Wednesday, December 21, 2011

So it begins...

The path after FIDM has been brutal... BRUTAL! It was soo safe being in school surrounded by people who shared the same passion and love for fashion. Now I'm in real life mode. After years of trying to get to NY, the HOME of those same like-minded individuals ACTUALLY doing what they love, I'm here and it's even harder getting into the field, I spent so much money trying to attain.

Here it goes... After a year of being done with school and in dead end jobs... I finally found an incredible opportunity... the closest to fashion as I could get. I'm now working in a pretty high position in a well known "salon". I love what I'm doing, don't get me wrong, it's just NOT enough. I'm now near my fashion idol more so than I ever was. DVF... You know, Diane?... as in Diane von Furstenberg.

I met this gracious woman at her fragrance launch at Sephora in Soho not too long ago. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. I was shaking for crying out loud!! I never get star struck... but it's DIANE VON FURSTENBERG... she's not JUST a star... she's a LEGEND... an ICON... she's amazing!

I had a nice chat with her, everything from my family, my education, my dreams [of working for her], just about anything a girl could hope to talk to her idol about. From then on, it was my sole purpose and mission to work for her.

On 11/11/11 I had a nice article written about my plans for the historical day. Of course I said, "Walk into DVF and ask for a job.." and did I do that? You bet. Well... after some coaxing from my dear friend, and partner in crime, T.

I walked into the Meatpacking shop and spoke to the manager. She was so intrigued by my story and even wanted me to email her the article I was in. But sadly, after 4 emails, she came back to tell me that she "wishes me luck in my job search and there is no open positions.."

That didn't stop me.. no way. I then walked into the Soho shop and even handed them a beautifully DVF adorned resume that would make Diane, herself, blush. "It's so pretty!" The assistant manager of that shop exclaimed, as she handed me her business card to follow up. Two days later and 3 emails to the assistant manager and I still have no response. Can't they just rip that bandaid off and tell me NO!! what's with this game?

During our FIDM Alumni Holiday Party (and about 3 bottles of wine into the event), and hearing each Alum announce what they were doing.. I felt like someone slapped me in the face. "What was I doing wrong?" I had all the experience, held high positions at jobs and had an immense background with internships, education and freelance work. I just don't get it.

Now, here I am. FINALLY, submitting a post. Am I the only Post FIDM Lifer out there going through this? Do any of you share my woes?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

NY Chapter: Holiday Dinner

Last Wednesday, approximately 120 FIDM graduates gathered at the Russian Tea Room in New York City to celebrate the 4th Annual Holiday Alumni Dinner. It was a night to remember as alums from as far as the 1977 to recent Fall 2011 graduates came together to meet, network, and connect with one another. From all the success stories and new endeavors, FIDM students and graduates are taking the industry by storm!

Many thanks for President Hohberg, Barbara Bundy, Sharon Ryan, Bill Cliatt, and Carrie Shay for making this all possible. And a very special thank you to our chapter president Rosa Rufino. What a fabulous event and cheers for more to come!

Photos courtesy of Steven Robinson.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Alexander McQueen SAVAGE BEAUTY at the Met

On July 16th, the FIDM NY Alumni Chapter organized a sort of "fieldtrip" for NY-based alums to see the acclaimed Alexander McQueen "Savage Beauty"exhibit at the Met. I went and I must say I am SO GLAD they did this for us... because just weeks later, the waiting time and line for this particular exhibition was literally out the door and around the block! By the last day, it was reported that Savage Beauty attracted over 600,000 visitors, a record for a fashion-related exhibit!! INSANE.

In my attempt to write about my experience at the Met... I came to the conclusion that it is hard, if not impossible, to put in words just how AMAZING it was. For those of you who were fortunate enough to see it, you should know what I mean... it was a completely indescribable experience. I will try to summarize though....

Our wait wasn't long... between catching up with old schoolmates, meeting new ones, and admiring the beautiful interiors of the Met, we got to the exhibit fairly quickly. From the moment you walk in to the very end... you are taken on a journey... one that I believe was a glimpse of Lee McQueen's mind. It felt like a dream... to be THIS close to his masterpieces. The ominous soundtrack in the background, the different eras... and the CLOTHES.... my god, I was at lost for words. From the impressive tailoring to the showstopping gowns to the sculptural corsets to the fantastical headpieces and accessories... oh and the hologram of Kate Moss was cool to watch and various videos from his runway archives brought everything to life. I completely drooled over all the one-of-a-kind, never before seen pieces from the Isabella Blow collection (on loan from the Hon. Daphne Guinness). Everything felt like a fantasy. A dark, gloomy yet beautifully crafted fantasy. My jaw was on the floor the entire way... my eyes wide... my heart beat-fully ran... and I gasped at almost every step. Here was a man who changed the way we look at fashion--even beyond fashion...every reference was something deep, a piece of history, a piece of ancestry, something that meant a lot to him. I admired the way he looked into the ugly of things and made it beautiful. He saw things and knew things we often overlook. He made fashion come to life again.

