Art and Design from Dr. Elisa Stephens, President of Academy of Art University.

"Both James Galanos and Ralph Rucci are known for their luxurious taste and impeccable technique," said Dr. Stephens. "The students are thrilled to meet and show their work to two of America's greatest fashion designers. We are truly honored to have them as our guests."

After receiving his honorary degree, Mr. Rucci told the audience of 1,700 guests, "This is such an honor. I am overwhelmed because there is nothing like this University in the world. This does not exist anywhere." Mr. Rucci continued, "This means more than any fashion award could mean to me."

Before the fashion show, Mr. Galanos and Mr. Rucci had the chance to interact with students during a Q&A panel discussion. The panel also included Michael Fink, VP Women's Fashion Director at Saks Fifth Avenue, and was moderated by Cameron Silver, owner of vintage couture boutique Decades and contributor to Harper's Bazaar and Departures magazine. Guests then toured an exhibition of graduate work and portfolios.

Traditionally, Guests of Honor select an intern after meeting the graduates during the exhibition and viewing the collections on the runway. On occasion, they choose more than one: Oscar de la Renta, Rose Marie Bravo and Alexander McQueen each chose three. Zac Posen's selection last year now works fulltime in his design studio.

After the show, Mr. Rucci selected both Alyssa Prentice and Ronnie Escalante Jr. to intern with him this summer in his New York studios.

At a dinner in their honor, Mr. Galanos and Mr. Rucci each received a Certificate of Honor from the Office of Mayor Gavin Newsom. Denise Hale presented Ralph Rucci, and Tatiana Sorokko presented James Galanos. Gladys Perint Palmer, Executive Director of Fashion, presented them with original illustrations from her archives. The dinner was held at the Academy's industrial design school where Richard Stephens, Chairman Emeritus, houses his car museum. Guests such as Willie Brown and Sonya Molodetskaya, Wilkes Bashford, fashion designer Koos van den Akker, and Starlight Room owner Harry Denton chatted among the antique vehicles.

Past Guests of Honor have included: Rosita and Tai Missoni (1999), Oscar de la Renta (2000), Rose Marie Bravo (2001), Zandra Rhodes CBE and Koos van den Akker (2002), Josie Natori and Fern Mallis (2003), Joan Kaner and Jeremy Scott (2004), Azzedine Alaïa and Carla Sozzani (2005), Alexander McQueen, Christophe Girard, Robert Mettler, Wilkes Bashford, and The Honorable Bertrand Delanoë, Mayor of Paris (2006), Dame Vivienne Westwood DBE, Loulou de la Falaise, Robin Givhan and Zac Posen (2007).

About the School of Fashion
Established in 1929, Academy of Art University is the largest accredited private art and design school in the U.S. with over 12,000 students. The fashion school houses nine areas of specialization: Fashion Design for Womenswear, Menswear, and Childrenswear; Textile Design; Knitwear Design; Accessory Design; Costume Design; Fashion Illustration; Fashion Journalism; Fashion Merchandising and Visual Merchandising.

Graduates have worked at companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Chloe, Diane Von Fürstenberg, Donna Karan, GAP Inc., Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Nike, Nordstrom, Reebok and St. John.

Academy of Art University is a member of WASC, NASAD, Council for Interior Design Accreditation (Formerly FIDER) (BFA-IAD), and NAAB (M-ARCH).

Academy of Art University School of Fashion,
180 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
http://www.academyart.edu / 1.800.544.ARTS (2787)

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