Marengo native, Parsons grad wins design award for hand-sequined gown

As a young boy, Anthony Galante knew when his mother had an occasion. He watched in fascination as his mother transitioned her look from day to night.

“I would watch my mom get ready for functions,” Galante said. “I was fascinated by her putting on makeup, picking out clothes and getting glammed up.”

Down the line, this fascination turned to inspiration. In May, Galante, 31, graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York City and the same day won Parsons’ first Norman Norell couture design award.

Galante took a spring course sponsored by a partnership between Parsons, the Norell brand and Neiman Marcus focused on designer Norman Norell.

Norell was the first American designer to use couture techniques in his design as well as the first to have a fragrance, Norell, as part of his brand. Norell was known for his elegant gowns and tailored silhouettes, and was known for dressing many Hollywood starlets, such as Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland.

Students of the class were tasked to design a collection for the next generation of Norell, their final challenge to create one look. Galante’s navy, hand-sequined, silk georgette gown took home the top prize of a $5,000 grant from Norell and a two-page spread featuring the gown for purchase in the 2017 Neiman Marcus Christmas Book.

“The show-stopping part of the gown is the sequins I applied by hand. It took about 150 hours,” Galante said.

Before picking up a needle and thread, the former Marengo resident and Marian Central Catholic High School graduate started out forging a path down the corporate line versus the runway.

In 2011, Galante moved to New York, political science degree in hand from DePaul University of Chicago. After a stint in the corporate world, Galante felt he was missing something.

“I had started a career track in fundraising and strategic development but never felt I could express myself creatively,” Galante said. “I decided to take a sewing class at Mood. I got so hooked that I started to explore the fashion industry and went back to school.”

Inspired by designers Michael Kors and Tom Ford, Galante soon found his style, which he refers to as elevated day and evening wear.

“By elevated I mean there’s something special about it,” Galante said. “So it’s not just a blouse. It is made of fine silk and has a classic silhouette. My most recent design has a lot of hand sequin work, which takes a lot of time. It makes the pieces special and one-of-a-kind and couture,…

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