The Graduates: Parsons Senior Nikki Chasin’s Thesis Collection is An Homage To Her Grandmothers

Parsons senior Nikki Chasin found inspiration in her grannys' "church-going" and funky sense of chic.

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Catherine Blair Pfander
You're unlikely to meet a Parsons senior during the spring semester because the vast majority of graduating fashion students spend the months of January through April camped in front of a sewing machine, schlepping fabric through the garment district, meticulously embellishing their final pieces or wrangling their lookbook shoots.
Catherine Blair Pfander
With six weeks to go before wrapping her thesis collection -- an homage to her two grandmothers' respective tastes for "funky" and "church-y" fashion -- Miami-native Nicole Chasin is starting to feel the heat. "It's just stressful to know it's probably your only chance to do something that's so fully your own," says Chasin, who was working on a beading project when we met her at her sunny Chelsea apartment. "It's empowering, but it's also really scary." Her inspiration images include several "funky grandmas."
Catherine Blair Pfander
Chasin and her fellow students spent their fall semesters honing collection concepts, perfecting patterns and assembling muslin samples. Come spring, students go into full-blown production mode with a deadline of April 17th for final thesis review and, for a lucky few, the Parsons fashion show on May 1st. Here, a look at Chasin's complete collection sketches -- though she's quick to point out that "some of this has changed."
Catherine Blair Pfander
One doesn't often her about how much cash gets poured into fashion student collections. "This one boy," Chasin says, "had bought all these feathers for a thousand dollars, then he was dying them, then sending them to India where each feather gets applied to the piece of fabric individually." To control her costs, Chasin supplemented new fabrics with vintage finds from Stella Dallas, and opted to do her own bead work rather than have it sent out.
Catherine Blair Pfander
Chasin's careful, hand-made details -- like a soft peach stripe painted onto cream silk -- give the collection a luxurious, romantic feel. "I liked the look of a sporty stripe, but felt like it was too rigid for me. This gives it a softness," she explains.
Catherine Blair Pfander
The quriky combination of new and vintage materials spackled with glimmering beadwork perfectly represents Chasin's own sense of style. "One of the biggest compliments I've received is that the pieces look like things I would wear myself," she says. "That's really important to me." Likewise, Chasin is choosing to use a 5' 6" model rather than a sky-high girl from an agency for her thesis presentation.
Catherine Blair Pfander
One of our favorite details was the hand-stamped "kiss" print. "You know how your grandma always leaves you with the big lipstick kiss on the cheek?" Chasin said. We can't think of a more high-fashion homage to granny chic.
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