Me and Director of Fashion Design Department, Alida Leon in the center surrounded by bright future stars at Altos de Chavon School of Design.
Over the Thanksgiving week, I was invited to give 3 day lecture and workshop for 19 very talented Fashion Design major students at Altos de Chavon School of Design in Dominican Republic. What an wonderful opportunity for me to give back and be inspired again!! I like to specially thank to my friend and wonderful Professor Miss Alida Leon in behalf of Altos De Chavon for inviting me as her very first guest speaker for her department. The Lecture was a Power course of Introduction to Cut and Sew Knits and Sweater Knit. The Cut and Sew Knit and Sweater Knit are maybe the most important categories financially to any brand in Fashion Industry world wide and also needless to say an epitome to anyone and everyone’s wardrobe on any given day.
Unless you travel all the way to Europe, it is true that not many schools or possibly No Fashion schools in US offers specialized major degree program in Cut and Sew knit or Sweater knit. Almost every designer in this area I know learned and still is learning designing knits doing the actual work at their current and past jobs. During my school year at FIT then, actually I was going to do 1 year Sweater knit major program at St. Martin School of Design in London followed right by my 2nd year exchange program through FYT NY at Polimoda Florence ,which actually did not happen as I met Emiliano but at least I was able to take special Sweater course for 1 full semester at Polimoda by traveling once a week to this Knitting studio located in Empoli about 20 minutes outside of Florence. So Students at Altos de Chavon in such a hot climate to have this opportunity is surely an eye opening experience and I was thrilled to be there to feed all the knowledge that I was able to share from years of experience working in the industry.
A rustic and quaint view from the Guest House we are staying at Altos de Chavon. Altos de Chavon is located in the heart of Casa de Campo in La Romana area in DR. Altos de Chavon is a small village built in 1970’s inspired by general architecture of Medieval European village. It is so well done, its hard to believe that this town is only built in 70’s!
We are going for an easy dinner and bit of night stroll at Altos de Chavon. I feel like I am in South of Italy here.
Passing by the Gallery. It will be open in the morning.
The Best and Go to restaurant in Altos de Chavon. We are having a dinner here.
Gael snapping us. Just arrived and I look very tired coming out of many weeks of intense work back in NY. I am so glad Emi and Gael are with me during this trip and hope this will have a good influence on Gael especially. Teaching mom!
After dinner quick visit to School. Fine Art major students are working late hours to meet their deadline on group project.
Nothing like a roomful of fresh artists’ art. Ahhh I love this.
Continuing Education! Student Gael at Altos de Chavon with back ground of Incredible work of fashion design students. I can’t wait to meet them tomorrow!!!
Beautiful illustration of one student on the wall.
Beautiful hair she got! I love it!
The dorm. So rustic and So beautiful. All the talents live and work here.
Good morning Chavon! A beautiful day.
A view from the guest house.
Early morning visit to an amphitheater. This theater held quite a bit of heavy weight concerts.
Look out to Chavon river. It’s sssooo lush here with mountains and river.
The piazza and the church.
The First day to School!
Walking into the campus. It’s very cute!
Day one talking through all the technical aspects of Knit fabrication, yarns, knitting terms, wash techniques, how to read and measure fabric weight, yarn weight and gauges, texture vs non texture… The list goes on and on. Hundreds of images of examples and inspiration from all around the world and my own travels… So much to talk about and learn. 9-5 full 3 days are going by fast.
Now talking about technical flats and showing how to illustrate stitches, cuts, shapes and drapes.
Now showing a Life of one sweater from a sketch to the final product.
Day two. The Workshop and mentoring. The project outline is given at the end of day one and here we are together practicing rendering and sketching sweaters and building the line. 3 looks to complete from the top to bottom full outfit including cut and sew knits and sweater pieces with complete flat sketches and colored illustration showing full texture and stitches. Kids got only 24 hours to turn it around after 1 day of lecture. And day 3 is presentation of their collection and all day critique.
They learn fast and they are amazing.
A creative desk. I love it.
Quick break outside but questions are pouring in.
A night check out of swimming pool. We had great early morning swims here looking out to Chavon river. Hope kids are doing all right and they will show up with fabulous work tomorrow.
Wow Kids!!! You guys are Super!!! I guess This is Why You Teach. See what you harvest after you plant that seed. I mean only after 2 days of lecture to who never knew anything about knits and sweaters, I get this wonderful fruits back. I get teary. Thank you kids.
The presentation and Critique starts now. So CREATIVE!!!
Critique and discussion goes all day.
The president of Altos de Chavon School of Design and the Cultural Center Foundation, Ms Dominique Bluhdorn visits the class during the Critique hours. Dominique, thanks again for the wonderful hospitality and conversations we had and of course for the teaching opportunity! You have wonderful Directors like Alida and very talented kids at your school. Thank you!
More memories! Thank you guys!
After completing much successful 3 day lecture, here we are off to Bayahibe with Alida!
Amazing lunch at Captain William Kidd. Despite the name, trust me, you get beautiful food here!
A beautiful and really delicious Appetizer for 4. Octopus salad, grilled lobster, pan fried shrimps, Tuna carpaccio with cilantro and lime juice and sea bass fritters. To die for. And a bottle of Falanghina!
Yum Yum Yum. Spaghetti with tomato and a Whole crab. Amazing! This is an Italian restaurant owned by this Italian lady. Very authentic Italian but all based on fresh local seafood from ocean of DR. One to share for 4.
Ahhh the Saturday always feels short…
The Last night at Altos de Chavon. Here we are for a dinner at Marina area in Casa de Campo. It’s quite lively!
After dinner Pre B day cake for Emi with mega Fire work Surprise! Thank you Martha! Thank you for taking us out for a wonderful dinner al fresco and for such great hospitality! We enjoyed the night very much!
Night Stroll around the Marina. It’s a lovely night.
From the left, Martha Victoria, Administrative Director of Altos de Chavon Cultural Center Foundation, Director Alida Leon, Me and Gael. Emi on the camera. Cheese!
Alida and me.
Alida! Thank you for everything and thank you for inviting me to teach your wonderful 19 little stars. You are very well respected and loved by all of your students. So it was easy for me to just take your string and go with it. Teaching is a wonderful thing and I loved every second of it. On the third day, Seeing all the projects from the kids and their hard work truly impressed me. You have taught them well and you are doing a wonderful work guiding and nourishing them to become bigger stars. Thank you my friend.
To all of you wonderful fashion kids at Altos de Chavon! I saw such height of true talent and passion in that room for the fashion. Eager to learn more and wonderful plans for your future studying more and getting into the field. Passion is a beautiful thing and do not ever loose it no matter what condition you ever will be in. Don’t forget to do your best and show up at your best you can. Thank you all.
Gael with the Entire Ocean to himself, Samana, Dominican Republic.
Mommy, Daddy and Gael will be Perfect. But Daddy and Gael is just sweet as it is. An Epic Life of Casarosa’s continues here in Dominican Republic… Samana, Playa Rincon, Las Galeras, Puerto Escondido…
It’s not at Pink all over Disney Land, it’s not at all inclusive busy resort with a stranger nanny… Just Gael and Daddy in front of honest and powerful Mother Nature. You make your life where you want to be.
Here come taste Rich and Richer pouring shower of Incredible Nature with Gael..
Mommy and Daddy loves you So much Gael!