My Transfer to Parsons Paris
While pursuing the Fashion Studies Masters at The New School, in the New York City campus, I found America was not a great fit for me. I felt lonely and it is so ironic since Manhattan is full of people, full of energy and full of life. I decided not to renew an apartment for my second year and decided I would live at home in Montreal and fly back and worth to school for my last year. Around the same time, I had just gotten an email from Parsons to apply for a new summer program “Archiving Fashion” where we would work at the Alaïa Foundation and do some research on Cristobal Balenciaga’s 1968 final collection. I immediately jumped to the opportunity and applied. After getting accepted and planning my summer, I arrived to Paris in July, ready to start the program.
It felt so weird being in Paris as a student. I usually come here once a year to visit my family always felt like a tourist, a stranger even. This time around, I found myself in the heart of Paris, heading to the coolest classes, visiting a new campus, meeting new people, finding new hidden gem lunch spots, and living my day to day as a Parisian.
The summer program, “Archiving Fashion” was 18 days. It was short, and it was intense, but worth it. We were only four students which was, to me at least, very special. Taught by Jessica Glasscock and Marco Pecorari, we had the chance of being guided constantly in the right direction of the work we pursued. Twice a week, we were on campus at Parsons Paris and another twice a week, at the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation in Le Marais. We worked closely and carefully on exceptional Balenciaga garments from his final collection of 1968. Each one of us had a theme constructed around the specific garment assigned. I am not exaggerating when I say we barely got any sleep; especially the last 15 days. The last two weeks of this class were the most intense work I’ve ever had. The four of us had so much research to be done that we usually ended up going to bed around 3am and waking up early to be at Alaïa, ready to work more. In the end, we created a gorgeous exhibition that was totally worth the million cups of coffee we had during the day.
We did so much research, read articles, books, watched presentations, listened to guest speakers, and had to walk around Paris for inspiration. I found the class to be so enriching, so I asked to transfer. Luckily, I am French so the administrative details did not pose a problem, and I learned quickly would officially be a Parsons Paris student by Fall 2019!
On the last week of the summer program, we presented our work at the Alaïa Foundation, in front of quite a numerous amount of people. Not only the press was there, but we got interviewed by a WWD journalist, Fleur Burlet, which later published an article on our work, which you can find here. Vogue Italia also made an article about this program, which by the way, will hopefully be an official class at Parsons Paris. If it does, lucky you future students! We had to do work in 3 weeks so you guys will have it easier in 13.
Parsons Paris is different than the New York City campus, in the best of ways. It is smaller and there are more hands on projects. There are a lot of visits to museums, speaking to professionals, and simply getting out of your way to find what you need. The work has to be done by moving your actual body and getting the information you need. Paris has always been a home to me but I now see it with the eyes of a Masters student who lives here. I am here, in the heart of where fashion started and haute couture was created. I am so lucky to be living in a city full of traffic with big pretty streets and crowded sidewalks on which walk the most fashionable citizens.
This blog post was written because I felt the need to share my wonderful experience at Parsons Paris over the summer. After all, if it wasn’t for it, I would have never transferred from New York City. Thank you to Marco Pecorari and Jessica Glasscock for being incredible teachers to us four this summer 2019. Fall 2019 has just started and I already feel like I belonged here all of my life.
I’d love to know if any of the students had a similar story as me; if there was a campus you preferred and why it was a better fit for you. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me.