March 5 – March 30, 2019
The Traphagen School: Fostering American Fashion explored 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, will be 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, focused 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 included 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.
February 6 – February 16, 2019
X-RAYS of Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior, and Givenchy was the result of a collaboration between the students of FIT’s MFA Fashion Design
program and The Museum at FIT. The project was part of a course entitled “Fashion
Creation 3 - Design Archaeology,” which centered on the concept that in order to move
design forward, it is of utmost value to know where it has been.
The students were divided into four groups, and then each group was tasked with producing a replica of a couture garment from a leading fashion house: Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior, or Givenchy. The original garments, housed in The Museum at FIT collection, were carefully researched by the students. In addition to creating the line-for-line replicas, the students gained a deep understanding of the brand’s heritage. They then developed a contemporary, technology-driven collection.
The display of process-based design work highlighted each student’s personal development, resulting in a fully realized look and an advertorial that completed their vision and projected a new direction for each house.
November 19, 2018 – January 26, 2019
Expressions of Civility was the annual Fashion Institute of Technology faculty/staff exhibition. For the first time ever, the faculty/staff show included student work. The theme was chosen in order to support and expand upon President Dr. Joyce F. Brown’s campus-wide initiative on civility, which culminated in October with Civility Week. All of the work featured in this multimedia exhibit revolved around this meditation on civility: What does it mean to be civil in a world that is increasingly coarse and unkind? In an era during which personal attacks and inflammatory positions have superseded dialogue and debate, how do we seek to understand that which separates us? How do we build connections that increase empathy, inclusivity, knowledge, and community? Civility, and the ability to reconcile our differences for the greater good, are at the very root of a democratic society. Civility encourages forward movement, it moves us past our points of conflict, it fuels progress. Ultimately, it's the only thing that ever has.
Special Exhibitions Gallery
September 7, 2018 – January 5, 2019
Pink is popularly associated with little girls, ballerinas, Barbie dolls, and all things feminine. Yet the symbolism and significance of pink have varied greatly across time and space. The stereotype of pink-for-girls versus blue-for-boys may be ubiquitous today, but it only gained traction in the mid-twentieth century. In the eighteenth century, when Madame de Pompadour helped make pink fashionable at the French court, it was perfectly appropriate for a man to wear a pink suit, just as a woman might wear a pink dress. In cultures such as India, men never stopped wearing pink.
Yet anyone studying pink comes up against “the color’s inherent ambivalence.” One of “the most divisive of colors,” pink provokes strong feelings of both “attraction and repulsion.” “Please sisters, back away from the pink,” wrote one journalist, responding to the pink pussy hats worn at the Women’s March. Some people think pink is pretty, sweet, and romantic, while others associate it with childish frivolity or flamboyant vulgarity. In recent years, however, pink has increasingly has been interpreted as cool, androgynous, and political.
Curated by Dr. Valerie Steele, director of The Museum at FIT, Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color explored the changing significance of the color pink over the past three centuries.
Read more about Pink.
Fashion & Textile History Gallery
May 25 – November 17, 2018
Fashion Unraveled examined the concepts of imperfection and incompletion in fashion. Garments that were altered, unfinished, or deconstructed, in addition to clothing that shows signs of wear, highlighted the aberrant beauty in flawed objects. Unless such imperfections are intentional — as they are in the case of deconstructed fashion — these garments are often overlooked in museum collections. This exhibition included a selection of objects from the museum’s permanent collection, highlighting objects that are not only visually compelling, but that may also tell intriguing stories about their makers and/or wearers.
It is only in recent years that imperfect or inauthentic objects have been given greater consideration, as interest in their “biographies” has grown. Signs of repeated wear, shortened hemlines, and careful mends can be found even on haute couture garments, and they highlight the lasting economic and emotional worth of many clothes within museum collections. These findings — which are often unseen and unknown by museum visitors — challenge the concept of fashion as a strictly ephemeral, disposable commodity. Fashion Unraveled also revealed how the appearance of aged clothing, with its flaws and signs of decay, has been embraced by many designers as an aesthetic choice, furthering the reconstruction of notions about beauty and value in fashion.
Read more about Fashion Unraveled.
October 20 – November 10, 2018
The Italian Way presented paintings and sketchbooks created by students who were participants in FIT’s month-long study abroad program in Florence, Italy. The students – sophomores, juniors, and seniors – were from the Fine Arts, Illustration, Packaging Design, and Graphic Design departments within the School of Art and Design at FIT. The goal of the abroad program was to build a bridge between the art of the Italian Renaissance and these young, contemporary artists.
Students were taught to paint with egg tempera, the medium of choice for many Renaissance artists. Egg tempera was then used to create all of the paintings in this exhibition, though students were not required to produce a finished painting. Instead, it was important that they experience first-hand what the artists of the Renaissance did to create their masterpieces. Through the process, students gained a better understanding and enhanced appreciation of the work and the craftsmanship of artists during 15th-century Italy.
September 15 – October 6, 2018
The work of FIT students and faculty took center stage in the Gallery FIT exhibition Crafting Change. Organized by the Textile/Surface Design Department in conjunction with New York Textile Month, the works featured in Crafting Change used long-established techniques in a modern context to explore the shifting boundaries between art, design, and technology. Combining hand-crafting techniques with digital processes preserves tradition while pushing textiles into the future. Projects bridging science and textiles have the potential to revolutionize the fashion and textile industries, leading us to a more sustainable world. These works were promising examples of how FIT is successfully encouraging interdisciplinary mergers of craft, technology, and sustainability in order to usher textile arts into the 21st century.