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Fashion, A-Z: Highlights from the Collection of The Museum at FIT - Part Two

Cheri Fein, executive director of Public and Media Relations
212.217.4700 or press@fitnyc.edu
On View at The Museum at FIT
May 23 - November 10, 2012

The Museum at FIT continues its exploration of modern and contemporary design with Fashion, A-Z: Highlights from the Collection of The Museum at FIT-Part Two, the second of two consecutive exhibitions that showcase selections from the museum’s permanent collection of more than 50,000 garments and accessories. As with Part I, which was on view from November 29, 2011, through May 8, 2012, this exhibition is organized alphabetically by designer, offering visitors a compelling way to view fashions by many of the leading creators of the 20th and 21st centuries. Fashion, A-Z: Highlights from the Collection of The Museum at FIT-Part Two will open at The Museum at FIT on May 23 and will be on view through November 10.

Innovations that helped transform the look of early to mid-20th century fashion will be demonstrated by Madeleine Vionnet’s bias-cut, 1936 evening dress, which exemplifies her artistic, yet mathematically precise construction techniques. Equally beautiful is Charles James’ Tree dress (1955), which is characterized by his typically intricate construction. Existing examples of James’ work are rare because he made fewer than 1,000 garments in a fifty-year career. The Museum at FIT houses more than 40 of these creations.

Madeleine Vionnet, evening dress,
silk taffeta, 1936, France, gift of
Carole K. Newman.
Charles James, Tree evening dress,
silk taffeta, 1955, USA, gift of
Robert Wells In Memory of Lisa Kirk.

Calvin Klein, whose first success was with coats and suits, will be represented by a navy wool trench coat and trousers circa 1970. Featuring a streamlined silhouette and flawless construction, Klein’s chic and timeless ensemble will be exhibited alongside a fall 2008 evening coat and skirt by the label’s current creative director, Francisco Costa. Costa’s tailored coat is embellished with hundreds of black Swarovski crystals, taking it in a glamorous new direction.

Calvin Klein, ensemble, wool
melton, circa 1970, USA, gift of
Rose Simon.
Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein,
evening ensemble, wool, cashmere,
silk, Swarovski crystals, fall 2008,
USA, gift of Calvin Klein, Inc.

A number of important new acquisitions to The Museum at FIT’s permanent collection will also be on display. These include an exquisite, artfully embellished purple velvet gown from Ralph Lauren’s fall 2008 collection. A photo-printed 2011 dress from Akris – a family-owned, Swiss label that has been in business for 90 years – fuses a modern aesthetic with meticulous craftsmanship. Another highlight of the exhibition will be a digitally printed dress from Alexander McQueen’s spring 2010 Plato’s Atlantis collection – the last collection presented by the designer. This is the first time that any of these dresses will be shown at The Museum at FIT.

Ralph Lauren, evening dress, velvet, fall 2008, USA, gift of Ralph Lauren Corporation. Akris, sheath dress, dress, photo-printed wool mousselline, fall 2011, Switzerland, gift of Akris. Alexander McQueen, dress, digitally-printed silk chiffon, spring 2010, England, museum purchase.

A companion book to both exhibitions will be published by TASCHEN in fall 2012. The book will feature color photographs of 500 of the museum’s pieces as well as an extensive essay on the history of fashion museums and exhibitions written by Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at FIT.

A Fashion Museum

The Museum at FIT is the only museum in New York City dedicated solely to the art of fashion. Best known for its innovative and award-winning exhibitions, which The New York Times has described as “ravishing,” the museum has a collection of more than 50,000 garments and accessories dating from the 18th century to the present. Like other fashion museums, such as the Musée de la Mode, the Mode Museum, and the Museo de la Moda, The Museum at FIT collects, conserves, documents, exhibits, and interprets fashion. The museum’s mission is to advance knowledge of fashion through exhibitions, publications, and public programs. Visit www.fitnyc.edu/museum.

The museum is part of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a State University of New York (SUNY) college of art, design, business, and technology that has been at the crossroads of commerce and creativity for nearly 70 years. With programs that blend hands-on practice, a strong grounding in theory, and a broad-based liberal arts foundation, FIT offers career education in more than 45 areas, and grants associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. FIT provides students with a complete college experience at an affordable cost, a vibrant campus life in New York City, and industry-relevant preparation for rewarding careers.

The Couture Council is a membership group of fashion enthusiasts that helps support the exhibitions and programs of The Museum at FIT. The Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion is given to a selected designer at a benefit luncheon held every September. For information on the Couture Council, call 212 217.4532 or email couturecouncil@fitnyc.edu.  

Museum Hours

Tuesday-Friday – noon-8 pm
Saturday –10 am-5 pm
Closed Sunday, Monday, and legal holidays

Admission is free and open to the public.

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