Academy of Couture Art gets a double take from Monaco, France!


, , , , , , , , , ,

From Monaco to Los Angeles, the Academy of Couture Art designers are causing a double take within the industry. Able to hold their own on the couture circuit, this June 23 at the Sofitel Hotel in Los Angeles (near Beverly Hills) the secret to haute couture and the Academy of Couture Art will be revealed.

In Monaco, ACA designers presented a collection paired with red carpet couturier, Gilbert Chagoury Couture, at the Monaco Charity Film Festival held outdoors at the beautiful Villa & Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. The designs went beyond expectations.

Academy of Couture Art Pattern Designer Rachel NOURMAND (Image: Lord Byron Photography)

Couture is not only a very specific and unique way of designing and making clothes, but it’s also a way of viewing the world. What makes the Academy of Couture Art so distinct is how it weaves couture through all aspects of the fashion industry. If you stick only to tailoring in couture, you’ve most likely missed the point.

So, what does it mean? Check it out! Le Rêve 2012 fashion show and gala by ACA tells the story of couture in perfect construction, design balance, mood of the collection, and special techniques to create magic in clothing from our graduating designers. You’ll even find looks that push forward what you would expect at a department store or large retail boutiques. After all, it’s about changing what we see everyday!

Be sure to see it before the press. For more on tickets visit 




, , , , ,


Academy of Couture Art Pattern Designers in Moulage


This LA Times article by Susan Carpenter is an interesting resource for anyone considering fashion schools especially in Los Angeles. For those questioning what Academy of Couture Art is doing different, check it out. Here’s an excerpt about the New Design College of Haute Couture.

…Located in a Wilshire Boulevard high-rise, the academy’s curriculum is focused entirely on French couture techniques for making clothes that are luxurious, hand-sewn and precisely fitted. Its associate and bachelor degree programs offer students choices in two areas of specialization — pattern making and fashion design.

“By offering degrees in the specialized professions, we train in how the industry actually works according to the division of labor,” Été says.

“Haute couture means highest creativity, highest technique,” adds Été, whose students have gone on to work with couturier Roberto de Villacis, Nolan Miller and Badgley Mischka. “We want to take a student to the couture level to teach them the thinking process, creativity and technique. If you study at the highest level, you can always trickle down to any level in the industry,” says Été, whose curriculum includes work with beading, feathers and furs as well as classes in business development, manufacturing collaboration and trend forecasting. …

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.

Heidi’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 Academy of Couture Art 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!

Career Highlight: Life Moves Fast for Couture Minded Designers


, , , , ,

Congratulations to Fashion Designer Victoria CATES (Academy of Couture Art Associate of Arts Degree in Fashion Design) winner of the 2011 Velvet Brigade Design Competition (

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 ( 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.

Career Highlight: Fine Art of Fashion


, , , ,

Michelle SHIN, Academy of Couture Artstudent (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: Modern Haute Couture in Hollywood


, , , , , ,

Having achieved her Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design from Academy of Couture Art 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 – 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

Academy of Couture Art Premiere Gala the stars Collide


Academy of Couture Art’s 2010 Collide Grand Fashion Show Gala was definitely a breakthrough fashion event.

I was able to attend the show after having been anticipating the event for weeks. I’d heard about it through a friend and wanted to follow up to learn more about what an Haute Couture Fashion Show could actually mean for the American fashion industry. Now I’m realizing it means revitalization, promise, a new cutting-edge, and inspiration. I was truly inspired.

Sonia and Thierry Ete, CEO and COO respectively, are passionate and vision-driven leaders of this fast-emerging Haute Couture movement in America. Michelle Myers, the Director of Admissions, introduced me to them and was very generous with her time and knowledge about this work as well. I had been able to reach both of them before the event to ask them to shed some light on the importance of organizing an event like this. This event incorporated the fine art of fashion (Haute Couture) with the art of drama (actors and actresses) and the fine art of music (Red Violinist), as well as introducing these art forms to royalty (Princesses and Baronesses). I learned that it was crucial to re-introduce Haute Couture fashion to America through an event that represents it as a distinctive fine art among and alongside other influential art forms. Art inspires art, and art, in turn, inspires society and culture. Thierry Ete told me this about Academy of Couture Art’s aspirations for its students, “Haute Couture creates major statements and identities through clothing. It’s an expression of the soul, and an even more significant statement of a human being. It’s expressing the magnificence and purpose of your existence. This allows our students to realize they have an important piece of the puzzle: a deep connection to their creative mind that is also serving the community and creating a legacy. They are enhancing and multiplying the most important truths about the human purpose.”

The impact of Haute Couture is that it’s the highest of fashion technique. Until Academy of Couture Art, this level of fashion education was not even available in America. And I think everyone will agree, with the pervasiveness of sportswear and the fact that most high-end designers are being imported, America is in obvious need of its own capability to create, produce, and have a presence in luxury fashion. After seeing what I saw from the Academy’s Grand Fashion Show, I’m finally believing this could be an answer to break the cycle.

The garments I saw coming down the runway were timeless, beautiful, each with its own personality and presence. I was grateful to these young designers for putting their minds and hands to garments fresh and original, each with a dedication to the highest of quality and craftsmanship. Some standout designs were Boris Ramos’ creations of navy, lace, and apple green, flowing and swirling their flawless fit. Also, Angela Chuy’s pink creampuff bubble dress prancing down the runway with tiny white shorts just peeking out from under. I love these personal identities coming through, both from the designers and on the models.

For a premier fashion show, Academy of Couture Art’s 2010 Collide Grand Fashion Show Gala exceeded my expectations. And ACA’s next fashion show, I can assure you, I am anxiously awaiting.