Marengo native, Parsons grad wins design award for hand-sequined gown

As a young boy, Anthony Galante knew when his mother had an occasion. He watched in fascination as his mother transitioned her look from day to night.

“I would watch my mom get ready for functions,” Galante said. “I was fascinated by her putting on makeup, picking out clothes and getting glammed up.”

Down the line, this fascination turned to inspiration. In May, Galante, 31, graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York City and the same day won Parsons’ first Norman Norell couture design award.

Galante took a spring course sponsored by a partnership between Parsons, the Norell brand and Neiman Marcus focused on designer Norman Norell.

Norell was the first American designer to use couture techniques in his design as well as the first to have a fragrance, Norell, as part of his brand. Norell was known for his elegant gowns and tailored silhouettes, and was known for dressing many Hollywood starlets, such as Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland.

Students of the class were tasked to design a collection for the next generation of Norell, their final challenge to create one look. Galante’s navy, hand-sequined, silk georgette gown took home the top prize of a $5,000 grant from Norell and a two-page spread featuring the gown for purchase in the 2017 Neiman Marcus Christmas Book.

“The show-stopping part of the gown is the sequins I applied by hand. It took about 150 hours,” Galante said.

Before picking up a needle and thread, the former Marengo resident and Marian Central Catholic High School graduate started out forging a path down the corporate line versus the runway.

In 2011, Galante moved to New York, political science degree in hand from DePaul University of Chicago. After a stint in the corporate world, Galante felt he was missing something.

“I had started a career track in fundraising and strategic development but never felt I could express myself creatively,” Galante said. “I decided to take a sewing class at Mood. I got so hooked that I started to explore the fashion industry and went back to school.”

Inspired by designers Michael Kors and Tom Ford, Galante soon found his style, which he refers to as elevated day and evening wear.

“By elevated I mean there’s something special about it,” Galante said. “So it’s not just a blouse. It is made of fine silk and has a classic silhouette. My most recent design has a lot of hand sequin work, which takes a lot of time. It makes the pieces special and one-of-a-kind and couture, because they are done by hand.”

Galante said he considers himself a women’s wear designer and wants women to feel beautiful.

“I’m inspired by someone putting on a dress and feeling so strong and confident in the power that clothing has for them,” Galante said. “We make decisions about what we wear, and it says something about who we are. I want to make women feel confident, strong and sexy at times. For me, fashion is just the epitome of self-expression. I want them to feel beautiful.”

Currently living in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn with his husband, Alex Foard, Galante is busy overseeing the production of his gown and looking for design positions. He hopes his winning gown, to be sold at a $2,500 price point, will conjure new opportunities for him to work under his Anthony Thomas Galante brand.

“I hope that this partnership with Neiman Marcus and Norell is the start of it all for me,” Galante said. “My dream is to see someone wearing my garments outside of a photoshoot, to see someone wearing my clothes in person, to know someone likes it enough to buy it and feel beautiful in it. That would be really special.”

For information on the Anthony Thomas Galante brand, visit

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