Towards the end as I stared deeply into his final collection, I couldn't help but get emotional. Lee is no longer here with us, I instantly remembered to myself. He was an artist. That is no question. Savage Beauty... what a way to commemorate a legend, the presentation rightfully honored him the way it should. I will never forget how moved I was and I am grateful for such an experience. Many thanks to the curator at the Met for putting on such a presentation... it not only praises a genius of our time, but affirms once again that FASHION IS ART.


Check out Natalie Alvarado's coverage from the exhibit with great candid photos right from her iphone!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Life has been a whirlwind. That line alone is a complete understatement.

Let's rewind. Remember when I talked about Fashion September? Well, now let's fast-forward... 5 months later and there I was having lunch with my fashion icon. *pause for reaction* Yes, you heard it. UNREAL? I know... even I still cannot believe it. So exactly WHO is this "fashion icon"? Let's just say she's quite the fashion rockstar. Trust, you wouldn't believe me even if I told you.

But I will tell you this: People aren't always what they seem. As amazing and unexpected and surreal and mindbogglingly magnificent as it was to be sitting across from someone that I've admired so wholeheartedly, I couldn't help but wonder how exactly I got there. "What's going on? What's happening? IS THIS REAL LIFE?" Here, next to me, sat a completely genuine woman, with all her authenticity, integrity, style and humor, sharing with me some of her craziest finds and stories. "AM I DEAD?" She was everything I imagined her to be... and MORE.

It is all a blur now, but it was one of the most pivotal moments of my life. My heart, to this day, still soar to the moon and back. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. For a fashion girl, I think I am.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Moving to the Big City

It wasn’t long ago when I was discussing with my family for long hours about pursing my career. They questioned why I would move away to pursue a dream of becoming a Fashion Designer? They thought I should be more realistic and stay home and study, law, or medicine. I didn’t take their opinion all too seriously.

Until I saw it on their faces on the day of my graduation at FIDM, had I realized that they were being serious… They really did think I wasn’t going to make it and that my next step would be a big mistake—they thought I was going to end up like one of those girls that move out of the house just to party and have fun, dropping classes and end up dropping out of school as well. That hurt the most. But as I was about to explode into tears, I realized—I had proven them wrong …and I can do it again.

But graduation was only the first step to a new life. I decided to move to New York City… after all is the city where dream are made of, WHY NOT?! I’ve heard that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Let’s just put this to the test.

Of course, at home… some thought the idea was crazy, others thought I was brave.
I didn’t know what to expect until I got here. Once I was in the city and felt the vibe, I was immediately in love with Manhattan.
I arrived in New York on September 7th Center, the day of the Fashion’s Night Out: The Show. When I passed by the Lincoln Center in the town car, they were setting up, at that moment, I felt the world stopped for a few seconds I felt my heart beating fast… and I thought to myself: I am finally HERE!

Then I arrived to my address, I was shocked! It must be a mistake. What is this hood? Living in LA, I was very spoiled. I lived just across the street from FIDM in a luxury apartment with doorman, pool, gym, sauna and a Ralphs across the street and of course, LOTS of space! I must have been crazy. Let’s not talk any more about my living situation. But moving to NY means sacrificing a few things.

Fast forward to surviving my first month as a New Yorker: I scored an interview and landed a job as an assistant designer, joined the gym, started paying for my own stuff, and shopped till I dropped! There were some nights when I wondered how I became so lucky, everything was on track.

A few months ago my company sold the brand that I work for. (Yikes!) In the beginning they said that everything was ok… NOT to look for another job because they were going to keep us all. Last week, the majority of the company was laid-off! 55 to be more exact and the new company took only 20 of those. My boss, the creative director and I ended up with no job. Now I’m back to square one.

Deep breath. This is how life is. I realize that nothing comes handed to you, and I remember those nights thinking that this was too good to be true… and it was. Now I am in the hunt again. Trying to be strong and stand still for whatever is to come. My friend said to me once that when you live in New York City, you are always looking for three things: an apartment, a love or a job. At this moment I am looking for all 3.

--Natalie Alvarado
FIDM Grad, Fashion Design, June 2010
Follow my personal journey on my blog.