Discovering American Luxury: How Students at Parsons School of Design Identified “Made in America Luxury”

For graduate students wishing to prepare themselves for a career in the management and marketing of luxury goods, a program run by France’s emLyon Business School in concert with Parsons School of Design in New York City helps them to do exactly that by allowing them to learn directly from some of the most experienced and knowledgeable people in luxury-goods-related industries.

green dymaxion car - American Ingenuity

Prolific Imagination: Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller is a name many Americans may be familiar with, yet most probably can't say exactly why. Today, Fuller is identified with numerous concepts and inventions, the most famous of which is the geodesic dome, which can be seen in such structures as EPCOT's Spaceship Earth at Walt Disney World in Orlando and the Biosphere (originally part of Expo '67) in Montreal, Canada.

Teaching Creativity: Parsons School of Design

In New York City, one college is respected above all others for instructing students in the fine arts, advertising and graphic design, interior design and fashion design.

black and white photo of Alexey Brodovitch

A Forgotten Pioneer: Alexey Brodovitch

Alexey Vyacheslavovich Brodovitch was one of the best-known art directors in America in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, famous for his work on venerable fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar, published by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Although he's not as recognized today as some of his peers from that era, Brodovitch set the standard for avant-garde publication design in the middle of the 20th century, especially for mass-market culture periodicals.

photo of Richard Neutra

Prime Modernist: Richard Neutra

Among the most famous residences in Southern California from an architectural perspective are several dozen designed by the Austrian-American architect Richard Neutra. Neutra was a leading proponent of what today is known as the "International Style" of architecture, which can be seen in some of the most highly regarded commercial buildings of the mid-20th century, such as Mies van der Rohe's Seagram Building, Raymond Hood's McGraw-Hill Building — both in New York City — and Frits Peutz's Glaspaleis in the Netherlands, but also in residential works such as Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye on the outskirts of Paris, Eileen Gray's E-1027 in the South of France, and Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.

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The Neoclassicist: Robert A. M. Stern

Roughly a decade ago, a new era in luxury condominium sales commenced in New York City, perhaps unsurprisingly, at the southwest corner of Central Park immediately adjacent to Trump International Tower.

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In Full Bloom: Preston Bailey

In the rarefied world of high-profile and celebrity weddings, a relatively new name has been making the rounds as the go-to person for spectacular occasions that have transformed both indoor and outdoor settings into magical locations in time and space, bedecked with flowers, props and illumination worthy of top-tier theatrical productions.

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Luxury’s Leather Daddy: Peter Marino

On a high floor of Manhattan's 150 58th Street office building, a stocky, musclebound, leather-clad man sporting dark aviator sunglasses and a macho 1970s-style beard, moustache and goatee strides into a modern office amidst Damien Hirst paintings, Robert Mapplethorpe photographs and a cornucopia of other artworks valued in the millions of dollars.

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Taking American Design Forward: Lester Beall

Among American graphic artists, there are relatively few individuals whose work is inextricably tied to the poster format, particularly as it was represented in the propaganda art campaigns the U.S. government ran during the Great Depression and throughout World War II. But Lester Beall was one such artist, whose work was irresistibly modern and who nearly single-handedly pushed graphic design for the masses relentlessly forward into the future even as his American peers were toying with more artistic-based and esoteric approaches.

charles james

America’s First Couturier: Charles James

In America prior to the year 1900, "fashion" was a made-to-measure business; virtually all high-end clothing was painstakingly custom-made for both men and women. With the onset of the 20th century, however, large department stores and the media made it possible for unique, individual designs of clothing to be both promoted and mass-manufactured, allowing the skilled craftsmen and women who created them to become famous for their sartorial talents.

A Style Unto Himself: Saul Steinberg

Saul Steinberg was an artist and illustrator most famous for his cartoon drawings, many of which appeared both in the interior pages and on the cover of the venerable literary magazine The New Yorker.

