After graduation from Washington College in 2008, Joanna Baker enrolled at Parsons The New School for Design (of Project Runway fame) earning a degree in 2010. In the fall of 2012, Baker was one of five Parsons alums individually selected by shoe-great Christian Louboutin and Bergdorgf Goodman’s Senior VP, Linda Fargo, to create a look for Louboutin’s huge 20th anniversary celebration in February.
Baker, who grew up dabbling in creative projects such as knitting, sketching and jewelry making, taught herself how to sew on a machine she received for her 19th birthday and honed her skills by altering dresses for girls in her dorm at Washington College. Her senior thesis was a three-dimensional installation combining drawing, found objects and fabrics. For the Louboutin competition, she sketched her dress design after Louboutin’s Alta Dentelle, a sheer, lace stiletto boot from the capsule collection.
Although Louboutin was fond of the sketch, Baker knew she had a lot of work ahead of her to make it come to life. Working full-time as an assistant designer for Macy’s in New York City, she had about three weekends to create the gown. “I spent every single moment of free time I had after work to make it happen. There were many late nights.”
All of her hard work paid off at the big Louboutin anniversary celebration. Not only was her finished dress modeled throughout the night, she had the opportunity to meet on of the world’s most famous shoe designers.
“Mr. Louboutin was a very popular man that evening. He was very gracious and reserved. He even signed the edge of the dress I designed, which I will keep forever. This whole adventure has given me a much-needed boost of confidence and has inspired me to keep trying to reach my goals despite the bumps I meet along the way.”