Cross-Cultural Analysis 2016: Barcelona and Paris
posted by LIM College
The beginning of January can be a bleak time — especially in New York City. The excitement of the holiday season is over and a long, dark winter looms. For me, however, it is one of the most exciting times of the year, as I join LIM students, faculty, staff and alumni on our annual Cross-Cultural Analysis trip to two European cities.
This year, our group visited Barcelona and Paris, and it was, in a word — outstanding!
Our journey began in Barcelona with a visit to the Poble Espanyol, one of the city’s biggest attractions. An architectural museum made up of 117 full-scale buildings, the Poble Espanyol recreates traditional villages throughout Spain’s diverse regions, including streets, houses, parks, restaurants and artisan workshops. We enjoyed our first Spanish meal there, and tasted delicious olives, sangria, chocolate and olive oil. It was a wonderful way to kick off our trip (before we checked into our first hotel and succumbed to international travelers’ exhaustion.)
The next day we took two amazing fashion field trips. Our first stop was at the bridal company Rosa Clara. Now sold on five continents, Rosa Clara is headquartered in Barcelona and the head office for its North American subsidiary is in New Jersey. We were fortunate to meet with Mr. Lluis Soler, the company’s U.S. Manager.
Mr. Soler was incredibly passionate about his work, and noted that he never thought his career would take him to a luxury bridal house. I thought this was a particularly useful insight for our students. Because as they continue their education at LIM College, they will be exposed to so many facets of the fashion industry and may well find themselves passionate about pursuing a career in an area they may not have ever dreamed of.
We also visited the handbag company Lupo Barcelona and met with Carla Fernandez-Moreno, Director of Communications and Marketing. Founded in Barcelona in 1920, and inspired by the works of Gaudi, the brand is the epitome of timeless urban sophistication. In addition to learning about the company’s unique history, we were able to view various lines that are not available in the U.S. and shop a selection of samples.
The rest of our time in Barcelona was busy, and included a tapas tasting tour, a walking tour of the city’s stunning Gothic Quarter, and a visit to Park Guell, a public park system designed by Gaudi, where we saw more of his incredible architectural and mosaic tile work.
Barcelona was a delight. In addition to its obvious artistic charms, it’s a warm city, both in terms of actual temperature as well as the friendly, laid-back vibe of its people. Yet before we knew it, it was time to depart for Paris.
In Paris we were lucky enough to have the same tour guide and bus driver we had for this trip in 2014 — both of whom were friendly, knowledgeable, and funny. Our long list of activities included panoramic bus tour of the city, a walking tour of the Marais district and visits to local ateliers, and visits to Versailles and the Musee d’Orsay.
As the seat of European fashion, Paris provided opportunities for some amazing field trips. These included the House of Courrèges, which originated the futuristic Space-Age look in the 1960s. A morning was spent at Nelly Rodi, a fashion forecasting agency. A stop was made at the magnificent department store Galeries Lafayette, where International Sales Manager Edouard Bailliencourt gave a presentation. The group was also privy to a private presentation at the Fondation Pierre Berge – Yves Saint Laurent, who mission is to conserve 5,000 haute couture garments and 150,000 accessories, sketches and other objects.
While we all learned a great deal about the European fashion business on this trip, what made it extra-special to me were the strong bonds we forged. These 11 days gave me an opportunity to get to know our students and alumni on a deeper level, learning about their lives beyond the College’s walls.
We talked, we laughed, we shared. Each student touched my heart in their own unique way, and I am a better person for having had this experience. Our group departed from JFK airport on January 6 as little more than acquaintances, but landed back in the U.S. on January 16 as a close-knit unit.
I am especially grateful to Professors Grailing King and Nancy Miller for planning and coordinating this year’s Cross-Cultural Analysis trip — it went off without a hitch and would never have been possible without their hard work.
I begin the Spring 2016 semester energized and excited, and with the hope that, going forward, even more LIM students will take advantage of our diverse array of international programs.