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Stories of Emerging Couture Minded Designers

Academy of Couture Art Le Reve Gala celebrates next generation of haute couture

Beverly Hills — The Academy of Couture Art, recognized as being one of the leading accredited schools upholding the time honored tradition of haute couture technique and craftsmanship in made-to-order fashion design, hosted it’s annual gala at the Sofitel in Beverly Hills. 

Hosted by Rachel Bailit of the Conan O’Brien Show the 2012 event, Le Reve, celebrated achievements in design from full Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design degree graduates through to the teen couture program.  

Fashion Designer Angela Wu 

Many special guests supported the special evening with the next generation of haute couture designers including the beautiful star of Tim Burton’s “Planet of the Ape’s” Miss Estella Warren; the stunning leading lady of Simon Wells’ “Time Machine” and multi-award winning recording artist Samantha Mumba; Leading fashion designer Louis Verdad; Miss Lois Aldrin; Miss Terri Gans in official capacity representing the French Consulate General in Los Angeles; Miss Southern California Fehbe Meza; Elizabeth Matthews from the LACMA Costume Council; Paul Mitchell’s John Paul deJoria II; and 45x-Gold Medalist, 3x-world Tae Kwon-Do Champion, 5x European Champion, 5th Degree Tae Kwon Do Black Belt, former Ford model and co-star of Warner Brother’s “Tekken”, Anton Kasabov.

The Academy of Couture is a genesis of true haute couture.  In developing their role in the global fashion community, the Academy of Couture Art created for 2012 an Honorary Board of Directors for the College inducting two members at the Le Reve Gala: Her Royal Highness Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark and Her Excellency Michelle Czernin von Chudenitz und zu Morzin.   Honorary Membership shows support for the ACA community and the mission of couture. Some members offer to make special guest appearances at our events or even hold intimate guest lectures in the college. Others choose to represent their support simply through the listing of college Honorary Members.

Pattern Designer Raquel van Daalen Wetters 

Founded by Sonia Été and Thierry Été, the Academy of Couture Art in Los Angeles provides an exclusive education in haute couture technique and design formerly unavailable outside of the leading European fashion houses.  Students learn the delicate process of creating one of a kind pieces.  From pattern making to handcrafted lace and beading, the program is an homage to the beauty, sophistication, innovation, intelligence, elegance and harmony of the creation.  

Graduates for their Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design including Maxfield Freiermuth, Sarah Kim, Mariana Romero Tejeda, and Angela Wu  presented their thesis collections.  Justin Howard, fashion columnist for the New York Times commented that his “ones [designers] to watch” list will be growing with names from the Academy!

For more on the show and key looks visit: http://www.academyofcoutureart.edu/success/

Academy of Couture Art

5700 Wilshire Blvd, Ste 275

Los Angeles, CA  90036

T   310 360 8888 x 120  |  F   310 857 6974






Couture in the City: West Coast Fashion goes Haute Couture

Academy of Couture Art & Paul Mitchell the school: High Fashion Luxe Beauty
Bright white sun on the modern mid-rises makes the greenery distinct and the couture garments elegantly bold. For a Saturday afternoon downtown Portland you can feel glamour all around.

Not many would put those two together: Portland and glamour. This is an achievement that only the two best schools of beauty could create. Academy of Couture Art, Los Angeles and Paul Mitchell the School, Portland have redefined west coast fashion and beauty which has usually tended on the side of surf wear or woodland chic.

The Fest in the Square event makes a mark in the movement of couture in the U.S. It is a movement of education in what is couture. Too often couture gets lumped into either the unobtainable wild and crazy creativity that is solely for inspiration or the occasional bows added here and there to make something look cute like Chanel.

Couture is an aesthetic. It is a sophisticated training of the eye. For fashion, it is also a method of designing and creating clothing from the highest to the lowest. Balance, proportion, line are brought out from a different perspective. Couture is where creativity meets beauty. Let's face it, not all creativity is pleasing or moving, yet all couture is artistically stimulating or attractive to the eye. That's technique.

The show in Portland was the first time Academy of Couture Art designers partnered with the talent at Paul Mitchell the School, Portland. The whole team of hair artists, models and designers where inspired to take it to the max for elegance; an experience you do not often see in mid day Portland.

“What's amazing about this experience is seeing even the models transform. Not only did the team at Paul Mitchell bring out the most sophisticated chicness in the ladies, the luxury fit garments of Academy of Couture Art had the girls experiencing a new totally view of who they are as women. You can see it in the photos.”

That said, we have to agree and let the photos speak. Cheers to the west coast woman!


Career Highlight: French Couture For Ready-to-Wear: It’s all in the Eye

Academy of Couture Art (ACA) congratulates graduate Heidi AN as she takes a bold, confident step to build her own line in NYC.

ACA Grad Heidi AN for Urban OutfittersHeidi’s journey since graduation was surprisingly an easy one for career opportunities. She was placed right away as Assistant Designer in Downtown Los Angeles with a starting salary of $800 weekly.

Most people are now probably thinking, sure, that’s because of the school’s network. Well, building a name in the industry goes beyond the school. That takes skills and rich, marketable creativity.

