From January 8-18, I had the opportunity to join a group of 30 LIM College students, alumni, faculty, staff -- and a member of our Board of Directors --for the College’s annual Cross-Cultural Analysis trip. We traveled to the beautiful cities of Amsterdam and Paris, where we explored world-famous fashion and cultural sites.
Upon our arrival in Amsterdam we took a scenic bus ride (yes, there were windmills) into the City and were immediately surrounded by Old World charm. There was also an air of familiarity. LIM College’s home of Manhattan was settled by the Dutch, so many place names in New York (such as Harlem) are derived from their language.
Our first field trip was to Coster Diamonds. After a presentation, we were taken to a secure room where we could try on many unbelievable items. I don’t think anything was actually purchased, but everyone had fun.
We also visited Tassenmuseum (Museum of Bags and Purses), home to the world’s premier handbag collection. No sooner had we examined the items on display than we were off for a field trip to PVH/Tommy Hilfiger, a company to which we hope to soon send LIM College interns.
Our final day in Amsterdam began with a very sobering visit to the Anne Frank House. This was followed by a stop at the Rijksmuseum to see, among other treasurers, “The Night Watch,” one of Rembrandt’s masterpieces.
Next stop…Paris. After a quick morning flight, we spent an afternoon touring the “City of Lights” - with the requisite photo op near the Eiffel Tower - and visited Yves St. Laurent’s foundation, The Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent. It was so inspiring to sit in the legendary designer’s studio. We also learned that Pierre, Saint Laurent’s partner, still comes to work at the foundation every day.
Other stops in Paris included a tour of the magnificent department store Galeries Lafayette and a walk/climb through the artists’ district of Montmartre to find Picasso’s first studio. We were privy to a special presentation at the internationally acclaimed vintage store Didier Ludot and toured vintage and designer shops in the area of Palais Royal. An afternoon was spent at Nelly Rodi, a fashion forecasting agency. A morning was spent at Versailles and that afternoon found us mixing scents at the Osmotheque, an international research institution that traces the history of perfumery. It’s also the site of the world’s largest scent archive.
On our final day we were treated to a backstage tour of the famous French cabaret The Lido -- and before we knew it, it was time for our farewell dinner.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a fantastic trip. The sights and sounds of Amsterdam and Paris were truly something to behold, but what was most rewarding for me personally was being able to share it all with so many members of the LIM College community. Special thanks to Professors Grailing King and Nancy Miller for all the work they put into planning this experience. And, of course, I was once again impressed by the enthusiasm, energy and professionalism of our students. They were wonderful ambassadors for LIM College in Europe and the great memories we created on this journey will stay with me for years to come.