March 3 – April 4, 2015
Lauren Bacall: The Look is a celebration of the film and theater star’s unique style. Bacall’s own garments take the spotlight in this exhibition which also explores Bacall’s personal relationships with several of the fashion designers who dressed her.
Lauren Bacall’s effortless style combined elegance and simplicity. Students in the Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice MA program in FIT’s School of Graduate Studies have collaborated with The Museum at FIT to present approximately 12 items from a collection of 700 that Bacall donated to the museum in 22 gifts, between 1968 and 1986. The Look will include work by designers Marc Bohan, Pierre Cardin, Norman Norell, Yves Saint Laurent, and Emanuel Ungaro, focusing on pieces from the 1960s and 1970s. A selection of pieces in the Bacall collection can be viewed in the Museum's online collections.
Read more about the exhibition.Image: Normal Norell, evening dress and coat, cashmere, silk jersey, and sequins, circa 1958, USA, gift of Lauren Bacall, 68.143.6.
Global Fashion Capitals
June 2 – November 14, 2015
Paris, New York, Milan, and London have long been known as the fashion capitals of the world. However, the fashion industry is globalizing, and cities such as Seoul, São Paulo, Shanghai, and Mexico City are emerging as new fashion hubs. Global Fashion Capitals will explore the rise of fashion cities over the past 150 years. The exhibition will also examine the various forces that enable this growth, such as urban development, economic expansion, the establishment of fashion weeks, and the pervasiveness of the media. Global Fashion Capitals aims to broaden the understanding of what constitutes a “fashion capital” and to expand the dialogue on the globalization of the fashion industry during the 21st century.
Image: Ricardo Seco, Dreams, Spring/Summer 2015, Mexico City/New York. Photo courtesy of Laura Garza.
Susanne Bartsch: Fashion as Spectacle and Transformation
September 18, 2015 – January 2, 2016
Susanne Bartsch has been a highly visible player in New York City nightlife from the 1980s to the present. Her penchant for extreme fashion and make-up made her name the equivalent of a couture label for party people around the world. Born in Switzerland, she came to New York in 1981, via London and opened an influential boutique in Soho, featuring the work of young, cutting-edge English designers and milliners, such as John Galliano, Stephen Jones, and Leigh Bowery. In 1986, Bartsch organized her first party at Savage, a club underneath the Chelsea Hotel. Her parties at the Copacabana soon became known for their mix of uptown and downtown, gay and straight, high fashion, street style, and Mardi Gras extravaganza.
Susanne Bartsch: Fashion as Spectacle and Transformation will explore the creative links between her 30 years of sartorial self-expression and its influence on the global fashion scene. As Holly Brubach wrote in her 1991 New Yorker profile, "If there is a theme that runs through the various jobs Bartsch has held, it is perhaps a fascination with the way people present themselves – with clothes and the part they play in people’s imagination."
Image: Marco Ovando | Art: Maxwell N. Burnstein
Fairy Tale Fashion
February 1 – April 16, 2016
Cinderella is famously distinguished from her stepsisters by her delicate slippers (made of gold, glass, or fur, depending on the version and translation of the tale), but it is her lavish ball gown that first catches the prince’s eye. While “Cinderella” is probably the fairy tale most frequently associated with clothing, many others, including “Beauty and the Beast,” “Furrypelts,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “The Wizard of Oz,” use descriptions of dress to portray their characters’ transformation, vanity, power, or privilege. These descriptions of clothing also serve to enhance the sense of wonder and fantasy that is integral to the fairy tale genre.
Fairy Tale Fashion will use some of the most extraordinary, beautiful, and luxurious examples of fashion to illustrate more than twelve fairy tales, including well-known tales such as “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Little Red Riding Hood.” In addition to offering a brief history of the fairy tales and their significance, the show will highlight their direct references to fashion. There will be more than 80 looks in Fairy Tale Fashion , including a number of recent creations from labels such as Comme des Garçons, Dolce and Gabbana, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Rodarte, and Undercover.
Image: Comme des Garçons, Spring 2015. Photo courtesy of Comme des Garçons.
September 2016 – January 3, 2017
The Museum at FIT is collaborating with the Palais Galliera (Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris) on Proust’s Duchess, an exhibition focusing on the wardrobe of Élizabeth, Comtesse de Greffulhe, whose beauty and elegance was one of the main inspirations for Marcel Proust’s fictional character, the Duchesse de Guermantes from his novel À la recherché du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time).
Marie Anatole Louise Élisabeth de Riquet de Caraman-Chimay, known as Elisabeth, was born on July 11, 1860. She was the eldest daughter of one of the richest men in Belgium and, at the age of eighteen, the young princess married the handsome and wealthy vicomte Henry Greffulhe. She was, however, much closer to her cousin, Robert de Montesquioiu. An Aesthete of highly refined tastes, Montesquiou had a profound influence on Greffulhe’s style of dress.
The Comtesse and Robert collaborated on many artistic “crusades” ranging from Wagner to the Ballets Russes. They helped provide a pension to the impoverished poet, Verlaine, frequented séances together, and in 1904 they organized an exhibition of the work of the Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau. She once organized a fancy dress party for charity at Versailles, which may have been the source for the story of Marie Antoinette’s ghost.Image: Comtesse Greffulhe wears a white dress by Worth. Photograph by Nadar, September 5, 1887.