Frock-and-Roll High School

by Harry Sheff


Just as spring is tilting into summer, there’s always a buzz in the air from New York’s fashion schools. We felt it very acutely here at MR when several of our interns from the past year were graduating, and we’ve been in a mad dash to find them good jobs! (Anybody looking for some great writers and stylists? Call me!)

There were inspiring fashion shows at Parsons and FIT and, one of my new favorite annual rites, the senior show at the High School of Fashion Industries. Writing as somebody who knew that he wanted to work in this business from a very young age, it is so inspiring to know that there is a “Fame” type high school for our biz, too. It’s also a little bit disconcerting to see so much raw talent coming from such young people—who wants to compete against that?

At the 81st anniversary celebration of the school’s founding, Jack Herschlag, the former executive director of NAMSB, received a Lifetime Achievement Award, introduced by Joseph Abboud (above). And Tracy Reese was awarded the Designer of the Year Award, by none other than Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley (who will also be the keynote speaker at the school’s graduation later this month!).

But let the show begin! The students sent down inventive clothes for children, women and men.

One of my personal favorite segments was a “Fantasy” section, where various pop music superstars — like Cher, Madonna, Prince and Run DMC — served up inspiration for costume design. Bob Mackie, beware! These kids are hot on your heels. My favorite was a whirling Ike-era Tina Turner who apparently was shimmying so fast they couldn’t even get a good picture of her! But this Central Park concert Diana Ross was equally fabulous, lip-synching to “I’m coming out.”

What a great anthem for a fine group of graduates!