Join the Couture Council

The Couture Council is a membership group of fashion enthusiasts that helps support the exhibitions and programs of The Museum at FIT, a specialized museum of fashion. Your participation in this membership group makes it possible for the Museum to mount world-class exhibitions accompanied by publications and public programming, such as the annual Fashion Symposium. The Couture Council also supports the conservation and documentation of the Museum’s permanent collection, as well as facilitating the acquisition of historically and aesthetically important fashions and accessories. 

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The Couture Council is credited as a sponsor for all exhibitions and public programs at the Museum, and membership is tax deductible to the extent provided by law. The Couture Council Annual Membership is $1,000 per individual or couple, or $350 for Young Associates (under the age of 30). Please make checks payable to the Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries. Mail checks to The Museum at FIT, attention: Couture Council, Seventh Avenue at 27 Street, Director’s Office, Room E304, New York City 10001-5992.

Registration form – click here

Members of the Couture Council receive exclusive invitations to at least five events a year, including behind-the-scenes tours of the Museum’s collection, exhibition receptions, and visits to the ateliers of fashion designers in New York. In addition, Couture Council members are the first to receive invitations to the annual Couture Council awards ceremony and benefit luncheon.

2009 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion

On Wednesday, September 9, 2009 The Couture Council of The Museum at FIT will honor Dries van Noten with the 2009 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion at their fourth benefit luncheon at New York City’s Cipriani 42 Street. Once again, the FIT Couture Council’s glamorous annual luncheon is the first event of the New York’s Fall Fashion Week.

Previous recipients of the Couture Council Artistry of Fashion Award have been Isabel Toledo in 2008 (a prescient choice made before Mrs. Obama selected her for her Inaugural outfit), Alber Elbaz of Lanvin in 2007, and Ralph Rucci, the recipient of the first award in 2006. Recipients of the Award are chosen by the Couture Council Advisory Committee, an independent group consisting of curators, editors, and retailers. Members include Pamela Golbin, curator of the Musée de la Mode, Akiko Fukai, director and chief curator of the Kyoto Costume Institute, Glenda Bailey, editor-in-chief of Harpers Bazaar, Hamish Bowles, editor of Vogue, Ken Downing of Nieman Marcus, Linda Fargo of Bergdorf Goodman, Julie Gilhart of Barneys New York, and others. The group is chaired by Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at FIT.

“Dries van Noten creates clothes of extraordinary beauty and originality,” says Steele. “His sense of color, print and decoration are unequaled. Dries’ clothes are not for one season. Like works of art, they continue to speak to us across time and space. He has created a unique personal signature, but at the same time, he facilitates the wearer’s individual sense of style.”

Simon Doonan, the famously witty creative director for Barneys New York, will again emcee the event, which is hosted by the founding Couture Council Chairmen Yaz Hernandez, Liz Peek, and Sarah Wolfe. Charlotte Moss is the Founding Luncheon Chairman. Attending the award luncheon will be members of the Artistic Committee, including Glenda Bailey, Hamish Bowles, Nina Garcia, Daphne Guinness, Iman, Carson Kresley, Ralph Rucci, Andre Leon Talley, Isabel and Ruben Toledo and Diane von Furstenberg. The Luncheon Chairmen include Vanessa Fata, Kimberly Kassel, Nadine Kasuga, and Jacqueline Sackler. The Junior Chairmen include Tennessee Hamilton, Amanda Hearst, Alexis Tobin, and Whitney Wolfe (all committees in formation).

Tickets for the Couture Council luncheon honoring Dries Van Noten are priced as follows:
Couture Table, $15,000 – Premium seating for a table of ten
Fashionista Table, $10,000 – Superior seating for a table of ten
Runway Table, $5,000 – One table of ten
Couture Ticket, $1,500 – Premium seating
Fashionista Ticket, $1,000
Runway Ticket, $500 (limited number available)

For more information on the Couture Council or to reserve luncheon tickets call 212.217.4532 or e-mail

Your contribution will help enhance our exhibitions, conserve our treasures, fund acquisitions, and improve our facilities. In addition, you will receive the following special membership benefits:
  • Invitations to exclusive events and private viewings
  • Complementary admittance for two to all paid Museum educational programs
  • Acknowledgments in FIT’s annual report, in the exhibition galleries and brochures, and on the FIT website
  • Exclusive opportunities to meet other patrons of the fashion arts

