Pratt Institute 2012 Fashion Show Honors Fern Mallis

Fern Mallis Calvin Klein
Photo: Patrick McMullan
Fern Mallis and Calvin Klein.

Want to find New York’s future design talents? Start here.

Pratt Institute held its 2012 senior fashion show and cocktail benefit on Thursday night, with 17 talented students showing off their impressive year’s work. We expect you’ll be seeing much more from some of these designers. Some standouts: Kate A. Gross's impeccable overcoats and tailoring, Meredith Lyon’s Pop Art tribute to a No Smoking sign, Theresa Deckner's dreamy watercolor prints, and Kelsy Carleen Parkhouse, whose impressive quilted creations earned her the school’s first-ever Liz Claiborne Award—and a $25,000 prize.

Industry heavyweights like Stan Herman, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Steven Kolb, Dennis Basso, Hamish Bowles, and Cathy Horyn (whose boyfriend, Art Ortenberg, is Liz Claiborne’s widower and the generous benefactor of the student award) were no doubt taking notes on the young talent—but they also came out in support of Fern Mallis, who was honored with the evening’s 2012 Pratt Institute Fashion Industry Lifetime Achievement Award.

Pratt Institute 2012 fashion show

Photo: Patrick McMullan

From left: Runway looks by Meredith Lyon, Theresa Decker, and Kelsy Carleen Parkhouse at the Pratt Institute 2012 fashion show.

“Her job over the years was not an easy one,” said presenter Calvin Klein of the former CFDA executive director and founder of New York Fashion Week as we know it. “Between the designers, the personalities, and the opinions… a lesser person would have run from the building screaming.

“She’s an incredibly loveable force of nature with a huge heart,” he continued, “and we owe her so much.”

An incredibly humble Mallis wiped a few tears as she accepted the award. “I feel way too young to be here!” she laughed, before imparting some valuable advice on the students.

“Remember my mantra: Be nice,” she said. “People choose to do business with the people that are nice.”