TMFD students and faculty travel to Milan and Paris for Study Tour 2012

TMFD students and faculty travel to Milan and Paris for Study Tour 2012

05 Jun 2012    

The TMFD 2012 European Study Tour group at the Pinacotecca de Brera in Milano, Italia

Thirty Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design majors recently traveled to Milan and to Paris with Professor Barbara Trout and Senior Lecturer Carol Easley for the 2012 TMFD Study Tour. The tour’s main objective was to explore the interface of fashion and European culture, and the European influence  on American product development and retailing.

In Milan students explored Italy’s fashion center, visiting the high fashion district known as the Golden Quadrangle and the famed concept store 10 Corso Como that has influenced retailing trends around the globe. At various museums and cathedrals students experienced Classical, Renaissance and Baroque art and architecture. A highlight of the stay in Milan was a trip to the Navigli district for an in-depth tour of the La Scala Theatre workshops where students witnessed  firsthand the design and production of sets and costumes for the renowned La Scala Opera House. Later that week students attended a production of Benjamin  Britten’s Peter Grimes at La Scala itself.

Como 1

Silk scarf screenprinting studio at the Ratti Silk Factory in Guanzate, Como, Italy

The group then traveled to Como, Italy where they observed every step of the textile production process, from spinning and weaving to printing of the latest silk fabrics produced for high-fashion houses such as Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana. 

Como 2

Laura Edwards, Ashton Morris and Alena Vla enjoy scenic Lago di Como and its dramatic backdrop

A boat ride on the Seine in one of Paris’ famous bateaux mouches helped to orient the group to the city where history and the traditions of French design were all around them. In the classrooms of the American Paris Academy of Design students learned the history and techniques of  the famous couturier Madame Grès. They attended a seminar on the process of trend forecasting and learned of the latest trends for 2013 courtesy of the cutting edge forecasting firm, EdelKoort, at their Trend Union/Studio on the Boulevard St. Jacques.  

Paris 1

The TMFD 2012 European Study Tour group at the Eiffel Tower in Paris

At “Les Docks” a newly established design district, students compared the traditional designs of master couturier Balenciaga to the avant-garde work of contemporary Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo.  At the Yves Saint Laurent Foundation, students visited the famed designer’s private studio where they were challenged to distinguish the designer’s couture work from the ready –to-wear collections that distinguished his name world wide.  

Madame Gres

Madame Pico, former apprentice to Madame Grès, demonstrating her pleating technique, Paris American Academy

Additional influences of culture and fashion were evident to the students in the work of photographer Helmut Newton whose retrospective filled the exhibition halls of the Grand Palais.  Students were given a private tour of the  Louis Vuitton/ Marc Jacobs exhibition at the Musée Arts Décoratifs, a division of the Louvre complex.  They spent additional time at the Louvre itself, as well as at destinations such as the Musée Cluny, the Musée d’Orsay  and Paris’ Garnier Opera House, the original home of the Paris opera and ballet.


Louis Vuitton window display

Design students absorbed a wealth of visual inspiration, merchandising students were able to contrast marketing strategies and shopping behaviors, and communications students had a close-up view of how visual media is used in fashion promotion in Europe. This was most evident in the high level of apparel and accessories retailing on the Champs- Elysees, but was also a key component in the tour participants’ experience of Paris’ Marais district and the Place des Vosges.  To finalize the learning experience, students developed research papers, journals and executed a special project. The credits earned were well deserved!


Jillian Christy, Kendra Morgan, Megan Church, Mariah Kliewer, Amanda Dendinger and Art Boamah-Wiafe

in the Hall of Mirrors at the famed Chateau de Versailles (all photos courtesy Carol Easley)

The 2013 TMFD Study Tour will take students and faculty to Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou and to Beijing, China. Interested students should put their names on the study tour notification list in the TMFD office, and they’ll be notified in Fall 2012 when registration opens.

Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design