Right after she started her first job, Heidi presented a collection that was, well, ahead of its time. It kind of surprised her company. Having been to Premiere Vision in Paris with ACA she suggested that the Head Designer visit the show in NYC which was actually scheduled just a few weeks ahead. When the Head Designer returned, Heidi was right on spot and her salary showed it.

It didn’t take long before she was scouted by another company with immediate entry as Head Designer. This time her designs would reach Urban Outfitters and Forever 21.


Being the best requires a lot of passion to endure the long hours, serious training to sustain creativity, eye for producing collection after collection with timeless “I’ve got to have it” quality, and a centeredness that is the sign of true leadership.

Heidi excelled in the industry and revealed a confidence in her art that gave her platform to move forward with her message to the world. This summer Heidi moved to NYC to begin her own line.

Academy of Couture Art congratulates you Heidi on this amazing journey and cheers you on as you transform fashion one collection at a time!

What's Next After Fashion Design College?

Victoria CATES fashion design winner Velvet Brigade 2011Congratulations to Fashion Designer Victoria CATES (Academy of Couture Art Associate of Arts Degree in Fashion Design) winner of the 2011 Velvet Brigade Design Competition (http://www.velvetbrigade.com/design/postmodernist-babydoll-dress).

Victoria CATES moved back home to NY right after graduating with a specialized Associate Degree in Fashion Design. A bit uncertain what the future would bring in this new job market, Victoria reached out with her distinct portfolio and high energy to produce. It was only a couple of months later that she landed an internship with Nicole MILLER (NYC).

On the side, Victoria sketched; entering her design in the Velvet Brigade design competition: Postmodernist BabyDoll Dress, a sexy, sheer, little babydoll dress inspired by the band ‘Hole’ in the early 90’s.

As the votes rolled in, she announced the re-opening of her shop Gilded Cat on Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop/GildedCat) featuring vintage listings of cute summer stuff.

“Excellent! I’m finally getting down to business here!” She prepares for the launch of her own website with runway looks from her graduation debut at Academy of Couture Art, a course included in her degree program.

When you are born for it, highly trained professionally, and passionately productive, the doors open for much more to come. Her design will now be manufactured and sold under the Velvet Brigade competition win. One more design for the website and a name that you should watch.

Fashion on the West Coast

Runway Creative Team Paul Mitchell the school Portland & Academy of Couture ArtPaul Mitchell the school Portland Hair and Makeup team partners with Academy of Couture Art Bachelor Degree Fashion Designers as Creative Directors of the runway show Rock ‘n’ Dolls for Fest on the Square, Portland.

Presented by PDX Catwalk Productions & Portland House of Fashion & Academy of Couture Art, Los Angeles with Cat Walk Music Community, Music: Drum Jam & Keegan Smith August 6, 2011 Pioneer Square Portland, OR.

Runway designers include Angela CHUY, Kay ENYART, Max FREIERMUTH, Sarah KIM, Margaret ROBERTS, and Mariana ROMERO.

What more can a girl ask for? High energy rock and luxury couture looks. That is a recipe for Rock ‘n’ Dolls.

This Saturday, August 6, Hollywood brings the luxury, Austin brings real rock, and Portland speaks the voice of our generation. We love to see such important cities uniting on the West Coast. Watch out East Coast; this is the future of fashion!

Fine Art of Fashion: Career Highlight

Michelle SHIN, Academy of Couture Art junior student (Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design and Bachelor of Science in Pattern Design) is recognized for her talent in the fashion illustration skills that distinguish an haute couture education.

Michelle was commissioned to do an illustration for a book on Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn in Fashion: The enduring influence of Marilyn Monroe, with never before seen images of the darling doll who had a major impact on entertainment and fashion.

She was originally asked to create a fashion design illustration in the spirit of the fashion sketch for that time. The sketch includes a particular gown worn by Marilyn during a uniquely celebratory occasion in the young actress/singer/model’s life.

Having a deep education in period fashion as well as modèle vivant, Michelle took the sketch to a personalized couture level that captured not only the garment but also Marilyn with her distinct personality and proportions.

As a couturière, Michelle would not let her client be compromised by the sketch fashion figure; after all, Marilyn was a major fashion figure. As a result, Michelle was awarded a bonus on her artwork.

The book entitled Marilyn in Fashion: The enduring influence of Marilyn Monroe by Christopher Nickens & George Zeno is to be published in Summer 2012 by Running Press a division of Perseus Book Group of Philadelphia.

Be sure to check out this momentous book for fashion!

Career Highlight: Freelance Fashion Design and Pattern Making

Christina Manolescu in the atelier

Having achieved her Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design and a few quarters away from achieving her Bachelor of Science in Pattern Design (Pattern Making), Christina Manolescu embarks on a career that is “...beyond what I ever thought I would achieve.”

Last quarter she began working freelance as a pattern maker for several different design companies. Her first experience was with couturier Roberto De Villacis on a few garments that were made-to-measure for his fit model. “She was so stunned by the fit that she wanted to take the muslin cut home!” At the same time, Christina embarked on her first custom wedding gown, embroidery and all.

