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Guide to the Robert Carreon student work, 1966-1969

Collection Overview


Kellen Design Archives

Collection Identifier



Carreon, Robert


Parsons School of Design. Fashion Design Department.


Robert Carreon student work, 1966-1969


3 linear ft: 3 boxes, 5 folders

Language of Materials note

All textual materials are in English.

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Robert Carreon student work, KA.0133.01, box __, folder __, New School Archives, The New School, New York, New York.

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Biographical Note

Robert Carreon was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a child, he appeared on television and in regional theater productions. Carreon attended Philadelphia's Bishop Neumann High School, where he founded and edited the Neumann Gazette, a publication dedicated to the topic of theater. In 1966, Carreon applied to and was accepted by Parsons School of Design's Fashion Design Department. At Parsons, Carreon studied with figures such as longtime department chair Ann Keagy, Frank Rizzo (who would succeed Keagy as department chair), Suzanne Moray, and art history professor Paul Brach. Visiting critics, such as designer and Parsons alumnus Chester Weinberg, were also mentors. Carreon's classmates included Willi Smith, Kay Unger, Constance Saunders, and Sanford "Sandy" Slepak.

At that time, Parsons offered three-year programs and, in Carreon's second year, his design for a bikini and matching poncho won the June Francis Award. This resulted in Carreon's ensemble opening the 1967 annual school fashion show. With Carreon's approval, Keagy asked Carreon's classmate and friend Willi Smith, whose talent as a sketcher was evocative of the preferred Parsons' "style" at the time, to illustrate the design. This illustration can be found in the records of the Fashion Design Department. Haircare firm Clairol purchased the bikini and poncho for a traveling "fashion caravan" highlighting youth style.

Carreon's inspirations in the mid-1960s included the play Cabaret , which opened on Broadway during his first year at Parsons, and fashions of the 1930s generally. Short, permed hair in some of his drawings show this influence. Additionally, Carreon cites Rudi Gernreich and Pierre Cardin, specifically Cardin's 1964 Cosmos collection, as influential. He owned a Cardin Cosmos jacket, which he wore to class. Gernreich's influence can be seen in the helmets and head coverings as well as outfits resembling Gernreich's revolutionary swimwear in Carreon's student work.

Carreon left Parsons during his third year, and he found employment on Seventh Avenue at Mam'selle, working with designer Betty Carol, with whom he continued his design education. Mam'selle offered apparel to a market then known as "juniors," catering to older teens and young women. He later moved to Gucci America, where for ten years he was responsible for the firm's Fifth Avenue operations, as well as personal properties. Working with designers Julio Savio, GG Gasparini, and Ernest Castro, he supervised all elements of store and office design, budgeting and construction, as well as security, interior design, visual merchandising, furnishings and accoutrement. He was responsible for coordinating technical and creative support for fashion shows, benefits, and galas, and hosted dinners and receptions for VIP clients, family and friends.

Carreon later worked as a writer, stylist, merchandiser, and editor for Time-Warner, before returning to theater in 2001. Prior to his departure from Time-Warner, he established OUT@TimeInc, which received the 2003 Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Fairness Award. Carreon founded Carreon Productions and has produced or been involved with a number of award-winning and critically acclaimed theatrical productions, including Soon of a Morning (2005),  Remember Me (2005 and 2006),  The Great Divorce (Magis Theater Company, 2007),  Two One-Sided Conversations (2009, Lion Theatre),  When Last We Flew (2010), and  Outside on the Street (Invertigo Threatre Company, 2013). According to Carreon, who is a member of the Broadway League, Carreon Productions was founded on a principle of "art as a form of communication," a concept he learned at Parsons from Paul Brach.

Biographical details supplied by Robert Carreon.


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Scope and Contents note

Robert Carreon produced the drawings in this collection as part of his coursework at Parsons School of Design from 1966 until 1968, with the exception of eight drawings from his admissions portfolio and a drawing of a dress and cape that Carreon created for his sister's winter wedding while he was enrolled at Parsons.

