Alumnus William Calvert to Receive Spirit of Design Award at University’s Annual Fashion Show Thurs., April 30

William Calvert ’91, acclaimed fashion designer, will receive the 2009 Spirit of Design Award at the Philadelphia University Annual Fashion Show Thursday, April 30, at the Academy of Music at 7:30 p.m.  Preshow entertainment by the African dance and drum ensemble Kulu Mele will begin at 7 p.m.

Calvert has focused his career in the fashion industry on haute couture. In the years after he graduated from Philadelphia University’s fashion design program, Calvert continued to expand his knowledge and explore his creativity with study in Europe, working on the couture collections of Balenciaga, Pierre Balmain and Rochas.

He received the Rising Star Award from Fashion Group International and was selected for the first Moet & Chandon Designer Debut in the late 90s. In 2001, the William Calvert brand evolved into a couture house.

“We are thrilled to welcome William Calvert back to Philadelphia University and to honor him by presenting to him the 2009 Spirit of Design Award,” said Clara Henry, director of the Fashion Design Program. “As an alumnus of Philadelphia University, Calvert’s talent, acumen and success is a testament to the skill and leadership our graduates bring to the fashion industry. His brilliant work has made a substantial mark in the fashion industry.”

Geoffrey Beene said of Calvert in an issue of Time Magazine, “There has been a great period of mediocrity in fashion, and William is the shining light at the end of that tunnel.” Women’s Wear Daily called him “the new entrepreneur” and wrote that few looks can match the drama of his narrow column. Vogue wrote that “he brings a European sensibility with a collection of exquisitely beautiful dresses.” And the New York Times has hailed “his geometrically cut gowns and luxurious fabrics.”

Produced by the Fashion Industries Association (FIA), Philadelphia University’s Fashion Show is an annual gala that showcases the best of each year’s fabulous, colorful, creative and innovative student fashion designs. The show is the largest of its kind in the Philadelphia region.

This year’s theme, “Fashion Fantasy,” will take the show in a more playful direction with an uplifting, magical theme that celebrates the student fashion designers’ creativity and talent.

Nearly 2,500 students, family members, faculty, designers, and fashion and apparel industry professionals are expected to turn out for the event, proceeds of which will benefit the Fashion Scholarship Fund.

Bill Henley, meteorologist and co-host of The 10! Show on NBC10, will once again emcee the show.

The Annual Fashion Show is the culmination of years of study and hands-on practical work for Philadelphia University’s fashion design students. “Our fashion designers and FIA work extremely hard on this event, and it’s a wonderful evening of elegance, innovation and creativity,” Henry said.

Sponsors of the 2009 Fashion Show include Independence Blue Cross, Phillips-Van Heusen, Jones Apparel Group, Destination Maternity Corporation, TD Bank, Parkhurst Dining Services, Macy’s and McGinn Security.

FIA includes students in the fashion design, fashion merchandising and fashion apparel management programs. Senior Jessica Murphy is president of the organization.

The show’s set was designed by a team of architecture and industrial design students. The podium used for the show was designed by a collaborative group of industrial design, fashion design, and engineering and textile faculty and students.

For ticket information, go to or call the Public Relations Department at 215.951.2851.

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