Next adventure in the industry, children's wear. “This will be my first time to integrate the methods of modern haute couture, which is typically calculated for the woman, to children's wear.” Easier than she thought, she introduced an elegant basic pattern block that the company had not yet developed to bring consistency in production. Her first project was the cutest little coat you can imagine. “I really like this kind of work. I can work when I want, where I want.”

Currently she is employed part-time in the company atelier and freelance in her studio creating patterns and leading consultations between fashion designer and seamstress for a local Parisian luxury leather clothing company.

Her first project brought in a few hundred dollars. The second one received reviews that were unimaginable a few years back when she transferred fashion colleges to specialize in modern haute couture practices. “Our seamstress, who has been over thirty years in the business, said that my pattern was the most elegant and simple to execute that she has ever seen.” This came on the same day that the owner, former fit model for the couture runways in Paris, tried on the muslin of her second project. “No fitting was needed, and I believe she's keeping this one for herself. It cascaded down so elegantly; It was gorgeous!”

More projects are on the pattern table. Christina has just been approached to make custom garments for a lady with unique proportions. “Her size is bigger on top, making it challenging to find anything becoming for her type of figure.”

“I never thought I would be able to make pieces like crazy complex motorcycle jackets and custom garments to bring out the unique beauty in all. The techniques at Academy of Couture Art are so easy and so elegant. This is awesome! To the students, take lots of notes; this is your bread and butter.”

Inspirations for the Future of Fashion

Last week Academy of Couture Art had the wonderful opportunity for inspiration at the invitation of the LACMA Costume Council.

Andrew Bolton, Curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, shared his insightful perspective on the spirit of the American woman through her ever evolving dress (critically acclaimed exhibit at the MET: American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity).

Through his amazing exhibit and presentation, Andrew Bolton reminded us that costumes are very strong tools to convey an “Art de Vivre” to the community.

As commented by Thierry ÉTÉ, Academy of Couture Art, “As we could see through this exhibit, among each era, style, and movement, uniformity in the silhouette was a collective convention. The fashion of today is heading to a dilution of uniformity serving more creatively the unique personality of individual clients. This is exciting for woman who leads the movement for freedom of expression and strength of personality!”

After the event, I met a lovely woman who, upon hearing of Academy of Couture Art, was brightened with joy to reminisce on her experiences viewing haute couture runway shows in Paris perhaps over forty years ago. “Back then the runway was not filled with over the top costumes.” What you saw was pure beauty that you could instantly see yourself wearing. They were garments you dreamed of owning and when you did you cherished them forever because they fit so beautifully, were made with such care, were enriched with even the simplest of detail, and always made you look and feel gorgeous. It was magical. “I had pieces that I wore for almost twenty years.”

This is a perfect example of what couture is all about. It is, before anything, a concept of perfection, of uniqueness, of detailed craftsmanship, of impeccable, elegant fit that should not be reserved only for an elite, but supporting the entire fashion industry at every level. As a matter of fact, the fashion industry has no other choice than to follow this path of quality where fashion art, defined by haute couture, is reflected in the unique personalities of the broader market.

- Because we care
Academy of Couture Art

Academy of Couture Art Advanced Moulage receives special Parisian Haute Couture guest mentor: Guillaume Cardoso de Sousa

Academy of Couture Art Honorary Member Guillaume Cardoso de Sousa mentor for Advanced DrapingAcademy of Couture Art, West Hollywood – Pattern Designers (aka Pattern Makers and Custom Dressmakers) at Academy of Couture Art specialize in the modern techniques of construction from haute couture to mass market. Last Wednesday, January 5, 2011, Advanced Moulage (Draping) students received a special surprise for the start of their quarter. ACA Honorary Member, Guillaume Cardoso de Sousa, announces to the group that he will be mentor to the class.

Guillaume Cardoso de Sousa brings an exceptional background in Parisian haute couture. As a specialized graduate of draping from Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne he is an inspiration to those who pursue a similar journey at the U.S. Fashion Institute of Haute Couture, Academy of Couture Art. Guillaume has worked for Dior Haute Couture, Balenciaga, Kenzo and other great designers. He is currently aligned with fashion designer to the stars, Kevan Hall.

His greeting last Wednesday briefly touched on the collaborations and lectures to come with discussion on the various ways to approach pattern designing on a fitted body and the differences between fashion industries in the U.S. and Paris.

Last February 2010, Guillaume made a formal presentation to the Academy of Couture Art community about what it takes to perform with the greats as well as the difference in pursuing fashion design education in Paris where it is necessary to find a design entity sponsor for whom he could work as an apprentice for his education.

A key message, that he imparts to all aspiring and emerging designers, is displayed through his modest and respectful demeanor; to be a professional success requires dedication, punctuality, hours beyond the clock in clock out to ensure that work is done at its best, not getting involved with ego clashes, having eyes in the back of your head to learn from all, and the ability to solve problems and innovate solutions quickly.

Guillaume’s encouragement and positivity left all present full of knowledge towards a better way to think of apparel creation. Look forward to the collaborations to come.

For more information contact Academy of Couture Art at (310) 360-8888 or online at www.academyofcoutureart.edu.


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