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Special Events and Projects

"Where there's smoke there's fire" by American artist Russell Patterson (1893-1977), 1920s. Flickr, via the Library of Congress.
1920s Style: Prohibition-Era Fashion
September 15, 2015 | 7:00 pm
William G. McGowan Theatre
Washington, D.C.


Glamour, sparkle, dropped waistlines, cloche hats, flappers, and boaters...alcohol was prohibited, yet in 1920s America, the evolution of fashion advanced in daring strides. From the everyday to the flamboyant, fashion during the "Roaring 20s" broke the rules. The National Archives Foundation will present a discussion moderated by Tim Gunn, star of Project Runway, along with panelists Valerie Steele and John Dunn, fashion director for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. A fashion show exploring this exciting period in American fashion history will follow the discussion.

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Designers & Books Fair 2015
October 2, 3, 4, 2015
John E. Reeves Great Hall + Katie Murphy Amphitheater
Fashion Institute of Technology


On Oct. 2, 3, and 4, the Fashion Institute of Technology will host the Designers & Books Fair 2015. This year, there will be a prize drawing for Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch. The winner of the drawing will receive a free tour of the exhibition, conducted by Valerie Steele, curator of the exhibition. Up to 25 of the winner's friends can come on the tour, which must be arranged through the director's office at The Museum at FIT. The Museum at FIT will be showing Fashion Underground from September 18 – December 5, 2015.

For more information about the fair, visit the Designers & Books website.



Photo by Aaron Corbett.
Chanel and Her Rivals: Women and 20th-Century Fashion
October 15, 2015 | 5:30pm
Hillwood Estate, Museum, & Gardens
Washington, DC


Valerie Steele will discuss women and 20th-century fashion, focusing on the great fashion designer Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Steele will discuss Chanel in the context of her profession, and compare her work to other female fashion designers of the 1920s and 1930s, such as Elsa Schiaparelli and Madeleine Vionnet. This was the golden age of the couturière, when female designers dominated Paris fashion. Yet when Chanel came back into business in the 1950s, the world of fashion had changed, and she faced mostly male rivals, such as Christian Dior, Cristóbal Balenciaga, and Jacques Fath. What is the situation of female fashion designers today? Have they regained parity with men?

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Past Workshops


Cross-Pollination
Cross-Pollination: Masterpieces of the Collections
Online event


This workshop was organized by The Museum at FIT in conjunction with Mexico’s Atelier Romo and the Sala de Arte Publico Siqueiros (SAPS). Under the mentorship of artist Sebastian Romo and Tanya Melendez, MFIT’s curator of education, students from FIT and Atelier Romo interpreted MFIT’s costume collection and SAPS’ murals. Results are published via the link above.




Cross Pollination Eco Fashion
Cross-Pollination: Eco-Fashion
Online event


Students from FIT and the Mexican school CENTRO shared their skills, diverse perspectives and interpretations of the MFIT exhibition Eco-Fashion: Going Green.

In the summer of 2010, The Museum at FIT invited five students from each institution to investigate ecological sustainability in fashion and what that means to them. The two teams of students were then asked to work together to develop a joint project that would reflect their discoveries and conclusions...
This workshop was organized in collaboration with the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York and Centro de diseño, cine y television. It was made possible in part through funding by the FIT Student-Faculty Corporation.




cross polination
Cross-Pollination: Fashion & Politics
Online event


Students from FIT and the Mexican school CENTRO shared their diverse skills and perspectives in order to help each other arrive at interpretations of the MFIT exhibition Fashion & Politics. The results of this online collaboration are published here on MFIT’s website. Organized in collaboration with the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York.


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