According to Carreon, student assignments followed a structured workflow: fashion design students maintained a sketchbook (not included in the collection), which they periodically reviewed with the head of the Fashion Design Department, Ann Keagy. She would select ideas from the sketchbook for students to further develop into more formal drawings, which she would also critique. These drawings form the bulk of this collection. Some of Carreon's drawings bear her annotations. Designs that passed this second critique would become renderings that designer critics reviewed with the students. Students were encouraged to experiment with different techniques, a practice evident in Carreon's drawings. He struggled with rendering the human face, and adopted a method of drawing the human figure to compensate for this.

Drawings in the collection are typically executed in pencil and gouache, although there are some examples of drawings rendered only in ink to emphasize construction. Carreon annotated the drawings to indicate fabrics used and the collection or assignment. In many cases, manufacturers provided the fabrics and professors issued prompts based on the availability of a type of fabric or fur.

Carreon signed his work "Rob" until his third year, in which he switched to "Robert." This was used to roughly date his work when no date is inscribed on a drawing. Additionally, he dropped the hemlines of the dresses and skirts he designed during his third year in a class with critic Chester Weinberg, and this development was also used to establish rough dates for the drawings.

In addition to original drawings, the collection contains publicity materials featuring Carreon's work while he was a student.


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Organization and Arrangement

Arranged in 2 series:

  1. Drawings, 1966-1968
  2. Publicity, 1967-1969

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives - October 20, 2016

66 5th Ave./
lobby level
New York, NY, 10011

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Robert Carreon student work, KA.0133.01, box __, folder __, New School Archives, The New School, New York, New York.

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research use. Please contact archivist@newschool.edu for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives. Please contact: archivist@newschool.edu.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Robert Carreon, 2014.

Processing Information note

Donor assisted with identification of dates for undated drawings in the collection.

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Related Materials

Additional student work by Robert Carreon and printed materials produced for the 1967 school fashion show will be found in the Parsons School of Design Fashion Design Department records (PC.02.02.01).

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects


  • Drawings.


  • Fashion designers.


  • Fashion design -- Study and teaching -- New York (State) -- New York -- 20th century.

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Collection Inventory

Drawings 1966-1968 

Drawings are arranged chronologically by Carreon's year at Parsons. His first year is represented by pencil sketches and studies executed in a class with longtime Parsons School of Design professor Margery Knight, who taught figure drawing, fashion illustration and fashion research. The majority of the collection documents his second year, in which many of the drawings are labeled by project.

Box Folder
Admissions portfolio, circa 1966 
1 1
First year, 1966 
1 2
Second year, 1967 
1 3-4
Active sports, 1967 
1 5
Beachwear, 1967 
1 6
Children's, 1967 
1 7-8
Competition designs, 1967 
1 9
Cottons, 1967 
1 10
Countrywear, 1967 
1 11
Fun clothes and summer travel, 1967 
1 12
Linen, 1967 
2 1-2
Linen dresses, 1967 
2 3
Separates, 1967 
2 4
Swimwear, 1967 
2 5
Sportswear ensembles, 1967 

Consists primarily of bathing suits and cover-ups. According to Carreon, some of these designs prefigure the "Linen Triangle" ensemble selected for inclusion in the 1967 fashion show.

2 6-7
Second or third year, 1967-1968 
Fabric assignment, 1967 or 1968 

Drawings appear to be based around accompanying fabric swatches.

2 8
Ink drawing, 1967 or 1968 
2 9
Olympics, 1967 or 1968 

A class assignment was a contest to design costumes for the 1968 Olympics opening ceremonies in Mexico City. Includes drawings of a scarf, shoes, hand bag, and an ensemble in red, white, and blue.

2 10
Wedding dress, 1967 or 1968 
2 11
Third year, 1968-1969 
2 12-13
3 1-10
Evening wear croquis, 1968 
3 11-13

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Publicity 1967-1969 

Box Folder
After Dark magazine, 1969 Mar 

Features menswear designed by Carreon and photographed by Kenn Duncan.

k_12 10
Clippings from New York Post and  Philadelphia Inquirer, 1967 
k_12 11
HairDo magazine, 1967 
k_12 12
Madamoiselle magazine, 1967 Sep 
k_12 13
Photographic portraits [contact sheets] by Kenn Duncan, 1967 May 20 
k_12 14

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Collection Guide Last Updated: 02/28/2017

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