Apr. 25: AAU Fashion & Awards Show

James Galanos – Lifetime Achievement Designer Award
Ralph Rucci – International Designer Award

The School of Fashion at Academy of Art University in San Francisco will honor fashion designers James Galanos and Ralph Rucci at the Graduation Fashion Show and Awards Ceremony on Friday, April 25, 2008. The guests of honor will each receive a Doctor of Humane Letters for their contribution to the world of Art and Design from University President Dr. Elisa Stephens.

“Both James Galanos and Ralph Rucci are known for their luxurious taste and impeccable technique,” said 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.”

Guests have the chance to interact with students during a Q&A panel discussion as well as a static exhibition where graduates display work and show their portfolios. Traditionally, guests of honor select an intern. On occasion, they chose more than one: Oscar de la Renta, Rose Marie Bravo and Alexander McQueen each chose three. The intern Zac Posen selected last year has now been hired to work fulltime.

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).

James ‘Jimmy’ Galanos


Often referred to as “America’s greatest designer,” Philadelphia native James Galanos worked in both Paris and New York with such design luminaries as Hattie Carnegie and Jean Louis before opening Galanos Originals in Los Angeles in 1951. Known for exquisite construction and luxurious dresses, his clients included Diana Ross, Rosalind Russell, former First Lady Nancy Reagan and San Francisco socialite Denise Hale. In 1984, he received the Council of Fashion Designers of America Lifetime Achievement Award and in 1998, officially retired from fashion. Galanos is also a photographer whose work has been shown in numerous museums across the country, as well as the Serge Sorokko Gallery in San Francisco.

Ralph Rucci

In 1981, Philadelphia native Ralph Rucci launched his namesake line and in 1994, established his ready-to-wear line, Chado Ralph Rucci. ‘Chado’ is the name of an ancient Japanese tea ceremony symbolizing respect, tranquility, grace and integrity. In 2002, Rucci was invited to show his haute couture line in Paris by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Parisienne, being the first American to have this honor since Mainbocher more than 50 years ago. While some Americans work for houses with couture collections, he is the only one to do so under his own name. Rucci’s clothing has been exhibited in museums around the world; he is also a painter, whose work has been shown in gallery exhibitions across the country, including the Serge Sorokko Gallery in San Francisco.

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 throughout San Francisco as well as nationally and internationally in the online program. Over 1,600 fashion majors study under the guidance of experienced fashion professionals. The School of Fashion 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.

Gladys Perint Palmer, Executive Director of Fashion, is a working journalist and illustrator. In 1998, The Fashion Book (Phaidon Press) named GPP one of 500 people of influence in fashion since 1860. GPP’s book of drawings and irreverent captions, Fashion People, was published by Assouline in 2003. GPP’s work is included in the recently published 100 Years of Illustration by Cally Blackman and the exhibition accompanying the book launch in London. She is honored to contribute her work to Victoria & Albert Museum’s 150th Anniversary Album and the exhibition at the V&A in London as only 150 artists have been asked to contribute. She is working on her third book; You are not on The List.

Simon Ungless, Director of Graduate Fashion, graduated from Central St. Martins School of Art and Design in 1992 and was awarded the prestigious MA Degree in Fashion with Distinction. Ungless collaborated with Alexander McQueen on the first 10 collections shown in London and New York. In 2002, he was named Creative Director of Member Holiday, a Korean-based contemporary brand, launching both men’s and women’s collections with 37 freestanding stores. His work experience covers Fashion Design, Textile Design, Forecasting, Brand Development, and Marketing for such clients as Givenchy, Paul Smith, and Versace.

Sharon Murphy, Director of Fashion Merchandising, has spent over 25 years in the apparel industry including management positions in sourcing, manufacturing, product development and fashion retailing. She has worked for Esprit de Corp both on a domestic and international level as well as for Jessica McClintock, Inc. with a focus on the development of fabrics and apparel for contemporary, junior and children’s markets. Ms. Murphy joined the University as an instructor in 2001. She continues to consult with Venice Collaborative to source textiles and related materials for architects and builders of residential projects in Venice, CA.

The University works with international brands and recruitment agencies on internships and job placement. Graduates have gone onto companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Alexander McQueen, Azzedine Alaïa, Banana Republic, Blanc de Chine, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Carla Sozzani’s 10 Corso Como, Chloe, Diane Von Fürstenberg, Donna Karan, GAP Inc., Jeremy Scott, Kate Spade, KITON, L.A.M.B., Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Martin Margiela, Martine Sitbon, Missoni, Nice Collective, Nike, Nordstrom, Northface, Old Navy, Oscar de la Renta, Pamela Dennis, Pottery Barn, Reebok, Ralph Rucci, St. John, Three As Four, Tocca, Viktor & Rolf, Williams Sonoma, Zac Posen and Zandra Rhodes to name a few.

Guests to the School of Fashion have included Azzedine Alaïa, Wilkes Bashford, Geoffrey Beene, Rose Marie Bravo, Loulou de la Falaise, Oscar de la Renta, James Galanos, Christophe Girard, Director of Fashion Strategy, LVMH Fashion Group, Robin Givhan of The Washington Post, Joan Kaner, formerly of Neiman Marcus, Antonio Lopez, Fern Mallis of IMG, Alexander McQueen, Suzy Menkes of The International Herald Tribune, Robert L. Mettler, Chairman & CEO of Macy’s West, Rosita and Tai Missoni, Isaac Mizrahi, Josie Natori, Zac Posen, Zandra Rhodes CBE, Ralph Rucci, Jeremy Scott, Carla Sozzani, Koos van den Akker, and Dame Vivienne Westwood DBE.

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

Damion Matthews is the founder and editor of SFLUXE, and has also contributed to Town & Country, 7x7, Salon, Dutch and other national publications.