SIX DECADES OF DESIGN
Wallace Sloves, Apparel Design ’53, looks back—and forward

Sloves’s final project as an FIT student was made of multicolored stripes of Bianchini silk, lined in pink silk taffeta and with a black silk jersey top.

Sloves’s final project as an FIT student was made of multicolored stripes of Bianchini silk, lined in pink silk taffeta and with a black silk jersey top.

This fall begins the 54th year that Wallace Sloves has taught at FIT. He trained numerous current Fashion Design faculty when they studied at the college, including Professor Colette Wong, Assistant Professor Christopher Uvenio, and Adjunct Instructor Gerard Dellova, as well as Joanne Arbuckle, who recently retired as dean for the School of Art and Design to become deputy to the president for Industry Partnerships and Collaborative Programs. Sloves’s students continue to regard him as an expert, caring instructor, one of the best they’ve had.

A gown designed by Sloves for Joy Time, in satin edged with Alençon lace with a cathedral veil, graced the June/July 1963 cover of Modern Bride.

A gown designed by Sloves for Joy Time, in satin edged with Alençon lace with a cathedral veil, graced the June/July 1963 cover of Modern Bride.

“Professor Sloves conducted our class as he did his company design team,” Arbuckle says. “His expectations were high, but he would do anything to help you achieve your dream.”

Sloves is also an award- winning painter. He entered five juried art shows in 2014 and took home the top prize in four of them.

Sloves is also an award-winning painter. He entered five juried art shows in 2014 and took home the top prize in four of them.

He was a boldfaced name in the bridal industry for decades. After graduating, Sloves worked for the mass-market fashion line Suzy Perette, first as a sketcher, then in production and trims. He was drafted into the Army in 1956 and trained as a medic but ended up as an art director in Frankfurt, Germany, creating invitations for events hosted by generals and their wives. In the ’60s, back in New York, he designed award-winning wedding gowns for Joy Time and misses’ dresses for Stacy Ames, then launched a bridalwear firm with fellow FIT faculty member Charles Contreri, selling to Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Kleinfeld, and designing custom gowns as well.

Sloves, shortly after he grad uated in 1953; Sloves at FIT in 2016.

Above left: Sloves, shortly after he graduated in 1953. Above right: Sloves at FIT in 2016.

Sloves closed the business when Contreri died in 2006. His seven grandchildren are grown, and his bright red hair has faded, but he doesn’t plan on retiring from teaching. “I give back what I got from FIT,” he says. “It’s always been very rewarding to help.”