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Designer Nicole Miller bags 'Spirit of Design' Award
May '13
Celebrated fashion designer Nicole Miller was presented with the 2013 Spirit of Design Award at the Philadelphia University Fashion Show on Saturday, April 27, at Philadelphia's historic Academy of Music.

"I feel like I just got the Oscar," Miller said, holding the crystal award in the air after accepting it from Philadelphia University President Stephen Spinelli Jr. as part of the University's Evening of Innovation.  "I'm honored to receive it.  Innovation has always been the most important thing to me.  It's so much more important than design."

Miller was introduced to thunderous applause from the packed crowd of some 2,000 cheering students, family members, faculty, staff, fashion designers, fashion and apparel industry officials and others at PhilaU's annual Fashion Show, the largest in the Philadelphia area.

With a contemporary style that draws on a wide range of influences, Miller's designs are known for their innovative fabrics, such as her signature stretch metal, as well as her whimsical prints and attention to perfect proportions and fit.  A virtual who's who of Hollywood have worn Miller's designs, including celebrities Beyonce, Jennifer Aniston , Halle Berry , Angelina Jolie and Eva Longoria .

Nicole Miller apparel and accessories are sold in her namesake boutiques around the world and at high-end retailers Neiman Marcus , Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Bloomingdales. Her designs have been praised in the pages of Vogue, W, Elle, InStyle and numerous other publications, including The New York Times, which called Miller one of the leading female designers of her generation.

Over the years, Miller's success has expanded from apparel to wedding collections, home furnishings, fragrances, lingerie, swimwear, handbags and other lifestyle items. She was one of the first high-fashion designers to create collections for mass-market retail, collaborating with jcpenney and Bed, Bath & Beyond. She has presented her designs at New York Fashion Week every year since 1990.

After Miller received the Spirit of Design Award, the runway show, featuring the best of this year's colorful, creative and innovative student designs, got underway.  This year showcased 250 extraordinary designs including eveningwear, sportswear, bathing suits and men's and children's apparel. Many fashion design students collaborated with textile design students on one-of-a-kind knitwear and innovative fabrics.

One of the evening's top winners was senior Sarah Fitzgerald, whose stunning collection, called "borrowed baroque," in creams and browns with see-through panels, won four awards, including best senior collection and Chico's Award for Design Excellence. Her striking gown from the collection won best of show and the Frank Agostino Eveningwear Award for Design and Execution.

The Spirit of Design Award is presented annually to an influential designer who has made outstanding contributions to design and has served as an inspiration to fashion students and young designers.  Previous winners of the prestigious award include menswear designer and NBC Fashion Star mentor John Varvatos , Francisco Costa , Tommy Hilfiger , Geoffrey Beene and Mary McFadden .

Philadelphia University

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