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Fashion’s Daring Futurist: Rudi Gernreich

In almost every possible way, Rudi Gernreich was the most forward-thinking and forward-looking American fashion designer of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Responsible for altering the way Americans looked at clothing, particularly as it both obscured and created consciousness of the body, Gernreich pushed the boundaries of what was socially acceptable and/or desirable for everyday apparel.

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Reclusive Perfectionist: Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin was a pioneering American minimalist painter who self-identified with the movement of abstract expressionism in the 1950s and 1960s, although her work differed from orthodox abstract expressionists in subtle but important ways, such as her more organic and humanist approach to repetition and form, while still questing for a perfectionist ideal.

perry ellis

An American Original: Perry Ellis

"When Perry Ellis was alive, no one did it better… He was able to be modern and yet not come off antiseptic. He’s the single greatest influence on my design life." So states fashion designer Michael Bastian, one of America's foremost creative names in the industry and a former men’s fashion director at iconic retailer Bergdorf Goodman in New York City.

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The New Abstractionist: Matt Connors

New York-based abstract painter Matt Connors is an up-and-coming art world star, whose minimalist work evokes and recalls the color-field artistry of such 20th-century past masters as Hans Hoffman, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Helen Frankenthaler, Ray Parker, John Hoyland and Jack Bush. Connors' use of large blocks of solid color produces a refreshing boldness and an immediacy in his work that leaves a jarring yet familiar impression on viewers.

calvin klein jeans

Remaking American Clothes: Calvin Klein

In the pantheon of American fashion designers, one man stands out for his minimalism, his ubiquity and his staying power in one of the toughest of all consumer businesses. That man is Calvin Klein, and, as a designer, he's had his share of ups and downs in the industry, although, in retrospect, there have been more ups than downs.

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A New American Design Hero: Michael DiTullo

Multitalented and multidisciplinary designer Michael DiTullo has conceived innumerable products from footwear to automobiles to razors to speakers. But for DiTullo, everything starts with a simple sketch on a sheet of paper that he uses to rapidly communicate an idea, usually to a client or a manufacturer. From a sketch, a manager or business person can quickly grasp what DiTullo has in mind from a design standpoint, what it would take to produce such an item and possibly what the manufacturing costs and/or potential production obstacles might be.

harry bertoia

Making Sculpture Modern: Harry Bertoia

Harry Bertoia was an Italian-American artist, sculptor and jewelry and furniture designer whose creations have become emblematic of the stark, minimalist but undeniably elegant 1950s and 1960s large-scale artworks that adorn numerous modern metropolitan and institutional landmark structures of this era.

Thom Browne

New Kid on the Block: Thom Browne

Over the last 15 years in New York, one man has risen from relative obscurity to become a premier name in American fashion circles, known these days as much for his womenswear as for his creatively tailored men's suits (often with trouser bottoms that are high enough to expose the wearer's ankles).

A Memorable Identity: Massimo Vignelli

Among America’s greatest-ever graphic designers, the name Massimo Vignelli looms large. Although he was born in Milan, Italy, Vignelli lived more than half a century in the United States and produced his most beloved and greatest work in his adopted land.

Mobile Visionary: William Hawley Bowlus

In the years following World War II, America experienced what's now termed a "postwar boom" economically. Soldiers coming home from the conflict were able to buy houses cheaply, and American industry went into overdrive producing consumer goods that new American families would buy.

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Female Pioneer: Helene Rother

In the history of American industrial design, the name Helene Rother is not very well known, but if one goes back about 50 years, her name graced numerous advertisements for American automobiles, occasionally as "Madame Helene Rother of Paris." That's because Rother possessed European roots, but fled the Continent as World War II raged.

The New Abstractionist: Matt Connors

New York-based abstract painter Matt Connors is an up-and-coming art world star whose minimalist work evokes and recalls the color-field artistry of such 20th-century past masters as Hans Hoffman, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Helen Frankenthaler, Ray Parker, John Hoyland and Jack Bush.

Clever Innovator: Frank Stella

In the world of American art, Frank Stella remains one of the most significant living American artists because of his perennial insistence on emphasizing his artworks as objects unto themselves, rather than as representations of any specific subject matter.