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PC/NYC: Naomi Luppescu ’04

Dancer crafting costumes for dancers. “My main motivation was making costumes that I would want to dance in.”

Born and raised in Denmark, Naomi Luppescu ’04 (dance) always wanted to be a dancer, and studying at Purchase was her first choice. 

Dancing wasn’t her only interest, however. “I was always fascinated with theatre in general and I loved being backstage,” she says.

At Purchase, if she weren’t dancing in a show, she would seek out opportunities to work backstage. She first got a feel for costumes in the wardrobe department here at Purchase. 

Dance Costumes Made for Movement

As she danced professionally, she studied fashion design at SUNY’s Fashion Institute of Technology and discovered she had a real passion for costume design. 

In 2010, she opened NaLu Designs, specializing in costumes for dance. “As dancers, we’ve always had costumes that couldn’t really be danced in; they just weren’t made for movement,” she explains. “My main motivation was making costumes that I would want to dance in.”

The Purchase Network

In order to build her portfolio, she started out making costumes for friends for the cost of materials. Now she’s making costumes for well-known dance companies such as Alvin Ailey II, and credits fellow alumni with helping her business grow. “I’m so lucky because it’s really through the Purchase network that I’ve gotten all of these jobs,” she says. 

In 2015, she designed costumes for Elise Monte Dance. The choreographer was Tiffany Rea-Fischer ’03, the company’s assistant artistic director and director of operations. “We were at Purchase at the same time and now we collaborate and work together.”

The NYC Advantage

While amazing things happen in cities all over the world, New York City is arguably a premier place to be.

The value Purchase College derives from its proximity to the city can’t be overstated. Students learn, perform, find inspiration, and land professional opportunities there.

It’s also a phenomenal human resource pool from which to draw faculty who are working professionals in myriad disciplines. And as the ultimate place to network, it’s teeming with luminaries, prospective collaborators, and, of course, alumni.

According to multiple anecdotal reports, “Purchase people are everywhere,” in New York City.

(A version of this story first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2014 issue of PURCHASE magazine.)