Young designer Lara Tabak had the opportunity of a lifetime during the recent New York Fashion Week.
The FIT student was declared the winner of the Infor/FIT Fashion Design Icons Award, a prestigious competition where students submit their designs to be featured on the red carpet at the Harper’s Bazaar Icons event.
Selected out of a slew of talented students, Tabak had the chance to work with couture bridal designer Paula Varsalona and create an evening dress for Hearst International’s fashion and entertainment director, Kristen Ingersoll. Ingersoll wore Tabak’s ensemble to the NYFW celebration on Sept. 9.
“To actually be able to go through the process of making something that extravagant was really fabulous,” Tabak said. “Knowing many people from the fashion industry were going to see it, it is what you live for.”
Tabak’s gown wasn’t an ordinary evening ensemble. Culling inspiration from the transformation of butterflies, she designed a dress that mimicked the stages of metamorphosis. The strapless gown was a black hue throughout with gold fabric on the bottom, attributing to the gold cocoon of the Tigerwing butterfly. Metallic piping was a unique feature of the dress, following the shape of a butterfly’s wing.
“I love the lines and how flattering they are,” Ingersoll said in a Harper’s Bazaar interview. “Fashion is about art and fantasy, and when you create something and bring it to life—like the art tonight—that is something special.”
Tabak’s design, along with two other finalists, was critiqued for creativity, originality, red-carpet aesthetic and incorporation of design technology. The judges, in addition to Ingersoll, included couturier John Anthony, Racked deputy managing editor Laura Gurfein and Infor chief creative officer Marc Scibelli.
With this incredible experience in tow, Tabak plans to build up her portfolio for graduation and a future design career. For other young designers, she emphasized the importance of establishing themselves for long-term success.
“Remember that every person you meet, you don’t know who they know or where they are from,” Tabak said.” You are not just branding your company, you are branding yourself.”