May 11 – May 19, 2016
The annual Art and Design Graduating Student Exhibition presents the work of more than 800 students receiving AAS and BFA degrees from the School of Art and Design. The exhibition features work in seventeen areas of study: Accessories Design, Advertising Design, Communication Design, Computer Animation and Interactive Media, Fabric Styling, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Jewelry Design, Menswear, Packaging Design, Photography, Textile/Surface Design, Toy Design, and Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design.
The projects on view throughout the main floors of the Marvin Feldman Center, the Fred P. Pomerantz Art and Design Center, the Shirley Goodman Resource Center, the Gladys Marcus Library, and the John E. Reeves Great Hall are the culmination of each student's unique experience in FIT's undergraduate Art & Design programs and feature juried selections, thesis work, and award-winning projects.Image: Art and Design Graduating Student Exhibition 2016 Poster. Courtesy of FIT School of Art and Design.
May 20 – November 19, 2016
Uniforms are the antithesis of high fashion. Where uniform design focuses on notions of functionality, control, and tradition, fashion promotes constant change, creativity, and subversion. Yet fashion has often drawn inspiration from uniforms of all kinds, taking functional features and transforming them into decorative elements.
Simultaneously designed to blend in and stand out, uniforms occupy a unique place in our society. We encounter uniforms everywhere, from those of soldiers and school children, to the distinctive attire of flight attendants and fast-food clerks. Likewise, the uniforms of athletes and police officers have become familiar, everyday sights. They are overt symbols of social order, but they are also considered so commonplace that they are often overlooked.
Uniformity will explore the dynamic history behind a variety of uniforms, considering both their social role and their influence on high fashion. The exhibition will be organized thematically to focus on four categories of uniforms: military, work, school, and sports. Uniformity will include over 70 objects from The Museum at FIT’s permanent collection, many of which have never been on view before.Image: (left) Football uniform, c. 1920, wool and cotton duck, USA, museum purchase; (right) Geoffrey Beene, “football jersey” dress, Fall 1967, silk and sequins, USA, museum purchase.
Special Exhibitions Gallery
September 23, 2016 – January 3, 2017
The Museum at FIT presents Proust's Muse, The Countess Greffulhe, featuring 40 extraordinary fashions and accessories from the fabulous wardrobe of Élisabeth de Caraman-Chimay, the Countess Greffulhe (1860-1952). A famous beauty celebrated for her "aristocratic and artistic elegance," the countess fascinated her contemporaries, including Marcel Proust who told her cousin, Robert de Montesquiou, "I have never seen a woman so beautiful." When Proust wrote his great novel In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu), the Countess Greffulhe was one of the primary inspirations for his immortal fictional character, Oriane, the Duchess de Guermantes, of whom he wrote, "Each of her dresses seemed like...the projection of a particular aspect of her soul."
Proust's Muse is based on La Mode retrouvée: Les robes trésors de la comtesse Greffulhe, an exhibition organized in Paris by Olivier Saillard, director of the Palais Galliera, Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, which is the repository of the countess's wardrobe. Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at FIT, has organized the exhibition in New York in collaboration with Saillard.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a conversation between Steele and Saillard about the Paris and New York versions of the exhibitions (October 11, 6 pm). There will also be a day-long symposium on October 20.Image: Comtesse Greffulhe wears a white dress by Worth. Photograph by Nadar, September 5, 1887.
Fashion & Textile History Gallery
December 2016 – May 2017
Black Fashion Designers examines the impact of African American and African designers on the fashion industry. Drawing exclusively from The Museum at FIT’s permanent collection, the exhibition features approximately 70 fashion objects that illustrate the individual styles of more than 30 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.Image: Stephen Burrows, coatdress, wool, Fall 1970, USA, gift of Stephen Burrows.
Special Exhibitions Gallery
February – April 2017
Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968 will examine 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 will examine the shift from the unassailable dominance of the haute couture to the newfound influence of ready-to-wear.Image: Couture Future (ready-to-wear label by André Courrèges), pantsuit, 1968, wool blend, France, gift of Mrs. Phillip Schwartz.
Fashion & Textile History Gallery
May – November 2017
Force of Nature examines how the beauty and complexity of the natural world have inspired fashion designers for centuries. The exhibition places more than 75 objects from MFIT’s permanent collection, dating from the 18th century to the present, within a context of period philosophies and scientific literature in order to demonstrate the deep interconnectedness between fashion and nature. An enthusiasm for country life is represented with a 1785 robe à l’anglaise that illustrates a movement towards simple dress, influenced by philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, who urged a return to nature. A dress by Alexander McQueen from his acclaimed final collection in 2010, presents a meditation upon Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and concern over climate change. More than a survey of flora, fauna, and geology as merely decorative, the exhibition reveals the natural world as a nexus of ideas and symbolism in fashion design. Force of Nature aims to contribute to today’s important, ongoing conversation about society’s relationship with the natural world and humankind’s place within it.Image: Alexander McQueen, Plato’s Atlantis collection, Spring 2010, England, museum purchase.