Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fashion, A-Z at The Museum at FIT

The Museum at FIT is one of my favourite fashion museums. With over 50,000 garments and accessories in their collection, Director and Chief Curator Valerie Steele and her talented staff have one of the largest collections in the world to draw on and they use this archive to come up with something fresh and innovative on a regular basis. 

Fashion, A-Z, Part II could have been a yawn, but it was not. Featuring highlights from their enormous collection, the full spectrum of design approaches and talents is presented in the upstairs history gallery.

Several of my favourite sculptural garments from their collection were on display, including: The Charles James Tree dress from 1955 in dusty rose that stands as the penultimate body sculpture (pictured above); The Martin Margiela sleeveless jacket from sprint 1997 that evokes a mannequin; and, a Madame Gres abstracted triangular black silk faille evening dress from 1967 that asserts angularity and a mod-1960s vibe. 

Two designers that were previously unknown to me that I discovered in this exhibition included: a halter top and leggings from NOIR Spring 2009 by Peter Ingwersen which showed that sustainable design, fair trade practices, organic cotton can be turned into high fashion; and an ensemble constructed from five cardigan sweaters and pantyhose by XULY.Bet for FAll 1994. Sustainable practices can be exciting and fresh. 

What defies understanding is how this exciting museum of fashion can offer free admission to the public. It is always worth the trip to Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, and there will soon be a beautiful Taschen reference book featuring highlights of the FIT Museum

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