Speaker Biographies

Paul Boudens is a graphic designer whose brand has been synonymous with Antwerp fashion for nearly three decades. From his early days as a freelance print designer for Walter Van Beirendonck in 1989, Boudens has gone on to create graphic universes for Yohji Yamamoto, Dries Van Noten, Jurgi Persoons, Haider Ackermann, Olivier Theyskens, and many more. A member of Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI), Boudens is also co-founder and first art director of A Magazine (curated by). The monograph Paul Boudens Works Volume I (Ludion, 2003) documents his legacy. A second installment, Paul Boudens Close-up & Personal, is scheduled for 2023. 

Colleen Hill is curator of costume and accessories at The Museum at FIT. She holds an MA in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice from FIT and is currently a PhD candidate at London College of Fashion. Since joining MFIT in 2006, Hill has curated or cocurated more than a dozen exhibitions. Her most recent exhibitions include Reinvention and Restlessness: Fashion in the Nineties (2022) and Ravishing: The Rose in Fashion (2021). She has authored or coauthored eight books on fashion and contributed to numerous other publications.

XULY.Bët which means "keep your eyes open" in Wolof, is a Parisian fashion house founded in 1991 by Lamine Badian Kouyaté, who moved from his native Bamako, Mali to Paris around 1982. While studying architecture in Strasbourg, Kouyaté fell in love with the Parisian fashion scene and moved to Paris to begin working as a clothing designer. He soon launched a subversive type of fashion, sustainable but also modern and offering women a new liberty. With an African inheritance, XULY.Bët is best known for its use of recycled clothing to create high fashion, reshaping found garments by cutting, stitching and making modifications that range from the subtle shaping to the complete transformation of the clothing function.  XULY.Bët clothing and the designer himself have been featured in prominent publications, including French Glamour, The New York Times, Le Figaro, and Essence. His clothing also played a prominent role in Robert Altman's film Ready To Wear (1994).

Patricia Mears is deputy director of The Museum at FIT. She has curated more than a dozen exhibitions and written the accompanying books, including Ballerina: Fashion's Modern Muse (2020), Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme (2017), American Beauty: Aesthetics and Innovation in Fashion (2009-2010), and Madame Gres: Sphinx of Fashion (2007). Mears has also lectured widely on the history of fashion in the United States and abroad. 

Dr. Marco Pecorari is assistant professor and director of the MA in Fashion Studies at The New School Parsons Paris, where he teaches fashion theory and politics of curation. His latest monograph is titled Fashion Remains: Rethinking Ephemera in The Archive (Bloomsbury, 2021) and he's the co-editor of the forthcoming volume Fashion, Performance and Performativity (Bloomsbury, 2021). He is the co-founder of the Printing Fashion festival and sits on the editorial boards of Fashion Theory, ZoneModa Journal, and Bloomsbury Fashion Central. He is also a member of the Scientific Board of the European Fashion Heritage Association (EFHA).

Alexandre Samson is a fashion historian, curator, and head of the Haute Couture (from 1947) and Contemporary Design department at the Palais Galliera, Paris Fashion Museum. A graduate in Museum Studies and History of Fashion from the École du Louvre, he was the joint curator of the exhibition Fashion Mix, Mode d’ici créateur d’ailleurs at the Palais de la Porte Dorée (2014-2015 ). In 2018, he presented the exhibition Margiela/Galliera 1989-2009 and published his first book in collaboration with Martin Margiela. This was followed by the traveling exhibition Back Side, Fashion from Behind, presented in Brussels and then Paris in 2019. Since 2018, he has collaborated with fashion publications such as Dapper Dan Magazine, Antidote and Les Echos.

Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator at The Museum at FIT, is a noted authority on fashion history who has personally organized more than twenty exhibitions since joining the museum in 1997. Among them are The Corset: Fashioning the Body (2000), London Fashion (2001), Gothic: Dark Glamour (2008), Shoe Obsession (2013), Daphne Guinness (2011), A Queer History of Fashion (2013), and Paris, Capital of Fashion (2019). Steele is author or coauthor of more than twenty books, and founder and editor-in-chief of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, the first peer-reviewed, scholarly journal in Fashion Studies. Valerie received her PhD from Yale University.