Fashion merchandising students gifted with top-of-the-line mannequins donated by Saks Fifth Avenue in Huntington and fifty vintage, high-fashion designer dresses
Brookville, NY – Twenty-five top-of-the-line Pucci mannequins, donated by Saks Fifth Avenue in Huntington, arrived at LIU Post’s College of Management on December 13 to be used by students enrolled in its Fashion Merchandising program. The mannequins arrived with an additional anonymous donation of 50 high-fashion vintage couture gowns from top designers, such as Jacques Fath, Ungaro and Yves St Laurent.
LIU Post’s growing fashion merchandising program is unique to the region, with a focus on the business end of the fashion industry. The mannequins and dresses will be part of a Capstone project this spring where the students will catalog and display the items, creating a full fashion exhibition with detailed signage as their culminating project.
Cherie Serota, Director of Fashion Merchandising at LIU Post, was thrilled with the significant gifts for the program. As part of the Intro to Fashion Merchandising coursework, students studied fashion by the decade from the Victorian era to the present. The couture gowns all come from the 1980s era.
“We have Halston, Saint Laurent, Lanvin, and all these different designers that we talk about,” Serota said. “We discuss the decade they’re from and what the lasting influences are and now we have this collection here.”
Students were on hand to help dress the mannequin. The pride and wonder they felt upon having a tangible class lesson come to life in their hands was palpable.
“I think it’s very cool to see pieces that we’ve seen in class come alive, and actually be able to hold them and dress the mannequins,” said Samantha Perez, a student in the Fashion Merchandising program. “Especially the fact that they are such important pieces from designers that we’ve already learned about.”
The pieces ranged from formal gowns from Yves Saint Laurent to cutting edge pieces from the father of haute couture Jacques Fath to iconic pieces, like a Burberry trench coat.
“It’s also revolutionary the ways everything changes from one era to the next,” said Fashion Merchandising student Judith Solorzano. “For example, the Burberry jacket. I could wear that right now on an everyday basis. I can see how it could sell just the same today. Just because of the brand Burberry.”
Solorzano considered a sequined dress. “What’s coming back are the puff shoulders in certain styles– not evening gowns, but on certain things like blazers.”
Students agreed that no other fashion programs that they could have applied to would have given them the same kind of experience.
“I could have had the option to travel to the city to go to FIT, but I chose to stay home and go to LIU,” Solorzano said. “And I say to my parents on almost an everyday basis that little did I know how awesome a program Professor Serota has for us. It’s not just for learning in the classroom but for outside experiences. And her experience in the business makes her so hands-on. You couldn’t get that from anybody else. She doesn’t teach you from books. She teaches you from experience.”
Being in close proximity to and having business relationships with Herschliefer’s and the Americana Manhasset mall has offered them opportunities to experience hands-on experiential learning. During the semester, they have gone into showrooms, into a trend forecaster, Mood fabrics, and more.
“We went to see Philip Lim,” said Perez. “We got to see his showroom. They us his past runway season and how he’s trying to be environmentally conscience about what he does. It was very cool, the entire atmosphere.”
“The whole experience –I would say was like a step-by-step for how production takes place for creating a design,” said Solorzano. “It’s like learning a chapter through an experience and talking to people in the industry. We met girls who are probably not so far from our age who have these jobs, who are working for Philip Lim and other brands and getting higher promotions. It’s inspiring to see girls just like us, getting out of college and getting jobs like that. It makes it feel achievable.”