Highlights from Previous Special Events

  • Invitation to the annual Couture Council Artistry of Fashion benefit luncheon. Ralph Rucci (2006), Alber Elbaz of Lanvin (2007), Isabel Toledo (2008), and Dries Van Noten (2009). Venues have included Brasserie 8 ½, The Rainbow Room, and Cipriani.
  • Complimentary admission to the annual Fashion Symposium, which includes an invitation to meet the speakers at a cocktail reception at the home of Valerie Steele, director and chief curator, The Museum at FIT.
  • Private tour of Seduction led by Colleen Hill, assistant curator of accessories, The Museum at FIT.
  • Private visits to the ateliers of fashion designers such as Angel Sanchez, Isabel Toledo and her husband, fashion illustrator Ruben Toledo, Ralph Rucci, and Zac Posen.
  • Private tour of Gothic: Dark Glamour led by Valerie Steele, director and chief curator, The Museum at FIT.
  • Invitation to the 2008 Fashion Walk of Fame Inductions at Bryant Park Grill.
  • Invitation to YEOHLEE by Yeohlee Tang Fall 2008 Trunk show and personal appearance by the designer at Takashimaya New York.
  • Invitation to the Couture Council’s first Global Leadership Award Luncheon honoring Giorgio Armani at Hearst Tower.
  • Invitation to Cocktails and Jewelry, at Kentshire, the world’s leading dealers in antique furniture and estate jewelry.
  • Invitation to an Evening of Classic French Cocktails and Couture at Rare Vintage, New York’s premiere destination for vintage fashion and accessories.
  • Private tour of Ralph Rucci: The Art of Weightlessness, led by Patricia Mears, deputy director, The Museum at FIT.
  • Luncheon with Susan Tabak, author of Chic in Paris, at Doubles.
  • Private visit to the Hearst Tower, home of America’s first magazine, Harper’s Bazaar.
  • Luncheon with Philippe Model, renowned Parisian couture milliner, at Doubles
  • Special invitation to attend an opening luncheon hosted by the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition Fabulous! Fashions of the 1940s
  • Pre-opening tour of Glamour: Fashion, Film, Fantasy
  • Tea and special tour of The Couture Accessory exhibition with guest curator Caroline Milbank.

Couture Council Members
This year we are particularly grateful to the Couture Council for its support for the many projects we have initiated and the new acquisitions that have come into our collections. The members listed below have made a significant contribution to our work during fiscal year 2008-2009.

Valerie Steele
Farha Ansari
Georgianna Appignani
Gale Arnold
Fabiola Beracasa
Melissa Lewis Bernstein
Eugenie Birch
Debra Black
Stephanie Seymour Brant
Shannon Brower
Robin Burns-McNeil
Aileen Dresner
Bonnie Dudley
Lauren Dudley
Carla Dunham
Patti B. Elliott
Bianca L. Elliott
Caren Forbes
Joele Frank
Michele Gerber Klein
Anne S. Goldrach
Mr. and Mrs. Carl Goldstein
Alexandra Golinkin
Joyce Goss
Mr. and Mrs. Martin Grass
Susan Green
Gretchen Grisanti
Audrey Gruss
Susan K. Gutfreund
Jane A. Gyulavary
Rosanne Hart
Jaquett W. Heck
Celia Hegyi
Yaz Hernandez
Joan Hornig
Amabel B. James
Raymond E. Kasser
Mariana Kaufman
Pat Kerr
Daniel Kinne
Lauren Korn
Shuchi Kothari
Judith Leiber
Bernadette Lejeune
Nicole Lenzen
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Lynch
Susan Lyne
Chris Madden
Sarah Mandato
Lisa Malitz
Jana Matheson
Marilyn B. Megargel
Karen Mehiel
Pamela T. Michaelcheck
Molly Middleton
Caroline Rennolds Milbank
Gillian Miniter
Bibhu Mohapatra
Charlotte Moss
Louise Nicholson
Beatrice Ost
Nancy Paduano
Liz Peek 

Carmen Busquets
Deborah Chatman
Suzi K. Cordish
Maria Grazia D’Annunzio
Christina Davis
Ria Davis
Adria de Haume
Doria de la Chapelle
Mr. and Mrs. David I. Dietz
Heidi Dillon
Ashley Dodgen-McCormick
Katherine Peek
Christa Percopo
Lisa Perry
Mr. and Mrs. John Pomerantz
Rosemary Ponzo
Zac Posen
Dan Pritchett
Alyson Reeves
Pamela Reynolds
Liz Robbins
Marjorie Rosen
Monica Susan Sadler
Arnold Scassi
Kassidy Choi Schagrin
Sandy Schreier
Mr. and Mrs. Barry Schwartz
B.Z. Schwartz
Emily Smith
Jose Solis
Elaine Sourlis
Joan S. Steinberg
Randall Ian Stempler
Zoe Judith Greer Stolbun
Elaine Stone
Mr. and Mrs. Haresh Tharani
Lizzie Tisch
Barbara Tober
Mr. and Mrs. Ruben Toledo
Jane Walton
Annik Wolf
Sarah Wolfe
Whitney Wolfe
Terry Wood-Lavine
Jennifer Wright
Beberly Yunich
Franny Heller Zorn