March 7 – April 1, 2017
Adrian: Hollywood and Beyond explores Gilbert Adrian’s ready-to-wear and costume designs, with a focus on his innovative use of textiles. Organized by graduate students in the Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice program, this exhibition is the first to analyze Adrian’s work within the context of the contemporary fashion and textile design of the mid-twentieth century.
Adrian’s relationships with prominent figures within the textile industry, such as Wesley Simpson and Pola Stout, were integral to his artistic vision. In Adrian: Hollywood and Beyond, these collaborations and other professional associations are explored alongside a selection of garments and textile samples from the permanent collection of The Museum at FIT. Included is an eye-catching gown created from a Wesley Simpson textile and illustrated by artist Salvador Dali. This dress, alongside a selection of garments, textiles, advertisements, and film clips demonstrate how Adrian’s use of printed textiles and creative construction methods made him a master of modern design.
Read more about Adrian: Hollywood and Beyond.Image: Adrian, evening dress, 1947, USA, printed rayon textile by Wesley Simpson/Salvador Dalí.
Fashion & Textile History Gallery
December 6, 2016 – May 16, 2017
Black Fashion Designers examines the impact made by designers of African descent on the world of fashion. Drawing exclusively from The Museum at FIT’s permanent collection, the exhibition features approximately 75 fashion objects that illustrate the individual styles of more than 60 designers, placing them within a wider fashion context. Objects date from the 1950s to the present, including mid-century evening gowns by Anne Lowe and the jovial, yet controversial, work of Patrick Kelly from the 1980s. Contemporary pieces include Lagos-based designer Maki Oh’s spring 2013 dress, which reconceptualizes Nigerian traditions, and pieces from the latest runways of established designers, such as Tracy Reese, and emerging talents, such as Charles Harbison. The exhibition addresses the influence of black fashion models as well, by highlighting milestone events, such as “The Ebony Fashion Fair.” Black Fashion Designers is meant to enliven the conversation about historic and ongoing issues of diversity within the fashion industry. It honors the creative talents of designers who are often overlooked and provides a fresh, holistic view of the fashion industry, emphasizing the significant roles in culture and society played by black designers.
Read more about Black Fashion Designers.Image: Stephen Burrows, coatdress, wool, Fall 1970, USA, gift of Stephen Burrows.
Special Exhibitions Gallery
February 10 – April 15, 2017
Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968 examines the significant role that Paris played during one of the most fascinating and groundbreaking periods in fashion history. In 1957, twenty-one-year-old Yves Saint Laurent was made creative director of the esteemed couture house of Christian Dior. His first solo collection for Dior included his A-line “trapeze” dresses, ushering in an unmistakable shift toward more relaxed and ultimately more youthful designs—and with it, dramatic changes to the couture fashion industry.
By 1963, a group of young French ready-to-wear designers known as the stylistes had begun to make an impact on fashion both in their home country and abroad. Their of-the-minute fashions, which were favored by style arbiters such as Brigitte Bardot, presented an unexpected challenge to the more staid, costly, and labor-intensive creations of the couturiers. By 1968, some of the best-known couturiers—including Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, and André Courrèges—were presenting ready-to-wear lines in addition to their couture creations. Paris Refashioned examines the shift from the unassailable dominance of the haute couture to the newfound influence of ready-to-wear.
Read more about Paris Refashioned.Image: Couture Future (ready-to-wear label by André Courrèges), pantsuit wool blend, 1968, France, gift of Mrs. Phillip Schwartz.