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Exhibitions

left: La Sirène dress by Charles James right: Lobster dress by Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dalí.
Exhibitionism: 50 Years of The Museum at FIT
Special Exhibitions Gallery
February 8, 2019 – April 20, 2019 

Founded in 1969 by the Fashion Institute of Technology, The Museum at FIT is a specialized fashion museum famous for its innovative and award-winning exhibitions. The museum has been the site of more than 200 exhibitions since the 1970s, and Exhibitionism commemorates approximately 33 of the most influential of these, including Fashion and Surrealism (1987), a groundbreaking show that explored the relationship between art and fashion; The Corset (2000), a beautiful and brilliant exploration of the most controversial garment in fashion history; and Fairy Tale Fashion (2016), a magical look at the such enchanted and emblematic items as the glass slipper and the red riding hood. Exhibitionism also includes highlights from more recent, award-winning exhibitions, such as A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk (2013) and Black Fashion Designers (2017). Each exhibition is highlighted using garments, photos of its original installation, and text that explains its importance, providing an engaging, “behind the scenes” look at the process of exhibition making.

Read more about Exhibitionism: 50 Years of The Museum at FIT.

Image: Installation view of Fashion & Surrealism (1987) featuring La Sirène dress by Charles James and "Lobster" dress by Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dalí.

1857 full length pink dress with tiers of fringe-trimmed taffeta, corset bodice and belled sleeves
Fabric In Fashion
Fashion & Textile History Gallery
December 4, 2018 – May 11, 2019 

Fabric In Fashion explores the role played by textiles in forming the silhouette in Western fashion over the last 250 years. The examination of textiles is often separated from that of the fashionable silhouette, yet historically, textiles were as important as the cut of clothing in keeping up with current fashion. This exhibition delves into the mechanics of textiles, looking at how fibers and weaves build the materiality of fashion. It will also explore the cultural influence of fabric. The Western world’s demand for fashionable textiles of silk, cotton, wool, and synthetics has had enormous repercussions across the globe.

Fabric In Fashion highlights both clothing and flat textiles from the museum’s permanent collection, examining how the physical properties of specific fabrics determine the way a piece of clothing interacts with the body, as well as how the design and cultural associations of textiles reveal the social motivations that drive fashion forward. The exhibition is organized by Elizabeth Way, assistant curator of costume.

Read more about Fabric In Fashion.

Image: Traina-Norell, “Indian sari” silk brocade dress, circa 1955, gift of Mildred Morton.
 

Grenelle-Estevez, evening set, circa 1957, Gift of Sylvia Levine.
The Traphagen School: Fostering American Fashion
Gallery FIT
March 5, 2019 – March 30, 2019 

The Traphagen School: Fostering American Fashion explores the legacy of one of the first institutions dedicated to educating fashion industry professionals in New York City. The impact of the school, in operation from 1923-1991, is explored through an introduction to founder Ethel Traphagen, the main philosophies of the school, and its lasting influence. Highlights include ensembles by Geoffrey Beene and Anne Klein, evening wear by Luis Estevez and James Galanos, and illustrations by Antonio Lopez.

This exhibition, the first dedicated to the school, focuses on the Traphagen methods of design-by-adaptation and experimentation, both of which are still used in design education and the fashion industry today. The Traphagen School also includes never-before seen garments from the school’s study collection, as well as photographs, publications, and advertisements that chronicle the creative environment that Ethel Traphagen created for her students.

Read more about The Traphagen School.

Image: Grenelle-Estevez, evening set, circa 1957, Gift of Sylvia Levine.
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