Academy of Art University's School of Fashion Announces 2009 Honorary Doctorate Recipients

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School of Fashion Honors Industry Icons

The Academy of Art University School of Fashion will honor Martine and Prosper Assouline, founders of Assouline Publishing, and fashion illustrator David Downton, at the annual Graduation Fashion Show and Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 23, 2009. Each honoree will receive a Doctorate of Humane Letters for their contributions to the world of art and design from Academy President Dr. Elisa Stephens.

"Each year we select honorees who have made an outstanding contribution to the fashion industry that students can learn from," said Dr. Stephens. "We are delighted to honor two of the most influential leaders in the publishing world and one of the most highly respected fashion illustrators at the event."

Guests will meet students during a Q&A panel discussion and at the static exhibition before the fashion show where graduates present their portfolios. Students have landed internships with some of the world's top designers as a result of their portfolio review.

While in San Francisco, Downton will visit drawing studios to work with fashion illustration students. The Assoulines will select two interns from the fashion merchandising and fashion journalism programs. One will work in the Paris office and the other in the New York office.

Martine and Prosper Assouline are the co-founders of Assouline Publishing, the foremost publisher in the world on fashion and style. For the past ten years, Assouline Publishing ( has created lavish, illustrated books dedicated to fashion, photography, art and design. Renowned for their highly original graphic concepts, Assouline books are works of art that capture culture and bring it to life. The spirit and savoir-faire of these works have contributed to the creation of a unique, eclectic, chic and elegant brand that is immediately identifiable. Today, Assouline publications are found around the globe.

Assouline has freestanding boutiques in Paris (St Germain des Prés) and New York (Hotel Plaza). In-store boutiques can be found in Miami, Mexico, Dubai and Doha. Locations in Milan, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Toronto and San Francisco are coming soon.

David Downton is a world-renowned fashion illustrator known for his portraits of model Erin O'Connor and burlesque performer Dita Von Teese ( Downton is also the founder and publisher of Pourquoi Pas? A Journal of Fashion Illustration ( His recent work was included in Victoria and Albert Museum exhibitions and their 150th Anniversary album; on the cover of 100 Years of Fashion Illustration by Cally Blackman; at stores including Browns, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Marks & Spencer, Saks Fifth Avenue, Selfridges, Tiffany & Co. and Topshop; in magazines such as Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Harpers & Queen, L'Officiel, Tatler and Vogue; publicity material for the British Academy Film Awards; and costume drawings of Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I for Universal Pictures.    

Past School of Fashion honorees include 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 and Wilkes Bashford (2006), Dame Vivienne Westwood DBE, Loulou de la Falaise, Robin Givhan and Zac Posen (2007), Ralph Rucci and James Galanos (2008).

About Academy of Art University, San Francisco

With over 13,000 students, Academy of Art University is the nation's largest private art and design university. Established in 1929, the school offers accredited AA, BFA, M.Arch and MFA programs in 14 different majors, as well as continuing art education with classes in copywriting, fashion merchandising, interior design, new media, computer animation, sculpture, graphic design, cinematography, industrial design, digital photography and car design. Multimedia Communications is the school's newest major, offering BA and MA degrees. Students can also enroll in a flexible online degree program in art and design.

Academy of Art University is an accredited member of WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), NASAD, Council for Interior Design Accreditation (BFA-IAD) and NAAB (M-ARCH).


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