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2009 April 30

Being Julia Blum

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(NEW YORK) For the 173 members of the Parsons Class of 2009, last night's Fashion Benefit represented the culmination of hundreds of hours of work. After the finalists presented their senior thesis collections to a starry room filled by the likes of Anna Wintour, Francisco Costa, Italo Zucchelli, Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan, the Designers of the Year were officially named. Anika Gupta and Azumi Nishizawa tied for the children's wear award, while Edward Lorenz Tan won the menswear category. Julia Blum and Robert Fitzsimmons tied to earn the women's wear honors. The Daily caught up with Blum the morning after the gala.

"I was totally shocked," she said of her win. "I remember when I was in high school and visiting Parsons, and during that time there was a lot of post-Proenza Schouler buzz. I remember [the admissions officers] talking about the end-of-year show and deciding then to work really hard and make it happen. I'm so honored."

Was Blum overwhelmed by the A-list crowd that considered her work? "I didn't even really realize who was going to be there until after the fact," she confessed. "I realized that everyone was there after reading your story in The Daily. I'm glad I didn't know, because I would've been really nervous. I'm so glad to be able to have the opportunity for them to see it and know that I exist."

Blum's lingerie-inspired work relies heavily on elaborate corseting tecnhiques--the kind perfected by her favorite design legends like Christian Dior and John Galliano. "The original New Look is one of my first and greatest inspirations," she said. "What Dior did for the female silhouette is absolutely amazing, and I am also fascinated by Galliano's ability to sculpt the body."

As for this rising star's post-graduation plans? Well, let's just say that Blum is available for hire. "I'd really love to work in the industry under someone else first," she said. "I'm not exactly sure where; I think over the next month or so I'm going to get a better idea. I will continue to do my own stuff on a small scale, but I want to get more experience in the industry--in lingerie, specifically. One thing I've learned is the more varied your experiences are, the more you can do."

This young designer's ambitions appear to be limitless. Unlike her peers, she eschewed extreme post-gala revelry in favor of some much-needed rest. "To be honest, I was up till 6 a.m. yesterday making my dress to wear to the party," she explained. "So I came home, dropped off my stuff, had about half a drink and fell asleep."

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